A huge upswing in profits this year through the sale of logs by the Terrace Community Forest is resulting in a $1 million cheque to its owner, the City of Terrace.
“There were some eyes that opened wide,” said community forest manager Kim Haworth when city officials were told of the sum, a record annual amount for the more than 15 years the enterprise has been in business.
Half of the money will be used for 2022 city projects that fit an agreed upon criteria of how community forest profits should be used and half set aside for city projects in 2023.
“We decide together how the money should be spent,” said Haworth in outlining the basic criteria that profits be used for new or improved outdoor amenities such as trails and parks.
A proposed list already indicates that $100,000 of 2022’s $500,000 be allocated to the extension of the Grand Trunk Pathway trail from Frank St. to the Kalum River Bridge.
The project has yet to be put out to tender but city officials have already warned council that the nearly $1 million in senior government grants the city has already received for the train extension won’t be enough for what’s planned.
Also on the list is money to either buy or supplement what’s needed for a washroom and change room at George Little Park, to renovate the horseshoe pitch on the Bench, a rescue shelter for the fire department and bike storage shelters to be placed at city-owned buildings.
More than $90,000 would also be used for continued expansion and extension of the Howe Creek trail network.
Haworth said the $1 million came from an unanticipated COVID-driven demand for lumber earlier this year, a factor that then drove up the prices the community forest could get for its logs.
“The Asian market and China were very good markets,” he said of smaller diameter hemlock and balsam logs sold off.
At first all the community forest’s wood was sold for export but as the year went on, a sawmill in Kitwanga was able to adjust and began purchasing fibre.
“Approximately 15,000 cubic metres was sold [to Kitwanga] and 35,000 cubic metres went to export,” said Haworth.
With this year’s profit, the community forest has produced $3 million since its inception for outside amenities.
Profits sent to the city are independent of $50,000 a year the community forest distributes to outdoor organizations such as Shames Mountain, the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club, the Terrace Off-Road Cycling Association and the Terrace Rod and Gun Club.
The infusion of $500,000 for next year’s capital spending on the part of the city goes against a policy adopted in 2019 of when community profits would be spent.
The policy would have had 2021 profit spending plans decided next year and actually spent in 2023 but the community forest asked the city to advance that process for a more immediate impact beginning next year.