Jeff Zweig, left, president and CEO of TimberWest, shakes hands with Chief Jeff Jones from the Pacheedaht First Nation. (File photo)

Pacheedaht First Nation timber deal first of its kind

Pacheedaht First Nation and surroundiong communities will benefit

People in the Cowichan Lake communities and Pacheedaht First Nation will benefit from a unique community forest agreement for the Qala:yit Community Forest, reached in partnership with the provincial government.

The agreement with BC Timber Sales is the first of its kind.

One of the unique conditions of this community forest is that part of the land base includes BC Timber Sales’ operating area and, as a result, 7,296 cubic metres will be sold by BC Timber Sales.

Of the net revenue generated from the BC Timber Sales harvest, 50 per cent will be shared with the Qala:yit partners to use in their communities.

As part of the application, a release from the province states that the partners demonstrated community awareness and support for the community forest, including building relationships and sharing information with neighbouring First Nations and area communities.

The applicants also submitted a management plan for approval that helped determine the final allowable annual cut, set at 31,498 cubic metres over approximately 8,000 hectares of Crown land.

Community forest agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests.

A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.

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“This is the latest stride that our nation has taken towards creating our own economic destiny, including a new sawmill and a new potable community water system that is capable of serving the entire Port Renfrew area,” said Chief Jeff Jones of the Pacheedaht First Nation.

“In partnership with the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative, BC Timber Sales and the province, we are achieving our goal of greater resource management in our traditional territory.”

Premier John Horgan said the Qala:yit Community Forest partnership is the first of its kind and a great example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together to create good jobs and more opportunities so people can build better lives in their communities.

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