Community Forest

The District of Sechelt is engaging citizens on the operation of the Sunshine Coast Community Forest.

Timeline

  • June 2018 District Council asks staff to develop an engagement process
  • July-Sept 2018 Community events, survey open for citizen feedback
  • Sept 2018 Report to Council on options

Background

The Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) is operated by Sechelt Community Projects Inc. with the District of Sechelt being the sole shareholder of the Corporation. SCPI holds and manages a license to harvest the crown lands marked for logging by the Province.  The SCCF is managed by a board of directors.

The role of forest management ensures logging on Crown land within municipal boundaries is done in the best interests of the local community, including:

  • Enhancing recreation opportunities in the forest
  • Environmental considerations for every cut block and access road
  • Directing revenue in a way that benefits the community

The SCCF has a designated tenure area (10,790 hectares) within which they are granted the exclusive right to harvest timber (map). It is up to the SCCF to determine all of the net-downs based on standards set by government (as well as local knowledge) and any additional areas based on good and valid science. Considerations include terrain, wildlife habitat, impact on watersheds, proximity to rivers and streams, old growth, historical considerations among others. The total area logged in any year is between 30-40 hectares or .332% of the total area. 

The two areas within the District of Sechelt municipal boundary are the Sechelt Heritage Forest and Hidden Grove, the rest is within the SCRD electoral areas for Halfmoon Bay and Roberts Creek.

Board of Directors

The SCCF is governed by a board of directors and the day to day operations managed by a professional forester. The board is made up of community volunteers from all over the Sunshine Coast. The meeting minutes are posted to their website and the Annual General Meeting is open to the public. The 2018 Annual General Meeting is on July 23rd at 7pm at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden, 5941 Mason Road, Sechelt. 

Legacy Funds

The profits are distributed to the District of Sechelt and then passed to the community through Legacy Fund Grants. Currently 50% is held back for a use by the District of Sechelt to benefit the community and 50% is provided to non-profit groups and public bodies to benefit communities all across the Sunshine Coast. To date, almost $800,000 has been provided to the community. 

The District of Sechelt Legacy Fund Bylaw states funds can only be used: "for special projects that have the potential to offer lasting benefits to the community."

This table shows the recipients of the Legacy Fund community grants provided by the District of Sechelt from the SCCF profits. 

Community

In addition to the Legacy Fund contributions the SCCF provides the following community benefits: 

  • Wood Expo  - annual  wood expo featuring exhibitors such as featured artists, wood carvers, furniture makers, a cedar strip canoe, and wooden cars
  • Jobs - the forest operations contribute 80-100 full time jobs on the Sunshine Coast
  • Firewood - free firewood permits are offered for harvested areas within its tenure boundaries. To date, over 1,000 permits have been issued.
  • Trails - the SCCF works with the Sunshine Coast Trails society to build and maintain trails. The SCCF applied for designated recreation site status for Hidden Grove in the Sandy Hook area and continues to work with the Groves Society to remove danger trees to improve public safety.
  • Research - research conducted includes several watershed studies, study and inventory of wild edible and medicinal mushrooms, and a parks and reserves inventory.
Questions?

Do you have a question that you can't find the answer to? Send us an email at haveyoursay@sechelt.ca