Re: July 23rd editorial: Trudeau in Trouble are WE in Trouble?

Well Andru, comparing the Valemount Community Forest to the federal government is quite a stretch even for you but we do appreciate the publicity! We try our best to get the public out to our AGMs to tell us how we’re doing and how we can improve, but we routinely get only a few members of the public attending.

Our General Manager responded to your article in the last issue of your paper which insinuated that the board is “writing their own contracts” and getting work for themselves at the expense of others.

The Board would like to respond regarding the other members that you have maligned. Greenstar Forest Solutions, owned by a director, does the field layout for harvesting operations. You do note that he is local and hires local people as per our mandate. There is currently no other company in Valemount that has the qualifications and the capacity to do what Greenstar does. We see no problem. I am the signing Professional Forester for the VCF and was asked to be a director because of my credentials, my experience with small tenures and my background of volunteering. My husband does get some road building work with the community forest, not because he is my husband but because he builds good roads and therefore in your words, “merits the work.” Other contractors who are not on the board get far more road and other contract work. Again, we see no problem.

The Board welcomes the opportunity that you have given us to refute the erroneous perception that being on the board means that you get work that you may not deserve. Being on the board means you have been selected because of your experience and reputation to help contribute to the success of the VCF whose main guiding principle is to diversify and strengthen the forest economy of the Robson Valley, battered by the loss of our mills in 2006. Board members are chosen who share this common goal and are willing to donate their personal time and effort to achieve it.

New board members are chosen when a vacancy arises and diversity of experience is welcomed. New members become part of a team that must work together to effectively steer the community forest in a positive direction. They will not be chosen if they want to be on the board to push their personal agenda for personal gain. We have seen the fallout from that kind of board elsewhere. It is neither productive nor profitable.

We realize that controversy sells papers, which benefits you. Insinuating that the current board is any less than professional in their discourse or driven by self-serving goals is inaccurate and is just “stirring up trouble.” It may have been more helpful if your story had included input from board members and other members of the forestry community. If your reporter had attended the recent AGM, you may have been able to express your concerns and widen your perspective then.

Ainslie Jackman,
RPF, President of the Board