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REPORTING · 16th June 2010
Walter McFarlane
Virgil Vales, representing the Kitimat Terrace Labour Council addressed Kitimat City Council at their Monday, June 7th meeting on the issue of resource utilization and industrial activity in the Northwest.

He explained the history of the Labour Council which was formed in the booming 1950’s by industrial workers through the Alcan Kitimat and Kemano projects as well as the harvesting of the Northwest forests and their mills. He said at the conception of the council, they had members in the hundreds peaking in the 90s at 5000.

”Since [the 90s], the industrial processing of our tremendous resources of fibre and use of our bountiful resources such as hydro electric power to anchor British Columbia’s Aluminium Industry and to create employment have been in steady decline. We as a Labour Council support and affirm the efforts of the District of Kitimat along side our own Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 298 and 1157 to try and get the only wood processing facility in the northwest, the Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill, operating and employing the loggers and industrial workers again as they did in the past,” said Vales

”The spectacle of fully loaded logging trucks traveling in all kinds of directions from this part of BC to dump into the ocean or to load onto ships, raw logs for export to the other parts of the world while every sawmill and pulp mill is closing in the North Coast, we praise your efforts to revive the Euorcan Mill and search for many new uses of fibre including bio fuel proposals.”

He also praised the previous Council for trying to maintain the Rio Tinto Alcan Aluminium Smelter which he said was the anchor for not only Kitimat but the Northwest as well.

”We as a Labour Council endorse and support your unanimous motions last year which state that modernization of Kitimat Smelter is crucial to the future of Kitimat and the Northwest and that you as a Municipal Council will work constructively to see the modernization project proceed as quickly as possible and that you stand firmly against the export of Hydro energy from the Kitimat area that would threaten the continued operation of the Kitimat Smelter,” said Vales.

He expressed the Labour Council is opposed to the raw export of resources be they logs or power and stood behind Council in the full utilization of the resources. He stated they also want to see the revival of Eurocan as well as the Modernization of Alcan, as all the conditions have been met.

There were no questions so Vales sat down.