Councillor Tim Anderson and Mayor Shane Brienen gave their thoughts on the natural resource industry at the last council meeting.
In their verbal reports, Anderson and Brienen talked about business confidence in the lumber, mining and LNG sectors. During a Resource Benefits Alliance meeting, Brienen noted how increased protected lands has caused concern in these industries.
“A lot of discussion around the amount of parks … and how as we keep adding that we have trouble with mineral exploration, and a lot of discussion about how that works going forward,” he said to council.
Discussions centred around whether new parks would shut down “the next big mine,” and how these industries can work with the province.
Road closures also caused concerns.
“Lots of specific examples of drillers that are drilling in the backcountry, and they leave for two weeks and their roads are deactivated and their drills are stuck,” he added.
Anderson added that the lumber industry “was a bright spot.”
“Good forecast, 1.3 million houses starting in the States, which is what they’re predicting,” said Anderson. “They expect lumber prices to be strong through 2018, 2019.”
The lumber industry still has the challenge of negotiating a new softwood lumber agreement, a tariff or quota on lumber exports based on a price floor.
Anderson adds that it, “is not getting anywhere with the Americans.”
He also warns that if Canada does not secure an agreement before the U.S. elections, it would bring new challenges to deal with the new administration.
“They’re trying to get the American government to get to the table, but Canada has no leverage to force their hand obviously, so it’s a matter of when they feel that they want to come to the table,” he said.
Anderson added that the U.S. market is particularly important to Canadian exports because the Asian markets are in a slump and transitioning towards the service sector.
Anderson added that the mining sector was “slow,” adding that the mining industry and LNG industry has put about $160 billion on hold.