by KORIE MARSHALL
There wasn’t a big crowd to hear the official announcement on Monday, but Valemount’s community forest has finalized a purchase of timber volume, essentially doubling the amount it can harvest each year. The purchase is expected to create opportunities for expansion, and to help to encourage small mills to set up at the new industrial park, and should help an existing local mill by June.
The Valemount Community Forest has finalized the deal to buy a volume license of 37,509 cubic meters a year from Carrier Lumber. Craig Pryor, manager of VCF, says $1.57 million was paid in cash from the VCF’s reserve funds, a price tag that includes no silviculture liabilities from previous logging, as Carrier will keep that responsibility.
Included in the deal is a 20-year wood trading agreement with Carrier, who is primarily interested in spruce, pine and balsam between 12 and 20 inches diameter.
“It’s a partnership, really,” says Pryor. He says Carrier didn’t need to sell the license, and still wants the volume for its own mills. The deal will mean logs will be traded in both directions, with Carrier getting the logs it wants for its mills, and the Community Forest getting other log types including very large and very small spruce, pine and balsam.
Pryor says the VCF has had discussions with people interested in setting up small mills at the recently purchased industrial park south of Valemount, but they’ve been waiting for confirmation that wood will be available. With the deal reaching this point, VCF now has the ability to enter into negotiations.
Adrian Vanderzwan, long-time local employee of Carrier Lumber, joined the VCF staff last week as part of the agreement, and has been helpful already, says Pryor.
Mayor Jeannette Townsend was on hand at the announcement on Monday, Feb. 15th to express her pride and thank to the community forest staff and board, both past and present, for their work and dedication. Pryor says there will be a 60-day review of VCF’s updated management plan and Forest Stewardship Plan. Following that, he expects VCF will start logging by June, aiming first for cedar for Jason Alexander. Alexander owns a local cedar shake mill and has been struggling for a few years to find the wood to keep his mill open.
The next step for VCF says Pryor is to continue with work to convert the new volume to a new community forest agreement, an area based license. The announcement and an interview with Pryor is now showing on VCTV, and will be uploaded to YouTube shortly.