By: Vernon Morning Star
Just like the cedar they were carved from, new signs have rooted two communities together.
Signs proclaiming the Monashee Community Forest were unveiled at the Splatsin First Nation and in Lumby Tuesday.
“It’s a visual testament of the partnership between the Splatsin and Lumby,” said Rick Fairbairn, community forest president.
The community forest, which began harvesting in 2013, is managed jointly by the village and the Splatsin and the revenue is shared.
“The relationship is built on dialogue back and forth,” said Wayne Christian, Splatsin chief.
“What has developed is an understanding of each other.”
The community forest has an annual allowable cut of 21,595 cubic metres and covers 7,411 hectares.
“We’re connected to the land,” said Christian.
“Forestry has always been a part of the economy. We’re the original loggers as we logged to build homes thousands of years ago.”
To date, the community forest has harvested more than 80,000 cubic metres of timber.
“The community forest has provided timber supply to many large and small scale operations, who in turn have employed people in our area who are then able to spend their money in our communities,” said Kevin Acton, Lumby mayor.
Revenue generated by the community forest goes towards programs and services operated by Lumby and the Splatsin.
In Lumby, revenue has gone to infrastructure, updating bylaws and parks and recreation.
“There is less burden on taxpayers’ shoulders,” said Acton.
Funds are also used for silviculture and reforestation.
With the relationship with Lumby firmly in place, the Splatsin are now considering a community forest with Enderby and Sicamous.
“We want to build this community together,” said Daniel Joe, a Splatsin councillor.