Powell River Community Forest made a profit of close to $750,000 from logging city-owned property this year.
At the Tuesday, August 18, City of Powell River committee of the whole meeting, Greg Hemphill, president of community forest board of directors, and Chris Laing, manager of forest operations, spoke regarding the management strategy for the community forest and other municipal forest lands.
Hemphill reminded councillors that the community forest had made a presentation to council in October 2014 regarding opportunities at the airport reserve and other city-owned lands.
“Since that time we have conducted operations and you can say, at this stage, we are at a substantial completion,” Hemphill said. “We thought we’d give you a summary of how the harvesting went and some of the reforestation activities.”
Laing said there had been harvesting on three of the four properties that had been identified in the original presentation to council. Total volume of the trees harvested was 16,021 cubic metres. One block near West Lake provided 1,222 cubic metres of timber, a second, near Haywire Bay, had a 4,843 cubic metres cut and the airport reserve lands provided 9,096 cubic metres.
He said there is a fourth property, less than two hectares in size, beside Pine Tree Road. The cut block was affected by the very wet winter, making harvesting impractical earlier this year
In terms of sales, Laing said the community forest received decent returns for the timber but did not receive the hoped for uptick in prices.
Laing said the community forest also received $31,000 from the city to perform silviculture work on previously logged stands. He said local contractors took care of brushing on 28 hectares down on the airport reserve property and the Inland Lake property. It was completed in the spring.
The West Lake block was replanted immediately after harvesting, as was a portion of the airport reserve. The remainder of both blocks will be replanted next spring.
Hemphill said total revenue for log sales, to the end of July 2015, is $1.65 million and expenses totalled $932,776.
“This leaves a projected profit of $724,249,” Hemphill said.
There is a $50,000 holdback for miscellaneous expenses and fees and there are still 254 cubic metres of unsold wood, with an estimated value of $15,000.
An initial payment was made to the city on August 8, amounting to $674,249.
“It’s pretty consistent with the estimates we made before we did it,” Hemphill said. “The remaining payment will probably come as a result of our September month-end.
“We are very pleased with how things have gone. Taking the long view, there is timber remaining on these lots. There are other city lands suited for forest management. That is something we can look at over time.”
Mayor Dave Formosa said the harvesting on city lands was separate from the activities the community forest organization carries out in the Powell River Community Forest. There might be other work, however, that the community forest can undertake for the city.
For example, on upper Westview Road there are properties the city owns where there are a number of trails, plus timber.
“We might want to look at the community forest going in there and doing a cleanup,” Formosa said. Trails could also be enhanced.
It may also make sense to create fire buffers in the area and there may be some potential timber revenues that could be applied to city projects such as the new fire hall or the library, according to the mayor.
Hemphill said if potential logging activities are well supported by the community, the Powell River Community Forest will assist if it can.