Trust waiting word on forest fund transfer

  • Aug. 2, 2006 7:00 p.m.

The Gwaii Trust Society has pushed hard to convince the federal and provincial governments to give the islands control of the $24-million South Moresby Forest Replacement Fund, says chair Miles Richardson, and is now simply waiting for a federal Treasury Board decision on the move.
“The government of BC has all their ducks in line,” Mr. Richardson said. “Treasury Board is the next decision.”
That decision was close last year but it was delayed by the federal election which was announced in November, held in January, and resulted in a new minority government.
Mr. Richardson said he has felt many times over the past few years that the Gwaii Trust was about to achieve its goal of repatriating the fund, so he’s not making any predictions at the moment about when that might happen.
The South Moresby Forest Replacement Fund was set up with money from the federal and provincial governments as part of the 1988 deal which created the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve/Haida Heritage Site.
The Gwaii Trust has been angling for many years to bring the fund under the control of islanders. It currently has an arrangement with the provincial government to administer the fund and hand out money for projects, as an interim step. Islanders have developed a Gwaii Forest Fund constitution and bylaws in readiness for the day when the money is handed over.