Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest

Current Status: Lil'wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton signed incorporation documents for the formation of the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation.  The entity has made application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD)for a community forest tenure in the areas surrounding Pemberton & Lil’wat Nation and anticipates an announcement that our joint application has been accepted shortly. 

Project Background:  In 2001, Village Council took  into  consideration the  changes  that  were taking place in the Forest Industry at the time and determined it would be prudent to investigate the possibility of establishing a Community Forest in the Pemberton area.   In 2005 the Ministry of Forests issued a press release in which the Village of Pemberton along with the RMOW and District of Squamish were invited to apply for a five year probationary community forest licence that would provide up to 10,000 m3 of timber annually.   Although application was not made at that time there continued to be interest in pursuing this initiative and over the years the Village has met with Ministry officials to discuss the Community Forest program, understand the 2007 timber supply analysis and consider partnership opportunities.

Due to renewed interest in 2014,  Council determined that it would be useful to better understand the feasibility of pursuing this initiative.  In 2015, a request for proposals was issued by the Village for a study to explore the feasibility of entering into a Community Forest Agreement with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Operations.   Over the past number of years there have been numerous discussions with Provincial representatives and some preliminary research has been completed. The aim of the study was to learn about the  potential benefits of entering into a Community Forest Agreement including the establishment of forest stewardship over the lands surrounding the Village; facilitating potential recreation opportunities and protecting those opportunities that are already in place; review partnership opportunities; and social and economic benefits to the community through potential job creation and retention.

In January 2016, the Community Forest Feasibility Study was completed and presented to Council.  To view the Feasibility Study, click on the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Documents section below.

The Study outlined the process to make application and provided information of the potential costs and benefits to undertaking this project and options for partnerships.  An opportunity to partner with Lil’wat Nation was presented and in December of 2016, Council resolved to enter into negotiations with Lil’wat Forest Ventures to establish a Partnership Agreement to operate a Community Forest.

In 2017, negotiations proceeded to establish an official partnership between the Village and Lil’wat Nation which included the development of a Limited Partnership Agreement and Shareholders Agreement.  As well, naming of the Community Forest Corporation was confirmed and through this process the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation was formed in 2018.  An Interim Board was appointed with representation as follows from both communities:

Village of Pemberton:

Mayor Mike Richman,
Councillor Ted Craddock,
Nikki Gilmore, Chief Administrative Officer

Lil’wat Nation

Chief Dean Nelson,
Councillor Maxine Bruce,
Kerry Mehaffey, CEO, Lil’wat Forest Ventures

At the same time, work proceeded on the development of a Forest Management Plan, Stewardship Management Plan, Reforestation plan, and a business plan.  These plans were presented to the public in the fall of 2018 and accompanied the application made to FLNRO.  Links to these plans can be found below.

Project Details:  A Community Forest can be described as any forestry operation managed by a local government, community group, First Nation or community-held corporation for the benefit of the entire community. Community forestry involves the three pillars of sustainable development: social, ecological, and economic sustainability. At its core, community forestry is about local control over and enjoyment of the benefits offered by local forest resources.

A Community Forest Agreement is a process by which the province transfers decision-making to communities that have a desire to have a greater influence and participate in the stewardship of their local landbase.  Community Forest tenures are area-based thereby giving the holders of that tenure exclusive stewardship of a geographic area of forest land over an agreed upon term.

Next Steps: Upon confirmation that the Community Forest Licence has been approved, the Village together with Lil’wat Nation and the Province will make an official announcement. It is anticipated that the Interim Board will continue to sit for at least a year at which time notification will be published seeking two new members from each community to sit on the Board.   

Contact information:  For project related questions, please contact Sheena Fraser, Manager of Corporate & Legislative Services at 604.894.6135 or by email at sfraser @ pemberton.ca.