British Columbia signs community forest agreement with City of Williams Lake and Williams Lake Indian Band for 29,000 hectares of land with AAC of 40,000 m3; community forest will be managed by city and Indian band

WILLIAMS LAKE, British Columbia , March 7, 2014 (press release) – The Province has signed a community forest agreement with the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band, enhancing economic opportunities and forest stewardship in the Central Cariboo, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.

The agreement covers 29,000 hectares and includes two sites: Ne-sextsine, or Flat Rock, which is just west of the city and Peskwenkwinem, or Potato Mountain, which is located between the Likely and Horsefly Roads. The total allowable annual cut on the two sites is 40,000 cubic metres.

The agreement has been in the works since 2007, and will be managed by a partnership between the city and the band.

Community forest agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in, and management of, local forests. A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.

Quotes:

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -

"Community forests are an important and growing opportunity for regions like the Cariboo. They provide opportunities for employment and economic growth while enhancing the working relationships between communities and local First Nations."

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett -

"This is a great step forward for the City of Williams Lake, the Williams Lake Indian Band and for communities across the region. The new community forest agreement will have an important impact on the local economy and on community's ability to manage its own forest resource."

Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook -

"We are very pleased with the community forest agreement and look forward to working with our partners in the Williams Lake Indian Band to further diversify the local economy and create more business for the entire region. It's a great opportunity for both the city and band to deepen their relationship as business partners and neighbors."

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie -

"The agreement helps the T'exelcemc people achieve their vision of working in unity to strengthen our Secwepemc culture, while helping us build a healthy and prosperous community. We have a very good relationship with the city and we will continue to work together to build economic opportunities and ensure the sustainability of our local forests."

BC Community Forest Association president Don Brown -

"The Williams Lake community forest agreement adds another important piece to the community forest network that is making a big difference in rural and remote communities across the province. Through our work with the partners in Williams Lake we know the dedication and effort they have invested to sign this agreement and congratulate them on the new opportunities it will bring to the region."

Quick Facts:

Our Natural Advantage: A Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia, identifies community forests as a key element in supporting prosperous rural forest economies.
Since 2004, government has signed 50 community forest agreements with a total allowable annual cut of 1.3 million cubic metres of timber a year.
Learn More:

Our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/Forest_Strategy_WEB.PDF

BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/

Media Contact:

Grieg Bethel
Media Relations
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
250 356-5261

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