The federal government has provided nearly $670,000 to the Kitselas First Nation to boost forest sector business development with added goal of reducing its carbon footprint.
Canada’s minister of natural resources, Amarjeet Sohi, was in Terrace today along with Kitselas Chief Judy Gerow to announce the funding at a small press conference in the Best Western hotel.
“Continuous improvement and innovation leads to an increasingly efficient forest sector in Canada. These projects will directly benefit the surrounding communities by creating jobs and providing eco-friendly development solutions,” Sohi said.
The first investment of $600,000 has been rolled out over the past few years to help with Kitselas development projects related to land reclamation and restoration. This includes environmental monitoring services meant to return the land to a healthy ecosystem and mitigate development impacts in the process.
As a result the Kitselas are now in a position to consider a new venture with a biomass combined heat and power energy system using local wood residues. A second federal investment of $69,443 will finance the feasibility study.
“The land reclamation project that we’ve received funding for did create jobs,” Gerow said. “It did create opportunities. One thing that came out of it was the formation of an environmental services company. Now with this new opportunity of a biomass energy project feasibility study…we’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.”
Such a project would lessen the Kitselas’ reliance on diesel fuel and help the community transition to a low-carbon economy. Sohi said the project ties in to the government’s push for more sustainable initiatives in the natural resource sector.
“This project will reduce green house gas emissions, create jobs and support local supply chain for forest biomass,” he said. [The Kitselas] are providing an example of how we can create the prosperity we all want while preserving the environment.”
Gerow added she is optimistic that if a biomass project goes forward, there will be opportunities to work with other local companies, such as the new pellet plant being built by Skeena Sawmills.
“The biomass energy plant is going to require wood fibre, so I’m sure there will be opportunities,” she said.
Both federal investments were co-funded by NRCan’s Indigenous Forestry Initiative and Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative.