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Tolko to form limited partnership with two First Nations, create integrated forestry company


March 30, 2021
By Tolko
(L to R) Councillor Willie Thomas, Councillor Lee Bill, Chief Peter Bill, CEO of the Agency Chiefs Tribal Council Ken Thomas, Chief Anne Thomas, Councillor Roger Tipewan. Photo courtesy Tolko.

Pelican Lake First Nation, Witchekan Lake First Nation, and Tolko Industries Ltd. have announced that they have signed an Agreement in Principle that will enhance the ability for Pelican Lake and Witchekan Lake First Nations to further their expertise as a logging contractor.

The agreement involves the formation of a Limited Partnership that includes the development of a logging company and envisions a fully integrated forestry company involved in harvesting, silviculture, and biomass harvesting. This includes training for Indigenous youth and women both on-reserve and off-reserve in both forestry and mill positions, and other future business opportunities such as trucking. The Limited Partnership corporation will be co-owned by Pelican Lake First Nation, by Witchekan Lake First Nation, and by Tolko.

In order to minimize risk during the pandemic, a virtual signing ceremony was held with leaders from Pelican Lake First Nation, Witchekan Lake First Nation, and Tolko.

“I’m confident that we’ll be successful together,” said Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO of Tolko. “Many positive relationships have been formed with First Nations communities in the Meadow Lake region, and this is an excellent example of how a partnership that is strongly aligned in our common values can result in a positive outcome for everyone involved.”

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Chief Peter Bill of the Pelican Lake First Nation said, “We will continue to influence the use of resources within our traditional lands to improve our community’s economic and social conditions. It’s a full loop from harvest planning to reforestation.”

Chief Anne Thomas of the Witchekan Lake First Nation added, “I’m grateful to be able to move forward with Tolko on this opportunity as our mandate is to create a stable future for our First Nations, and that means making long-term sustainable decisions for our people and our forests. Investing in our people is one of the best actions we can take as leaders.”