Forest fund recovers slightly

  • Jul. 29, 2009 9:00 a.m.

The Gwaii Forest Society closed down in April, but directors got together Saturday in Skidegate for a brief annual general meeting. The Gwaii Forest Society started operations just two years ago, and managed to fund just under $500,000 worth of projects before it was crippled by market declines and a global recession. “As everyone knows, our office has closed,” chair Irene Mills said. “The communities all decided we would shut our office down, but would keep our society in good standing. So we will continue every year to hold an annual general meeting and appoint directors.” Islanders had envisioned the $24-million Gwaii Forest Fund operating as a mini Gwaii Trust, using a portion of the interest generated by the fund to pay for forest-related research and education. But it never worked out that way. By last fall, the fund had dipped to $22-million, below its original value, and the islanders who control it decided to close down the Gwaii Forest Society until the fund recovers. Barry Pages, the director for North Graham Island, said the island communities need regular updates on how the fund is doing. Ms Mills told directors that her latest information is that the fund now sits at $24.5-million, and is well on the way to recovery. While the original projection was that it would take until 2014 for the fund to recover, it now looks like it might not take that long, she said. Directors adopted the society’s financial statements and appointed Vohora and Company as auditors for another year.