A small scale logging project in the Cheakamus Community Forest has provided an employment opportunity for the Lil’wat First Nation.
Employment was one of the objectives for forming the CCF in 2009, which is a partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations.
Forest operations manager Klay Tindall with Lil’wat Forestry Ventures, which completed the work, said it is in fact the first employment opportunity to arise with the CCF and hopefully the first of many.
“This was our first harvesting venture with the community forest,” he said, adding the company typically works on its own licence to cut 65,000 cubic metres on its tenures annually. “In my opinion, the community forest is supposed to help communities and employment is one of the big ways to help a community.
“For this small job it employed three people and gave surprisingly 12 days of work … we are definitely planning to do more of it in 2013.”
When the CCF was formed the Lil’wat First Nation, which owns Lil’wat Forestry Ventures, contributed 5,000 cubic metres a year from its own harvest to support community forest project.
The CCF was contacted by the province to undertake the work at the recreation site, which Tindall said was conducted through a selection harvesting system. Basically, he explained, single trees were selected for removal one at a time.
“It wasn’t a normal forest logging operation, it was done more carefully,” he said.
Tom Cole with Richmond Plywood, which manages the forestry work for the CCF, said the objective of the work was to open the forest canopy of the recreation area to allow more sunlight.
“What we were trying to do is strategically open up the stand slightly and still try to provide the trees that are there to buffer the road,” he said, adding at the Cal-Cheak south site there were a significant number of hemlock trees that were rotten and had to be removed for safety reasons.
In total 240 to 300 cubic metres of trees were removed, very small in terms of forestry work said Cole.
As a result, he said it was a great opportunity for the First Nations company to undertake the work.