A celebratory barbecue was held August 15 to highlight the 10 year mark and other accomplishments by local company Kalum Ventures, a First-Nations owned and operated logging company that works out of Kitsumkalum village immediately west of Terrace.
On hand at the event were those who operations manager Lyle Bolton said were instrumental in the first years including members of the Terrace Community Forest, Main Logging and other local companies who have done business with Kalum Ventures over the years.
“The barbecue was held to show appreciation. Most of the people who came had some sort of integral part in our success over the last 10 years,” said Bolton.
“The government back then opened up the opportunity for First Nations to get more involved in the forestry industry by letting First Nations apply for and get cutting rights to harvest timber and make a profit off it,” said Bolton.
Recently the company signed an extension on its timber licence agreement for the next 20 years at 43,000 cubic metres a year. The previous agreement was for five years.
Also full-time at Kalum Ventures is field operation specialist Troy Sam, and Anita McCormick who does the bookkeeping.
The company contracts out work to logging and other forestry companies who are willing to hire a certain number of First Nations employees for the job, typically 50 per cent, according to Bolton.
“There has been some definite economic benefits for sure, as well as the employment. We’ve done our part to try to employ people in Kitsumkalum,” he said.
Although Bolton says there is “no formula developed”, he estimates that an average of $50,000 a year has been donated to the community over the 10 years from Kalum Ventures revenues.
The company has harvested at least 8 out of ten years with the latter part of 2008 and 2009 years when no harvest was done at all because of poor economic market conditions.
“The markets are like a yo-yo. They’re up, they’re down. They’re down now, but they might be up again later this year. Maybe even around December and we may have some winter logging again,” said Bolton.
The company harvests mainly hemlock and balsam, as well as some spruce and and cedar.
This past winter they did logging along on the side of Kalum Lake. Currently they are keeping busy with timber cruising and planting operations.