The Newfoundland and Labrador Forest Industry Association is brand new, but Bill Dawson is hoping for big things from it.
The association’s executive director attended the Forestry Innovation Day workshop held in Corner Brook Thursday, which was the first event in which the fledgling association has participated.
The organization currently is made up of four entities which account for 96 per cent of the forestry industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. Those include Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and three sawmills — Burton’s Cove Logging and Lumber in Hampden, Sexton’s Lumber in Bloomfield and Cottles Island Lumber in Summerford.
Dawson said there were some initial talks last year of forming the association, but the parties involved finally got together recently and began formalizing the partnership. It’s so new, the association is still finalizing its bylaws and plans for the industry.
“We’re looking forward to finding common ground amongst ourselves on how we can move this industry forward to be more economically viable for ourselves and for the province,” said Dawson.
He said there are challenges and opportunities to expanding the industry’s capacity in the province, but believes the solutions also exist within Newfoundland and Labrador.
While it’s industry-driven and doesn’t include government as a partner, Dawson said the association will engage government on advancing the industry.
“Obviously, it’s a public resource so we will be working closely with government to make sure the benefits are incurred by industry and the general public,” he said. “We are looking forward now to having an organization that can have a voice and advocate on behalf of the forest members in the province.”