Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada

March 23, 2007 13:41 ET

Action for Communities: Canada's New Government Announces Pine Beetle Funding

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 23, 2007) - Canada's New Government is joining forces with British Columbia to take action against the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, today announced $24.8 million to help control the spread of the insect along B.C.'s eastern border and to protect communities and forest resources. The Minister spoke to the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

This funding is part of the Federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program announced by the Government of Canada in January 2007, which provides $200 million to address the impacts of the mountain pine beetle infestation in B.C.

"In 2005, we committed $1 billion over ten years to combat this infestation, and we are delivering on that commitment," said Minister Lunn. "We are taking immediate action to control the spread of the beetle. As part of our Government's comprehensive plan, we are also looking at ways to rebuild and transform the economic infrastructure in B.C. communities that have been affected by the infestation."

In order to control the spread of the beetle along B.C.'s eastern border, forests in this area will be surveyed and newly infested trees will be removed. This process gives decision makers the information they need to help manage the landscape, and it reduces the ability of the beetle to infest new areas. The majority of the funding, $23.1 million, is dedicated to these actions to slow down the expansion of the outbreak.

Communities where the spread can no longer be contained face public safety concerns. To address these concerns, $1.7 million of the funds will be used to remove trees that pose a hazard in public parks. Fire-hazard ratings will also be developed for these communities.

This initiative advances Canada's New Government's commitment to help affected communities adapt and rebuild through a time of unprecedented change - creating stronger, healthier and more stable communities.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Canada's New Government is joining forces with British Columbia to take action against the mountain pine beetle epidemic. At the University of British Columbia today, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced $24.8 million to protect communities and forest resources.

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

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