Iain Angus is a Councillor for the City of Thunder Bay and an active volunteer in the community including Executive Director for Common Voice Northwest and Past Chair of the Thunder Bay District Social Services Board. Here is his story in his own words.
Marlene and I are grandparents to 8 and parents to two girls. Our soon to be son-in-law works for Resolute Forest products here in Thunder Bay. I have always lived in Thunder Bay, starting out at Chippewa Park. As a teenager, I used to help my First Nation neighbours harvest wood on the Reserve, hauling 8’ sticks out of the bush on my shoulder
How does sustainable forestry impact your community?
Although not nearly as significant as it once was, forestry remains a key part of the economy of Thunder Bay and the Northwest. We are seeing forests that were cut in the 30’s through to the 50’s recut today indicating that sustainability is real and will be throughout the future.
How does the forestry industry affect your livelihood?
As an elected municipal official part of my wages are a direct result of the income of forest industry workers in Thunder Bay. For a number of years, as a transportation consultant, I worked for the industry in the Northwest. Those contracts sustained me for a number of years.
How do you feel about the current upswing in the Canadian forestry industry?
I am very optimistic about the return of the industry in the Northwest. As Co-Chair of the CVNW Energy Task Force I am tracking the development of new mills and the re-opening of closed mills and I am impressed with how quickly the sawmill and other processed wood industry is bouncing back. With most of BC’s and Alberta’s forest products now serving the Asian market, there is a large opportunity for Ontario to serve the US market without the threat of tarrifs.
How do you feel about the forestry industry’s commitment to sustainability?
In my early political career I was a strong critic of the industry and its impact on the environment and lack of sustainability. I no longer have that view. The changes to legislation and regulation have ensured that the remaining mills are sustainable, in every sense of the word. The forest management practices are second to none and should be recognized as such
How would you be affected if sustainable forestry activities in your area were curtailed?
The economy of Thunder Bay and the Northwest would be severly constrained if the remaining forest operations should be shut down. The property tax loss would be significant and would force the City to further increase the taxes on residential properties.
What would you say to decision-makers who might be considering changes to forestry regulations without considering the impact on families like yours?
Any changes in regulations need to take into consideration the social-economic impact on a community and a region. Sustainability to me, means more than the environment but should include the people in the area affected and what those regulatory changes will mean to them – their livelihood and their quality of life