Community Forests pours profit into Houston

Dungate Community Forests harvests 30,000 cubic metres of timber per year and pours all their profits into the community.

Dungate Community Forest is operated by a volunteer board of five directors. Above are Board Chair Doug McRae

Dungate Community Forests harvests 30,000 cubic metres of timber per year and pours all their profits into the community.

Started by the District of Houston in 2009, Dungate Community Forests is operated by a volunteer board and managed by Canfor for a fee.

The goal of the company is to give municipalities ownership of timber and to bring some revenue flow back into the community, said Board Chair Doug McRae.

McRae says they started with an area-based timber licence for 20,000 cubic metres, but now harvest closer to 30,000 cubic metres.

The profits are split into thirds and divided between the District of Houston, community support, and economic development.

The community support is given out through scholarships and grants.

In 2014, Dungate Community Forests donated $10,550 to local organizations, clubs, events and scholarships, McRae said.

They also pledged $50,000 to the District of Houston to help fund an infrastructure project benefitting all Houston residents.

“We try to apply funding where it gives a tax benefit to community, but if there are people who excel in the community, who are going to provincials or something, we have a standard amount we help fund,” McRae said.

As for the economic development money, McRae says they are exploring suitable projects as options.

They want to use it as seed money for a bigger project, he said.

McRae says revenue is up as they try utilize dead timber, but they expect it to drop again.

They also opened a small new stream of revenue by delivering waste wood to the Houston pellet plant.

In 2014, they gave $66,952 to the District as their third of the 2014 profits.

Last August, the China Nose wildfire burned a small part of the Community Forests’ licence area.

McRae says they are trying to salvage the timber that was stacked along the fire guards.

They are also looking for funding to replant burned areas for future timber harvest.

Looking ahead, they will continue to look for opportunities to expand the timber licence area and get more for Houston, McRae said.

“In the last couple of years, Community Forests has given a pretty significant revenue stream back to the community.

“It’s a pretty good vehicle to give more control back to the small communities for both revenue and job creation,” he said.

“We’d like to pursue more.”

 

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