NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association encourage the Province of Alberta to:
1. Take immediate action on the key recommendations contained in the Forest Industry Sustainability Committee (FISC) report specific to supporting business competiveness (labour, inflation, etc.) transportation choices & support, power costs and power supply, and protection fees; and further,
2. Allocate transformative technology funding to diversify the industry’s product offerings that contribute to the province’s energy, employment, environmental, and diversification strategies; and further,
3. Ensure the forestry sector realizes its tremendous potential for the economic and environmental benefits, while contributing to the sustainable development and helping to diversify the economies of communities. Support forestry sector-wide projects that develop applied technologies, conduct research, identify market opportunities and encourage expansion of the forestry industry; and further
4. Align with federal government actions, such as the green transformative program, to augment industry specific energy / fuel programs, investments, and R & D efforts.
WHEREAS the forest products industry is an important sector of the Alberta economy and plays a vital role in the economic and social sustainability of many communities in Alberta;
WHEREAS the forest products industry directly employs more than 44 000 Albertans;
WHEREAS the forest products industry is a primary industry in up to 50 communities in Alberta of which 12 communities are deemed forestry dependent;
WHEREAS the forest products industry in Alberta has a production value of over 11 billion dollars annually;
WHEREAS there exist serious impediments in the Alberta forest products sector in relation to transportation and electrical utility services; and
WHEREAS research and development is required in terms of bio-mass products (biofuels, bio-chemicals, bio-products), alternative energy generation, and nano-cellulose technologies.
May 5, 2010 - Sustainable Resource Development
With respect to the Forest Industry Sustainability Committee (FISC) report, we have been working with a number of other departments across the Alberta government to implement the recommendations. For example, Alberta transportation, with input from our department, recently finalized $83 million worth of projects funded under the Roads to Resource program. Additionally, that department has developed new transport permits for both weight and dimension increases in trucks hauling forest products. We believe that these developments will significantly impact the costs faced by producers.
Our department and Alberta Energy continue to collaborate on bio-energy grants related to forestry. BioSolutions Alberta is working to identify suitable technologies and partnerships between technology providers and forest tenure holders to introduce new, transformative products. In recent months, the department has also been working particularly closely with the forest industry on product and market diversification and development. The Renewable Fuels Standard, scheduled for implementation in November 2010, is one example of this type of new domestic market for forest biomass refining. Everything ranging from new commodity products to cutting edge nano-fibres is being considered in markets from Canada to Asia and Europe.
We will continue to encourage and facilitate access to federal funding initiatives and activities that can benefit the forest sector. For example, much was accomplished with respect to the federal Green Transformation Program, and we have partnered on a significant number of projects related to workforce development and FireSmart with Western Economic Diversification.
AUMA accepts this response.