Last summer, Alberta’s government opened two competitions for timber quotas in northern Alberta as part of the Forest Jobs Action Plan. These timber allocations are part of the annual allowable cut (AAC) but had not yet been issued to an operator.
The goal was to allocate this unassigned timber through an open, competitive process that maximizes economic, environmental and community benefits, including benefits to local Indigenous communities.
“A working forest is a healthy forest. I’m excited to announce that, following our competitive request for proposals, Norbord Inc. and Bigstone Cree Nation are the successful recipients of these quotas. They will be able to make the most of the available wood while at the same time generating positive environmental and social impacts in their communities.”
Norbord Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., is the successful recipient of 51,000 cubic metres of unallocated deciduous AAC within Forest Management Unit G16, about 70 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie.
“This sustainable volume is an important piece of the existing fibre basket that supports our world-class oriented strand board facility in Grande Prairie. We believe our successful proposal strikes an appropriate balance between supporting Indigenous consultation capacity, investment in science to better understand biodiversity, and financial value to Albertans in exchange for the opportunity to manage these forests and provide jobs in the Grande Prairie region.”
Norbord Inc.’s winning proposal is supported by the Municipal District of Greenview, City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie and Saddle Hills County, and includes:
- An estimated $10.5-million contribution to Alberta’s gross domestic product through direct, indirect and induced economic benefits from the management of this timber.
- Hundreds of thousands in funding to the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute to improve biodiversity monitoring and habitat restoration in northwest Alberta.
- Hundreds of thousands in funding to support Indigenous consultation.
Bigstone Cree Nation is the successful recipient of 21,000 cubic metres of unallocated coniferous AAC within Forest Management Unit S22, about 300 kilometres north of Edmonton.
“Chief and Council are proud to accept the issuance of the S22 Conifer Timber Quota to Bigstone Forestry Inc., which is owned and operated by Bigstone Cree Nation. We are also pleased to announce that we are establishing a partnership with Foothills Forest Products and we look forward to working with them on various forest management initiatives, which will incorporate our culture, traditional land use and knowledge. This is an example of true reconciliation and relationship between Indigenous people and forestry companies. Our Nation looks forward to the responsibility of balancing Treaty and Aboriginal rights while ensuring our forest is managed sustainably, responsibly and respectfully for generations to come.”
In partnership with Foothills Forest Products Ltd., Bigstone Cree Nation’s winning proposal includes:
- A lump sum payment of $200,000 for the quota.
- The creation of new jobs in Bigstone Cree Nation’s communities.
- $400,000 in related, local economic activity.
- The creation of a new scholarship for young community members that will last for the duration of the timber quota.
- Alberta’s forest industry directly employs 18,100 people and supports more than 22,700 additional jobs in Alberta, contributing $1.7 billion in salaries and wages in 2019.
- Since 2020, the Forest Jobs Action Plan has resulted in three open competitions for approximately 137,000 cubic metres of Crown AAC, which will generate tens of millions of dollars in positive economic benefits for Alberta.
- The Green Area of Alberta has 29.4 million cubic metres of AAC (17.2 million coniferous and 12.2 million deciduous).