Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says the next step when it comes to the city finally getting a community forest is to respond to a letter of invitation from the Minister to the partners that can access the volume that was announced last week…
“From there you begin to take a look at the land base, you take a look at where you can get the volume from, and what the business partnerships would be to be able to access that volume. So as far as we understand the 77,000 that is assigned to a community forest can be rolled into the larger volume that is available to First Nations in a larger collaborative, depending on the business relationships that we make, and there may be some efficiencies in that for us.”
As for doing the work, Simpson says
“That all has to be decided. Some community forests, whoever holds the license develops their own team and has the management run through their own team. Others just simply do agreements or management agreements with a local industry partner. I think in this case, because there are so many potential partners involved, it’s going to take us a little while to decide what is the proper structure for us to be able to realize that volume, and all the economic and community benefits from it.”
Whatever those decisions might be, Simpson says the city is interested in driving the local economy…
“To make sure that that timber supply that’s available actually gets into our local mills. And we have experience at the City of Quesnel with our fuel treatments, of doing different log sorts that feed West Fraser and C&C Wood Products and our pulp mills and pellet plants.”
Simpson says the city has been demonstrating to industry that you don’t have to just go after your particular sawlog, you can actually take more value out of that land base and feed other mills.
As for any revenue that a community forest might generate, Simpson says…
“The market value of the volume depends on so many different factors right ? But as of today, those who have community forests, are making some pretty good money off of those community forests because the value of the logs is very high. The City of Quesnel, when we started on this most recent community forest ask, indicated that we were not interested in having any of the money that you make from a community forest come into the city’s normal business. We wanted to see that money put back into the land base.”
Simpson says that could be for things like fuel treatments, recreation values such as improving our trail program, or doing some community marketing.