Presentation gives insight into forestry plans for the future

Local Community Forest update

There was a good turnout to the public meeting hosted by Valemount Community Forest the evening of Sept. 3.  About seventy people came out to hear information on the purchase of the Carrier Forest License (A15430). Many attendees were from McBride.

The presentation was delivered by Craig Pryor, Community Forest Manager of the Valemount Community Forest Company.

Pryor explained that the process of planning and negotiating toward the acquisition began three years ago, with Carrier Lumber Ltd. (CLL), the McBride Community Forest (MCFC), and Valemount Community Forest (VCF) as partners in the deal.

According to the plan, the current VCF and MCFC would purchase the Carrier Forest License and divide it evenly. The purchase price would be just under $1.5 million for each. In addition there will be a per tonne allowance for wood delivered to CLL for a ten year period based on current market values, with an annual cut allowance (AAC) of 37,509 cubic meters each. The Forest License will then be converted into Community Forest License tenure.

Eventually the existing community forest license and the new proposed license will be amalgamated into one for Valemount at a total of approximately 70,000 cubic meters. Subject to confirmation at the forthcoming McBride meeting yet to be announced, it is anticipated that the MCFC numbers will be 37,000 cubic meters, plus the agreement will add an additional 37,000 cubic meters for a total of approx. 74,000. The AAC is not an expansion of the current community forest but will operate as a separate community forest license. 

For the last few years VCF has cut extra wood to a total of almost 100,000 cubic meters per year in order to get rid of the beetle kill that was experienced in the Valemount forest, but now the cull is complete.

VCF is committed to tendering out 40,000 cubic meters per year for the next 20 years. They have the right to tender to which company they want, including large mills such as Canfor, Tolko, Dunkley, and Carrier, at fair market value. This would leave a remaining 30,000 cubic meters out of the 70,000 for specific wood types that can supply and support local manufacturing. As the outline states, VCF would be able to deliver “the right log to the right place.” For example, Carrier would receive mid-size Spruce, Simpson Timber Products would receive Douglas Fir, and Spruce and Balsam to Hauer Bros. Lumber, etc.  Supplying the smaller, specialized mills that are scattered around the region would help sustain local employment. The higher volume of wood and control of forest resources will keep these local contractors busy and hopefully help promote the establishment of new ones.

This acquisition will therefore provide greater community control of the forests, and also help support Valemount community projects such as the Mountain Bike Park and recreational ski area, and Valemount Glacier Destinations’ road project. 

The CLL purchase would also provide access to wood supplies that are currently unavailable, opening a door for business with more companies.

As stated in the presentation, the result of the acquisition will provide Valemount Industrial Park with more diversification and control of resources, which in turn grows a stronger economy.

“These forests are diverse,” says Pryor. “The idea is to create industry… logging, road building and maintenance… that’s what we do. That’s what we’re good at.”