Representatives from the governments of Lhtako Dené, Nazko, Lhoosk’uz, ?Esdilagh, the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District, along with staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) and the B.C. Community Forest Association met June 24, 2020, to discuss next steps in the community forest process. Quesnel council has approved spending towards the initial start-up costs for the community forest agreement application phase, including the costs associated with this meeting. (Photo Submitted)

Quesnel council approves funding for community forest process

The City is one of several players working towards a new community forest

The City of Quesnel is putting money towards moving the community forest agreement process forward.

The City has been participating in the community forest agreement process since June 2020 when it hosted the initial “kick-off meeting,” and it is now time to advance an interim management structure, as well as an accounting function to deal with the potential Non-replaceable Forest Licence (NRFL) that will enable the community forest application, Erin Robinson, the City’s Forestry Initiatives manager, explained in a report to council Oct. 6.

“To do this, we will require again support from the British Columbia Community Forest Association, as well as support from a law firm who specializes in multi-government community forest agreements,” said Robinson. “Without management and accounting structures in place, it’s likely a NRFL will not be entered into.”

Once a NRFL is in place, each participating organization will be able to recuperate funds, but without the NRFL, each organization will be solely responsible for start-up costs of the process, explained Robinson.

Council approved $12,000 be earmarked from the Council Initiatives account and put towards the initial start-up costs for the community forest agreement application phase, including the costs associated with the June 2020 kick-off meeting and with participating in the Non-replaceable Forest Licence opportunity. Funds would be repaid to that account once the NRFL is established.

In November 2019, the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) announced a new sharing agreement, called apportionment, for the Quesnel Timber Supply Area (TSA), which included 75,000 cubic metres set aside for a new community forest.

FLNRORD began having conversations with the City of Quesnel, the Cariboo Regional District and the First Nations communities that live inside the Quesnel TSA, which are Lhtako Dené, Nazko, Lhoosk’uz and ?Esdilagh.

In January, FLNRORD sent out an expression of interest to all the parties, and the ministry has received interest back from the Regional District, the City of Quesnel and the four First Nations, and as well, has been in conversations with the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest group to increase the volume of that community forest.

READ MORE: New Quesnel-area community forest process moving forward

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