B.C. funds First Nations forestry
First Nation forestry businesses throughout British Columbia will continue to receive the technical support they need to succeed, thanks to an additional $400,000 provided by the government of B.C.
The First Nations Forest Sector Technical Support Program helps First Nations develop new and existing forest-related businesses by providing technical advice and hands-on expertise.
Started in 2010 in a partnership with FPInnovations and the federal government with a total commitment of $1.2 million, the program has exceeded initial targets and engaged with more than 50 First Nations. As a result of the program 20 businesses have been created, maintained or expanded; more than $1.3 million in new capital investment in manufacturing capacity has been identified and 40 jobs have been created or maintained.
The results are easy to see on the ground at Stuwix Resources Joint Venture. Eight First Nations in the Merritt area are working collectively to manage six tenures. The Technical Support Program helped identify operational efficiencies in current harvesting and log hauling operations and communicate harvesting plans to their contractors.
“This program will increase our capacity and efficiency and will help position our business to play a more positive role in rural communities around the province,” said Lenny Joe, general manager of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture.
“FPInnovations will be working directly with First Nations communities throughout the province alongside our funding partner, the government of B.C., to provide technical assistance in harvesting, manufacturing, market research, new product development and to help determine where further investment in forest businesses will result in real community benefits for First Nations,” said Peter Lister, vice-president, FPInnovations.