Williams Lake Community Forest profits go back to the community

The Williams Lake Community Forest is launching a new Community Granting Program

The Williams Lake Community Forest is launching a new Community Granting Program with the goal of distributing funds in 2019.

This will be an annual program aimed at providing support for community enhancement projects for areas surrounding the community forest.

Last Friday at a regular meeting with management and most of the nine-member Select Standing Committee (SSC), final arrangements were discussed related to the disbursement of funds from the profits generated by the Williams Lake Community Forest (WLCF). As set out in the regulations and bylaws of the WLCF, at the end of every five-year cut control period, five per cent of the net profits will be deposited in a special account for disbursement back to the community through a Community Granting Fund. The net profits are after expenses and dividends are paid to the two shareholders; the Williams Lake Indian Band (WLIB) and the City of Williams Lake. On June 18 of this year during a special meeting between the board and the two partners, cheques for $987,000 and $861,000 were presented to the City and WLIB, respectively.

READ MORE: Forestry project aims to protect Williams Lake from wildfire threats

These funds were for dividends and repayment of loans used in the initial stages of the WLCF before any cash was generated from log sales.

For the past two years the SSC, board and management of the WLCF have been working on the details of how the profits would be allocated through the Community Granting program. For example, who would be eligible to apply, what amounts would be made available and how would the final applicants be evaluated and chosen?

Eligible applicants could include, but not be limited to the following examples: registered charities, non profit and or community organizations such as 4-H community associations, parent advisory councils in the defined local areas. The defined local areas include CRD areas D,E and F along with the City of Williams Lake.

The following are examples of the type of specific projects that would be considered: Projects with economic development focus, recreation structures such as trails, signs, kiosks, etc. Culture and arts projects, capital improvements such as wash houses, education outreach for all age groups with special emphasis on youth field tours, etc.

Call for proposals will begin the first week of November with a submission deadline of Nov. 30, 2018. Successful proponents will be notified by Jan. 15, 2019.

Grants will be between $500 and $5,000 dollars and generally for one year but up to three years if there are distinct deliverables each year.

Application forms and budget templates are available for download from the WLCF website at https://williamslakecommunityforest.com.

Applications can be sent digitally or through the mail as per the directions on the application forms.

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There will be advertisements in local papers but we also encourage readers to pass on the information to anyone you think might be interested in submitting an application.

If you have any questions contact the WLCF website https://williamslakecommunityforest.com

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.

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