Forest fund off to slow start

  • Jun. 27, 2007 5:00 a.m.

The new Gwaii Forest Charitable Trust has had a rocky start, says trustee Warren Foster. So far the society, which will run the trust formerly known as the South Moresby Forest Replacement Account, has not had a quorum of directors attending meetings. “With $25-million on the table, I thought it would be more interesting to people,” said Mr. Foster at the June 20 Moresby Island Management Committee meeting. He’s a trustee for the new fund, as well as for Gwaii Trust and helped negotiate bringing the fund to be managed on-islands.The Gwaii Forest Society must be incorporated and the directors must also focus on the deed of the Gwaii Forest Charitable Trust (the document negotiated by Gwaii Trust, the province and the feds, which brings the money to the islands).The lack of a quorum means the new society has not been able to pass a constitution and set of bylaws for its operation, and therefore doesn’t actually exist.John Farrell is the interim-administrator for the new fund. He says the workings of the new trust have yet to be determined and the directors need to prepare a five-year strategic plan, which will outline how the public will interact with the $25-million. Mr. Farrell expects the society will maintain a similar system of advisory groups that reviewed South Moresby Forest Replacement Account proposals. SMFRA had a Sustainable Forest Management advisory group and a Community Stability advisory group. The directors will make the final decisions about these functions. The goal is to have a call for proposals in the fall, he says. So far the directors slate includes representatives of north, central and south Graham Island, Moresby Island and the Council of the Haida Nation. The representation is patterned on the directorship of the Gwaii Trust. For the CHN, the line-up includes, Frank Collison, Captain Gold (alternate); Robert Davis, Ron Williams (alt.); Robert Mills, (TBA alt.); Barney Edgars, David Smith (alt.). For North Graham the representative is Mayor Barry Pages, with Karen Church as alternate. Wally Cheer is the representative for Central Graham. The alternate is yet to be named. South Graham Island’s representative is Michael Muller with Gladys Noddin as the alternate. Moresby Island’s rep is Travis Glasman with Jim Henry as alternate.Irene Mills has been named by the CHN as the chair of the Gwaii Forest Society.Mr. Foster also noted that the lawyers involved in setting up the trust have advised there be no overlap between Gwaii Forest and Gwaii Trust.”Several of the players are overlapping,” he says.He also suggested Moresby Island ask for an amendment to the proposed constitution (based on Gwaii Trust’s), which compels them to hold an election for a director. He suggests the Moresby Island Management Committee have the option to appoint a director or hold an election, at their discretion.