A new community forest is on the verge of becoming a reality after the Squamish Nation and the District of Squamish signed an agreement.
The agreement formalizes a governance structure for 10,000 hectares of forest land.
The District says having a Squamish community forest offers benefits such as long-term economic development and local employment; local level decision-making and planning over timber harvesting in key areas such as cultural and spiritual sites, watersheds, viewscapes and recreational areas; education and research opportunities including increased community awareness of forest management.
As per the agreement, the Squamish Community Forest Corporation will be responsible for overseeing the forest operations.
On the company’s board of directors, the Nation will be represented by hereditary Chief Ian Campbell, Wilson Williams and Richard Baker.
The District will be represented by Mayor Karen Elliott and councillors Armand Hurford and Jenna Stoner.
This is the first partnership agreement signed by the Nation and District where the two organizations will be co-managing a local asset, the District says.
It’s a big step forward for the project, which is been contemplated for years.
Previously, the province allowed some Crown forest land next the District to be managed by the District and the Nation.
Both parties took the province up on the offer and have since been figuring out the terms of their partnership.
An open house will be held May 1 to get feedback from locals for the next step.
All are invited from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Sea to Sky Hotel (Tantalus Room). A second open house will be scheduled in June for those who may not be able to attend.