NEWS RELEASE · 8th August 2010
Haisla, Gitanyow and Haida Gwaii teams are working right now to add value to local timber and to restore tree plantations attacked by foliar disease.
These crews are partnered with Silverwood Consulting, based out of Terrace, to invest $760,000 worth of Job Opportunity Program funds (under the Community Development Trust fund) into the north-west.
Paul Hanna, professional forester and owner of Silverwood, knows first-hand about the importance of these labour-intensive assignments and the chance to partner with First Nations.
"The north-west, from Hazelton to the coast, has experienced eight years of severely reduced timber harvesting. With only about one third of the harvest levels of 10 years ago, 'typical forestry' work simply doesn't exist for either professionals or skilled labourers. It's up to us to create new partnerships and find funding if we want to choose to live and work in this special part of BC".
Last year, similar projects valued at $565,000, were run under Silverwood's guidance. These employed 54 resource workers in Gitanyow, Kitwanga, Gitsegukla, Gitanmaax (Hazelton) and Old Massett Village.
Randy Good, of Kitwanga, is in his second year of employment with Silverwood, thanks to this partnership and funding. He leads a crew of 9, who reside in Gitanyow and Kitwanga.
"This has kept me alive and in my home community, where I can still take care of my dad, who is 80 yrs old. And (it has helped) other guys in the village who need this, too. Keeps all of us staying where we can help people like this."
"We know that it is not a full time job, but it helps us go back on EI so we don't have to leave the community, like friends who have had to go to Alberta for 4-8 weeks at a time and don't know what to do with their elderly parents."
Randy has worked in forestry for a long time. "Myself, I've put 33 yrs into the (Kitwanga) sawmill, and they are talking about it starting up."
Like so many others who remain living in the north-west, he is hopeful about the future. " I would like to go back (to the mill) and keep contributing to my pension." For now, he is very happy to be working close to home.
The Job Opportunities Program funds short-term employment projects for impacted resource workers while helping to meet government objectives that benefit resource-dependent communities. Workers retain and build upon existing skills with a goal of maintaining our local workforce during the current economic downturn.
Silverwood Consulting has operated in north-west BC for twelve years, and specializes in strategic planning, innovative silviculture/research and carbon credit management.