Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia

By Patricia Marchak | Go to book overview

12
At the End of the Forest

Old towns, such as Terrace, Quesnel, and 100 Mile House, are different architecturally, culturally, and demographically from the instant towns. They generally grew up around transportation, agriculture, fishing, and logging industries on a small scale. Pioneers are still known in folklore and often in the names of streets; not infrequently their descendents continue to be important local personalities. There are gradations of wealth, and there is poverty. Typically there is an ethnic mixture of native Indians and settlers. There are old and young people, employed and unemployed, and people in all age groups who have spent most of their lives in the community. Old towns have people who remember booms and busts; they know what it means to be dependent on a single resource industry.

The stability of single-industry towns differs by industry or industrial sector. But in forestry as in mining, the depletion of the resource base ultimately spells the demise of the dependent communities regardless of the phase of the industry. And even in the more stable sectors, there are long-term problems associated with aging technology. A pulpmill built in 1950’s is no longer competitive, its worth to its owners decreases, and the dependent population becomes vulnerable to closure.

One example is the case of Ocean Falls. Purchased by the Crown under the NDP government in 1975 when its “owner,” Crown Zellerbach, concluded that the antiquated mill was not worth renovating, given its depleted resource base, the new employer attempted to keep the town alive for the next five years. Coming to the same conclusion as CZ, the B.C. Resources Investment Corporation (the crown company) closed the mill in 1980. Pulpmills demand a large resource base, and, because they operate in a high technology market, they are vulnerable to rapid obsolescence. In addition, they are dependent on

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Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Part One- Capital xxi
  • 1- A Staples Economy 1
  • 2- History of a Resource Industry 29
  • 3- "Partners with Industry" 55
  • 4- The Structure of the Industry 82
  • Part Two- Labour 113
  • 5- Class and Human Capital 115
  • 6- Markets, Technology, and Employment 156
  • 7- Patterns of Employment and Unemployment 181
  • 8- Employment Conditions for Women in Resource Towns 213
  • 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 249
  • 10- Job Control and Ideology 269
  • Part Three- Communities 301
  • 11- The Instant Town 303
  • 12- At the End of the Forest 323
  • 13- Policies for Change 348
  • Appendix A- Methodology and Samples 381
  • Appendix B- Tables Accompanying Chapter 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 389
  • Appendix C- Tables Accompanying Chapter 10- Ideology 399
  • Bibliography 416
  • Index 437
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