Alberni Valley Community Forest chairperson Jim Sears hands over $2 million to Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions during the AVCF’s annual general meeting on June 18, 2020. The cheque represents the dividends from the forest operations in 2019. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

City of Port Alberni receives $2M from community forest

AVCF hands over largest dividend cheque ever after successful year in 2019

The Alberni Valley Community Forest is in a good financial position after 2019, chairperson Jim Sears said during the AVCF’s annual general meeting in June.

So good, in fact, the board donated a $2 million dividend to its owner, the City of Port Alberni.

The community forest’s net revenue in 2019 was $1.6 million, Sears noted. Harvesting in the forest was done entirely in the Sproat Operating Area. Having a slow fire season—no fires within the community forest in 2019—helped, he added.

The big dividend was possible because the board had set aside monies to purchase more land, but decided to set that idea aside for now. “We will continue to press for expansion of the community forest tenure by working with the government and other stakeholders to expand our presence in the Valley and work to increase our cut to at least the original volumes contemplated with the application for the Community Forest Licence of 22,000 cubic metres,” Sears said.

“Two million dollars is incredible,” Mayor Sharie Minions said. “We are really looking forward to working with council and engaging with the public on how this money is going to be used.

“This year’s $2 million dividend clearly demonstrates that we can successfully manage sustainable forestry practices while enhancing the livability in our community,” she said later.

This is the largest dividend cheque the community forest has provided to the city since the AVCF was formed in 2009. That year the AVCF entered into a 25-year community forest agreement with the Provincial Ministry of Forest and Range, which provides for the exclusive rights to harvest Crown timber and non-timber resources. The agreement offers two distinct areas for the AVCF: the Sproat Operating Area and the Taylor Operating Area.

The community forest tenure is held and operated by the AVCF Corporation, which is 100 percent owned by the City of Port Alberni. There is a board of directors appointed by the city and includes representatives from the community, Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations.

Past dividends have helped support initiatives like the Community Investment Program, which assists not-for-profit organizations in enhancing their ability to provide services or activities within the Alberni Valley.

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