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Community forest company donates $4 million for Tl’azt’en Nation’s infrastructure project

Tanizul Timber’s donation will go toward the First Nation’s long-awaited community centre project
Community-based forestry management company Tanizul Timber has donated millions towards Tl’azt’en Nation’s infrastructure project. (Tanizul Timber/Facebook)

A community-based forestry company is donating millions of its profit toward Tl’azt’en Nation’s infrastructure project.

Tanizul Timber Ltd. is handing out $4 million to the First Nation’s community centre building initiative– a project that has been years in the making after the original community centre burned down.

Tl’azten Nation is hoping to break ground for the $25 million construction project, which will also include an administrative building and office space, shortly, said chief Leslie Aslin.

Aslin said the council and community members are excited to see the contribution toward the project.

“It has been in the planning process for some time now with the involvement from community members and staff to create a building that fits the community needs and a place to carry out our cultural activities and business and accommodate the staff to deliver programs and services in a new environment under one roof,” Aslin said.

The community had been operating out of 40-year-old school building and thereafter they moved into trailers for the past few years, he said.

The chief also said they are in the process of meeting with architects and hope to get the shovels in the ground in the near future.

The community-based forest management company is wholly owned and operated by Tl’azt’en Nation and was first incorporated in 1981 to manage the newly issued Tree Farm Licence 42.

Tanizul Timber operates its business with a vision to maximize benefits to the Tl’azt’en community, said the forestry company’s general manager John Leidl.

“This is a great example of what the community forest is about, where you have revenue generated from the local forest resources, and in turn reinvested right back into the local community and economy - as a direct benefit,” said Leidl about the donation toward the community centre.

The company has also contributed toward the project in the past, raising the total donation to over $5 million.

According to Leidl, a key consideration that allowed for this to happen, specific to the Community Forest tenure, is the fact that stumpage paid is based on tabular rates (which are set at 15 per cent of the average stumpage rate in the selling price zone). This enables community forest managers the flexibility to realize the increased costs and offer flexibility to incorporate and manage community-based objectives and interests.

Leidl also said that with the province’s plan to review its timber pricing model for community forests, to ‘harmonize’ stumpage pricing, could undermine this direct benefit that supports local communities and economies.

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