Reforestation activities should be stopped

Letter writer thinks allowing transient tree planters into B.C. is a bad idea in light of pandemic

To all small communities,

I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of our small towns in B.C. In the very near future, reforestation companies all over the province plan on mobilizing their transient workers from across Canada. They will converge on small towns far and wide, holding the potential to turn this COVID-19 epidemic into yet a bigger storm.

Out of the thousands of people who will travel to B.C., and within B.C., it seems very likely that at least one person could be carrying the virus.

Once these people converge, the situation has the potential to become grim, seeing that they work in such close proximity. They share everything, i.e., mess tents, vehicles, outhouses, showers, water, and more. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

If there is an outbreak of COVID-19, or if there is even one case, the potential for small communities and their medical resources to be unnecessarily overwhelmed is very real. Even in a regular summer season the influx of reforestation workers seeking medical attention is noticeable enough to put pressure on ER staff, for a plethora of reasons.

The end results of moving this many people around, during this critical time is frightening. Please help. I’m desperate to find a way to get this industry to stop pushing into the COVID-19 vacuum. It has to be stopped.

Jeff Niethammer

Smithers, BC

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