Balancing Act by ProQuest


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Being small and flexible is paying big dividends for this community forest on
B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. The three-year-old organization is already cash positive
and that benefits the local community and its residents in many ways.

          By Bill Tice

                  triking a balance between profitability, en-   enhancement and other community projects.
                  vironmental considerations and local com-         Len Pakulak, former chairman of the board of the SCCF,
                  munity needs and values is no easy task, but   which is officially called “Sechelt Community Projects Inc.,”
                  it’s a goal the staff and board of the Sun-    says the idea for the community forest spawned from discus-
                  shine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) on         sions between the past mayor of the District of Sechelt, Cam-
                  British Columbia’s Lower Sunshine Coast        eron Reid, and several other local residents, including Kevin
have managed to meet. The three-year-old company is already      Davie, who is now the operations manager for the company.
in the black, which means any profits generated by the organi-      “Originally, the district mayor and others saw the need for
zation can now flow back to its sole shareholder, the District   a community forest and tried to bring other local jurisdictions
of Sechelt, which can in turn use the funds for community        here on the Sunshine Coast into the mix,” explains Pakulak.

                                                                              A Morgan skidder pulls logs to roadside at a Sunshine Coast
                                                                              Community Forest harvesting block. The organization hires
                                                                              local contractors to do its harvesting, loading and hauling.

                                                                                              Canadian Forest Industries August 2009   11
“When it became evident to the mayor               the local economy,” and he adds that             ing for the SCCF, but Davie says “flex-
and council that meeting the needs of              between the engineers, consultants,              ibility” has been the key to the success
several jurisdictions was going to be              foresters and logging contractors they           they have achieved to date. “We have
tough, the District of Sechelt decided             hire, the SCF currently creates the              been able to create a balance by target-
to go alone in the venture, putting up             equivalent of seven indirect full-time           ing specific products out of the forest
$385,000 as a loan for the formation of            jobs on the coast. That doesn’t include          rather than just logs for 2x4s,” he ex-
the company.”                                      the two direct full-time jobs held by            plains
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