The provincial government has invited the Williams Lake Indian Band and the City of Williams Lake to apply together for a new community forest.
The community forest will have an allowable annual cut of 40,000 cubic metres and an initial term of 25 years.
The exact location of the community forest area is still to be determined.
As well, now that the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band have been invited to apply for the community forest, they need to submit a management plan to the ministry for approval before the community forest agreement can be issued.
“Community forests are one way this government is diversifying the forest economy so communities can greater enjoy the economic benefits that forestry can bring. Since 2001, this government has issued 40 community forests around the province,” says Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, who made the announcement on behalf of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
Mayor Kerry Cook says the announcement is good news and is an example of how partnerships are critical in improving the economy and moving the city and the region forward.
“We’ve been waiting eagerly for this announcement since we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Williams Lake Indian Band, which we did within weeks of this council being elected,” Cook says. “This community forest agreement can only mean good things for the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band.”
Williams Lake Indian Band chief Ann Louie says the band is happy to receive the invitation is an grateful for Barnett’s and the City’s support in making this happen.
“We want to thank all who worked tirelessly towards this goal and look forward to partnering with the City on this joint community forest,” Louie says. Community forest agreements are a form of legal tenure that enable communities to more fully participate in the stewardship of local Crown forest resources. Community forests are area-based and give communities exclusive rights
to harvest timber, as well as the opportunity to manage and profit from other forest resources such as botanical products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes.
More than 50 community forests are operating or are in the planning stages in B.C.