Ravaged area plans for 'social chaos,' report says

Communities in the British Columbia region hardest hit by a massive pine-beetle epidemic have come up with a blueprint for how to survive a bleak economic period that could follow when logging levels fall by an anticipated 70 per cent.

In a report released yesterday, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition called on the federal and provincial governments to help the area head off a total economic collapse in which mills could close, 4,000 jobs could be lost and entire communities could face depopulation as people leave in search of work.

Donna Barnett, 100 Mile House mayor and coalition chair, said that with government help the area hopes it can avoid the worst-case scenario.