Gwaii Forest Fund ready to receive proposals

  • Sep. 28, 2007 8:00 p.m.

More than 400 people attended the party celebrating the arrival of $24 million and the birth of the new island-based Gwaii Forest Society. The Queen Charlotte community hall was packed on Sept. 11 with dignitaries and representatives from all Haida Gwaii communities as well as the provincial and federal governments. Gwaii Forest replaces the South Moresby Forest Replacement Account, established in 1988 by the provincial and federal governments after approximately 147,000 hectares were removed from the logging land base with the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. The fund, used to promote enhanced forest management to provide forest-based economic opportunities for Haida Gwaii, was set to dissolve by March 31, 2007, but islanders came together to demand that money be brought home. Many at the celebration spoke of the unity between Haida and non-Haida islanders that helped bring the money on-island. “It is our voice and strength that will carry the fund into the future,” said Irene Mills, chair of the new Gwaii Forest Society, at the celebration.Ms Mills and the other directors were given Haida canoe paddles to symbolize their role in steering the fund to provide ongoing support to Haida Gwaii. The new Gwaii Forest Society is modeled on the Gwaii Trust and Oct. 15 is the deadline for its first intake for proposals. Administrator John Farrell says the fund has a budget of $700,000 for Sustainable Forest Management. Mr. Farrell says the new Gwaii Forest office is beside the Purple Onion in Queen Charlotte and he has a new toll-free number, 1-866-559-8064 and website,