By Andru McCrackn

The McBride Community Forest Corporation held its annual general meeting on October 8 at the community centre and it was good news all around. The corporation has successfully managed their overcut and are entering a new five year cut control period without penalties. They have new directors, significant investments in silviculture, reduced the amount of wood left in slash piles (to about 20% of what was left before), they continue to work with recreation groups, donate to community groups and have had no new compliance and enforcement issues.

Chair’s report
Chair Joseph Rich said the workload placed on the board of directors has decreased over the last year, since they hired a full time general manager.

“Consequently the board was able to concentrate its efforts more on governance and policy rather than operations,” said Rich.

The corporation showed a loss for 2020, but only because they are investing money that had been set aside for silviculture (replanting trees), planning and layout.

The money for these activities was in the bank, but just hadn’t been spent in some time.

“MCFC will continue to look for opportunities to leverage the community forest for greater opportunities and employment locally and in its commitment to create processes that are fair, inclusive, open and transparent,” said Rich.

General Manager’s report
General Manager Ray Thiessen said they are generating more earnings from less volume and that the community forest has finally turned an important corner.

“Our profitability per unit has increased; we just had a significantly smaller number of units.”

On April 30th 2021, the community forest will enter a new cut control period. They have had to cut far less volume in previous years because of over-cutting in the past.

“We are done with the overcut now. We got through it,” Thiessen said.

He believes the community forest will continue to be profitable, but expects more of the profit will be invested into local manufacturing.

At first it will be keeping a stock of wood available for local manufacturers, encouraging a variety of manufacturing, but he hinted at bigger projects to come.

Far less waste
MCFC slash piles are just 20% of what they used to be.

“We’re taking all of our Z grade wood,” said Thiessen. “The only thing left in our piles is limbs.”

Z grade refers to logs that are more rotten than not, or are too short with little residual useful wood left in them.

“All of the trees are coming out. We are storing them, and taking a bit of a loss to get them into production,” he said. “We had to take a bit of loss on that material to get it utilized, but there are more important things than retained earnings.”

Building it right
Theissen said another focus is building roads right the first time.

New Directors
The sole shareholder, the Village of McBride, appointed five directors to the board for the coming year. Harold Edwards was appointed to the second year of a two year term. Warren McLennan and Joseph Rich were appointed for the first of a two year term. Linda Fry’s application was approved but she had to withdraw her application “due to circumstances that would limit her ability to dedicate time to the MCFC.”

Shaugnessy Claussen, who works as a silviculture contractor for the corporation, was appointed for the first year of a one year term. Claussen previously held the position of Interim-General Manager.

Acting mayor of McBride Lucille Green said the board of directors has grown but there are still two vacancies.

“If anybody is watching this over the Youtube, we’d like to encourage you to put your name forward if you think you can contribute to the community forest,” said Green.

“We will seriously consider applications that come forward.”

The corporation has donated $30,000 to about 16 different clubs and events and some scholarships to high school students attending post secondary.