The City of Quesnel has received a $367,000 Rural Dividend grant from the Province to support its forest management plans, and help it build upon the manufacturing sector in the region, according to a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development news release.
The funds will be used to implement recommendations from the Quesnel Future of Forestry Think Tank, which was held in Quesnel in May 2018, and to investigate new opportunities for forest management and forest products manufacturing.
Since the spring Think Tank session, Quesnel mayor Bob Simpson, as well as City Council members, have been pushing the agenda provincially and federally, including at September’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Whistler, B.C., and during a trip to Victoria and Ottawa.
In August, Mayor Simpson visited the University of British Columbia’s FPInnovations lab to investigate possible ways to expand the way forest fibre is used. He also touring a modular home manufacturing facility in Victoria, B.C. to look at creating a similar or support facility in Quesnel that could deal with the overflow from manufacturing companies that are already in existence.
Later in September 2018, the City of Quesnel facilitated a session for local forestry professionals and a team of scientists from Washington, USA, including landscape ecologist Dr. Paul Hessburg, as part of the ongoing project to re-examine the future of the forestry sector. Hessburg argues for the need to take a longer view of landscape management, and to co-operate with how a landscape naturally functions in order to find a new way to manage the forests in terms of industry.
“The City of Quesnel is very appreciative of the Province’s commitment to and financial support for our Future of Forestry Think Tank initiative,” said Mayor Bob Simpson.
“We want to remain a vibrant forest-dependent community. This funding will assist us in the reinvention of our traditional forest sector so it will continue to sustain family-supporting jobs and provide community benefits for many generations into the future.”
Minister Doug Donaldson said the Rural Dividend’s special circumstances provision was designed to assist communities undergoing economic hardship, such as those impacted by wildfire.
“This project is a good example of a community coming together to plan locally for economic and ecological resilience into the future,” he commented in the press release.
This fall, the provincial government has allocated $3,281,179 in special circumstance funding to eligible B.C. communities and organizations undergoing economic hardship.