Come February 2018, the District of Ucluelet and Toquaht First Nation will receive a massive windfall of cash from a shared community forest project launched in July 2015.
About $1.5 million will be coming back to the two communities in the New Year, which they will divvy in half.
“It should be an annual thing. Obviously, with the markets right now, western red cedars are at an ultimate high,” said councillor Mayco Noel.
“I think, you’ll probably see the windfalls go downhill a little bit after this. But, I think, with the markets and the model that they are using with the highest bidder wins, that it’s a model that will continue to provide positive results for the two communities.”
Noel projected that the District of Ucluelet will receive a second cheque for about $500,000 in December 2018.
He said the District has no big plans for the funds at this point.
“That’s the fun part,” said Noel. “We’re going to have to do a bit of community engagement to come up with some great ideas.”
“Everyone is going to have their own opinions. Everyone is going to want to dice it up and take on small projects. I’d rather see the money come in large bulks and I’d like to see one large project taken on that would really benefit everyone in the community,” he said.
Noel credited Western Forest Products for the success of the project.
“Logging in the west coast is a sensitive topic and I think how [Western Forest Products] has managed it from the bidding process to how its been harvested throughout the phases, they’ve done a wonderful job.”
He said the logging company worked hard to mitigate any kind of impact on any creeks and fish bearing streams. Maps of the community forest can be viewed at: www.barkleyforest.ca.