EDITORIAL: Community forest creates jobs and opportunity

Every day, small things are making big waves in our community.

Golden belongs to a number of groups larger than just itself, tying us in with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and the Resort Municipalities Initiative. These two groups help our town and surrounding area to leverage the great ideas and initiatives our home comes up with.

At the past UBCM meeting, our mayor, Area A director, and the Town CAO attended a week of exhaustive daily meetings to ensure Golden’s voices are heard at the big kids table.

And we’ve graduated.

Now we sit with the likes of Revelstoke and Whistler, and we’re drinking out of fine China.

This town has transformed in astounding ways from its blue collar roots, including old and new into its future.

We’re talking about major road upgrades, funding to improve tourism capabilities, and community forests. This array of topics really says a lot about the passions of the people that live here.

A community forest would provide the town plentiful opportunity for work, play, and wealth.

Maintaining and harvesting lumber would provide jobs to local operators, and that fiber taken from the forest could feed back into the local economy to build products. The lumber taken from a community forest can be educational for local students, and can help in trail building and other recreational uses.

On Vancouver Island, I used to live in Port Alberni, where there was a community forest. It was many years in the making, and the Alberni Valley Community Forest gained the support of locals before a forest manager was hired, and eventually students were asked to create a logo for the forest. The community engagement process was enormous, and the forest to this day puts control of timber and non-timber resources into the hands of local people. The forest provides logging opportunities, and the city creates firewood opportunities with the left over wood after logging operations have been completed.

Even though it took years to build it to what it is, the opportunities the community forest has provided are endless. The same could be done in Golden as it has in other parts of the province. Community forest agreements are granted by the province for a period of 25 years and can be renewed every 10 years. More than 50 communities in the province are reaping the rewards from their own community forests, so this is a great opportunity for Golden to join in on another opportunity that will help our community.

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