Timber sale awarded

  • Dec. 3, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Travis O’Brien of Port Clements has been awarded the first-ever timber sale offered through the Misty Isles Economic Development Society.MIEDS economic development officer Heather Adel said Mr. O’Brien was the only bidder on the 33,800 cubic metre sale, which was advertised in September by BC Timber Sales. The timber is located in the Tlell area.”MIEDS was very pleased that the sale was awarded to a local company with a longstanding history on the islands and that employs local people,” Ms Adel said. The sale will not produce a lot of revenue for MIEDS, she added, but the board decided it was more important to get islanders working and try to get more money through the next sale.”It’s the first one we’ve gotten out, it’s kind of a test,” she said. “For us the key was getting people back to work.”Mr. O’Brien made a bonus offer of $9,347 in addition to the upset value of $646,393 for the timber. MIEDS will get to keep the bonus offer, Ms Adel said. The money will be used to help develop a community forest agreement, and will not go towards the society’s operating costs. MIEDS has been offered a community forest licence for 80,000 cubic metres a year by the Ministry of Forests with the caveat that it work in partnership with BC Timber Sales, and is currently working to set up a business structure for the community forest.The volume awarded to Mr. O’Brien came out of a Forest Licence to Cut that was allocated to MIEDS while it’s waiting to set up the community forest. The society has about 41,000 cubic metres remaining in this allocation, Ms Adel said, and plans to offer this volume the same way as the first sale.The timber sale decision did cause some friction at the board table, with Port Clements representative Ian Gould resigning as a result. Port Clements has appointed mayor Wally Cheer as its new representative. The other directors on the society are Masset mayor Andrew Merilees, Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha, Area D director Mike Racz, and Moresby Island director Evan Putterill, who is the chair of MIEDS.Meanwhile, Ms Adel said MIEDS is working to develop “a long-term strategy that will ensure that the focus of the organization will be on initiatives that will result in tangible value to businesses and islanders.”Local employment and supporting local manufacturing are priorities, she said. MIEDS is working with Port Clements to make the business case for building a container port and an inter-coastal transportation system that will reduce transportation costs for islands-based manufacturers.”Secondary manufacturing, green energy production and other value-added opportunities such as pellets needs to be considered,” Ms Adel said. “However, at this point in time transportation costs prohibit Haida Gwaii in being competitive in this area.”If successful, the container port could make secondary manufacturing economically viable here, and make many secondary growth stands marketable, she said.

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