Wilson commits to thorough review of Liberals decision to close Ontario Tree Seed PlantPublished on May 14, 2018
The Wynne Liberals announced the closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus without any warning or consultation within the industry or with the broader community.
Yesterday, standing outside the facility, Simcoe-Grey PC Candidate Jim Wilson committed to a thorough review of the Liberals decision to close the facility if re-elected.
Jim concluded his remarks by saying, “If elected, I am committing to a thorough review of the decision to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant… We’ll be willing to look at alternative business plans and all options to keep open a Tree Seed plant on this property.
Wilson’s full remarks are included below.
The Ontario PC Party had the following to say about the issue:
Doug Ford stands with his candidate, Jim Wilson, and is committed to reviewing the current governments plans to close the
Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus.
Just this morning, Doug Ford announced that an Ontario PC Government will make sure Ontario is open for business. He will do
this by cutting through government red tape, lowering business hydro costs for everyone, and lowering business taxes.
JIM WILSON REMARKS
I want to thank everybody for coming today to the Ontario Tree Seed Plant. This closure of this facility is another example of the Liberal government making a decision that makes very little sense.
With no consultation and no warning, the government announced the Tree Seed Plant will be closed this September. This decision was shocking to many, who didn’t see it coming. The Seed Plant is historic and has been operating since 1923. If the plant is closed we will lose our ability to protect and restore our forests with native, genetically appropriate species.
In 2013, the Liberal government was praising the Tree Seed Plant for preserving biodiversity, protecting the environment and supporting the forest products and wood manufacturing sectors. In the past few years, the government spent millions of dollars upgrading the facility.
What has changed? Why has the government reversed course and announced the closure of this important facility? And why the lack of consultation with the industry and other experts? There is no reason to make a decision of this magnitude without consulting with the community and the experts who know best.
Those in the industry have urged the government to delay the closure by 3 – 5 years to have time to adjust to this significant change. The Liberal government keeps saying the private sector will take over what the Seed Plant is currently doing. I have been told by people in the industry that this is an unreasonable and irresponsible approach to take. It is unrealistic to expect the private sector to spend the money on the necessary infrastructure and equipment and hire and train specialized staff with almost no warning or time to prepare?
Tree growers are concerned the consequences of this closure will be an influx of unidentified seed sources into the Ontario market that favours cost over quality and adaptability.
Ontario’s Seed Zone Policy does ensure the right seed sources are used for the right planting site, however, it does not ensure that the right seed is on the shelf and available to the grower. As an example, if Zone 34 seed isn’t available, another seed source would be used and it may be poorly matched for the location regardless of the grower’s intention or the policy in place.
With the private sector we also lose the ability to adequately prepare for and respond to forest and woodland threats, such as beetle devastations and forest fires.
I am also concerned about the future of the equipment at the facility. The equipment in the Seed Plant is very specialized and is impossible to replace. I am deeply concerned it could be packed up and auctioned and lost forever.
If elected, I am committing to a thorough review of the decision to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant. The Liberal government made this choice with no input and no consultation. We need answers about why this happened. We will find out and get to the bottom of this matter. It’s important to sit down with the experts and consider all the angles. We’ll be willing to look at alternative business plans and all options to keep open a Tree Seed plant on this property.
Thank you, I’d be happy to take any questions.