Dungate Community Forests is working with Houston mayor and council to seek expansion.
Community Forests Directors Jerry Veillette, Arnold Amonson and Bob Clee gave a report to council last Tuesday.
“We feel the opportunity exists to expand or maybe even double the size of Dungate Community Forests as a result of the [Houston Forest Products] announcement,” Veillette said.
“This would benefit the community by maintaining community control over a larger portion of the local timber supply, for local job support and community economic benefit.
“The board would welcome the opportunity to work with mayor and council and district staff to attempt to realize this objective,” Veillette said.
Mayor Bill Holmberg said he too welcomed that opportunity.
He said council is meeting with the Minister of Forests in Houston and will notify Dungate Community Forests when that happens.
The meeting was originally set for Feb. 3 but was postponed by the Ministry and council still does not know when the Minister will come to Houston.
As they wait for the Competition Bureau to rule on the timber licence swap between HFP and Canfor, Holmberg said council would be fighting for the 280,000 cubic metres of timber rights that West Fraser wants to transfer to Smithers.
“We’re going to to try our best to keep that wood in the Morice TSA to benefit Houston…
“[Community Forests is] one of the things that we did want to throw on the table for this extra volume… rather then it going to Smithers,” he said.
“We’re going to have to fight for it, so we will welcome your help,” he said.
Dungate Community Forest Operations
Dungate Community Forests plans to harvest their entire five-year cut in two to three years in order to maximize beetle salvage.
Their allocated 185,000 cubic metres of harvest will be facilitated by Canfor through their management agreement, said Director Jerry Veillette.
Reporting to Houston council, Veillette said the harvest criteria is to get stands of 70 per cent pine, which is challenging and is taking time for them to find those stands and plan accordingly.
Veillette said they started winter harvest in December 2013 and log hauling in January 2014, and they plan to harvest 15 to 20,000 cubic metres this winter season.
In May or June 2014 they plan to tender out 25,000 cubic metres of wood to small operators and green licence holders to harvest over the next 12 months, he said.
In 2012, the Community Forest profit sharing with the District of Houston was $41,000, and in 2013 there was no harvest and no profit shares, as they were in the licence renewal stage, Veillette said.
The board continues to process applications quarterly to support community non-profit organizations, allocating funds as they are accumulated.
Veillette said they will be adopting a multi-year funding allocation so that they have funding to offer throughout the next five years, even though the harvest is planned to be finishing within three years.
Their current account balance of $52,000 will be spread over three years.
They also have money set aside for annual high school scholarships and potential sports team trips to provincials.
Community Forests has $70,600 for business development funding and they are working to set up specific criteria for what that money can be used for.
Asked for examples, Veillette said it could be used for things like partnering with Community Futures for business start up, or maybe assisting in a large community project that would benefit the community as a whole.