RMG file photo. / EVAN MATTHEWS

By Goat Staff

A landmark agreement will see the Simpcw First Nation acquire two forest licenses in the Kamloops Supply Area from Interfor.

Simpcw and Interfor have been in discussions since 2019, when Canfor announced its agreement to sell $60 million in forestry assets in Simpcw Territory to Interfor. This followed Canfor’s announcement of the permanent closure of its nearby sawmill in Vavenby.

“We were heavily engaged with Canfor, Interfor and the Province throughout the Bill 22 approval process,”
explained Chief Shelly Loring. “We’ve worked extremely hard to reach common ground with Interfor and the result will see tenure in our hands, and long-term economic opportunities and benefits to our Community, People and to the North Thompson valley.”

The agreement also provides for the development of a stewardship agreement within Simpcwúl’ecw (Simpcw Territory) in connection with Interfor’s operations that will allow joint stewardship of the tmicw (land) and resources and a long-term business relationship.

The Province of British Columbia approved the transaction under the Bill 22 Forest Amendment Act process which requires all tenure transfers be approved by the minister.

This agreement is precedent-setting in Simpcwúl̓ecw, and demonstrates the positive results that come from Indigenous Nations and industry pursuing relationships based on mutual respect, a press release said.

“This is part of the shift that needs to happen,” said Shelly Loring, Chief of Simpcw. “Redistributing forest tenures to Title holders and creating solid relationships with licencees provides for collaborative strategic planning and management of the resources in a way that recognizes and respects our mutual rights, values and interests.”

Simpcw holds numerous tenures in its Territory through its economic development corporation, Simpcw Resources LLP (SRLLP).

“We continue to grow and demonstrate successful and sustainable timber harvesting,” said George Lampreau, Councillor of Simpcw. “We manage our forest resources differently – it’s not just about making money but ensuring our tmicw (land) and resources are preserved for our future generations.”

Chief Shelly Loring making the announcement. /SUBMITTED