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Film series turns eye to Youbou closure

It will have been 10 years on Wednesday, Jan. 26 since TimberWest's Cowichan Sawmwill at Youbou closed. A total of 220 families lost their jobs that day.

The Citizen - Lexi Bainas, January 19, 2011

Film series turns eye to Youbou closure
Ken James of the Youbou TimberLess Society

It will have been 10 years on Wednesday, Jan. 26 since TimberWest's Cowichan Sawmwill at Youbou closed.

A total of 220 families lost their jobs that day.

As is often the case in that sort of situation, many of the workers who had hung onto their jobs to the end had 25 or more years of service.

According to the Youbou Timberless Society (YTS), founded by former employees after the closure, many never found future employment.

Those that did find work in other sawmills still suffered the fate of their friends as mill after mill closed on the Island and all across B.C.

The YTS aimed both to fight against the mill closure and, going forward, to try to improve the situation of forest-dependant communities.

Its goals from 10 years ago remain strong today, according to group stalwart Ken James.

"With over 200 paid up members we continue to work with other groups, often behind the scenes now, to promote our ideas of sustainable, profitable, forestry that will leave a standing forest behind for future generations," he said this week.

"One of the most rewarding things we have been able to accomplish was uniting groups that were previously opposing each other on forest issues. To bring most of the environmental lobby onside with forest workers, was no small accomplishment."

Anyone interested in learning what the group is doing now, 10 years after, should attend a special evening Thursday, Jan, 20 at 7 p.m. at the United Church Hall, when the Eye Opener film series will show two short videos about log exports.

One of the films was made by graduating students from Lake Cowichan Secondary School and the other was produced by the Youbou TimberLess Society itself.

Following the showings, there will be a time for discussion and reflection of the last 10 years and what has happened to the Cowichan Valley's once vibrant forest economy.


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