Community Forest a big part of Valemount success

Dianne St. Jean

The annual general meeting for Valemount Community Forest was held on Sept. 17. The meeting opened with Mayor Jeannette Townsend thanking VCF board and staff for their excellent work.

“VCF has always been a real source of pride for me because of the competence and knowledge of the Board,” she said. “And Craig [Pryor] has been doing a very excellent job.” 

The financial report for the year ending December 2017 was presented with positive showings, with increases in assets and shareholder’s equity being up and liabilities down. Total revenue for the year was $8.7 million, with $6.6 million in total equity. Retained earnings were about $1 million more than last year, with $5,354,410 in comparison to the previous year of $4,206,427.

Aside from logging, they are also continuing work on a Fire Preparedness Plan, with planned blocks for fire breaks. This requires 35-40 local contractors, creating employment. They’ve already dealt with quite a few high risk blocks and there are not a lot left.

The new cedar mill (Cedar Hill Holdings) at Valemount Industrial Park is close to full production with about half their crew for now, with continued growth. Pryor commented that attempts were made to purchase Hauer Mill, but it was too expensive. Regarding any other new potential enterprises, considerations such as waste disposal must be examined since waste has to be trucked to Prince George, which can mean loss of money with every truckload.

 

Community benefits from VCF

In 2017 a total of $38,000 in funding was made available to the community through the VCF; $9,500 through VCF Community Grant ($2,000 carried forward); $7,500 available through the Discretionary Fund; $2,500 through the Community Education Program Fund; $7,500 through the Community Grant Writer Fund; and $11,000 through the Recreation and Tourism Support Fund.

Through these funds, events such as the Community BBQ are made possible every year, with support also for the Valemount Craft Beer Experience, which itself gives back to the community. A number of children’s and youth activities benefit, such as Tournament Funding for Sr. Girls Basketball, and the children’s Heritage Program at the Museum (Historical Society). The funds also go toward trail, road, and snow maintenance for the Bike Park.