Fort Nelson First Nation Secures One of the Largest Ever Forest Tenures from BC Government

Ongoing negotiations, which started in 2017, have led to the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) securing a forestry tenures commitment from the BC government.

The BC Ministry of Forests has set out a tenures offer with a total quantum of 1.26 million cubic meters per year, making it one of the largest forest tenures commitments ever made to a First Nation. The commitment of forest tenures—which includes a First Nations Woodland License, a Replaceable Forest License, and several Non-Replaceable Forest Licenses—is reportedly to enable the construction and operation of the FNFN pellet facility project in partnership with Peak Renewables Ltd.

The release states that all forestry planning for all tenures in the Fort Nelson Timber Supply Area will be subject to FNFN Land Management Framework applied to long-term forest plants. The Land Management Framework is in place to protect a wide range of valuables that include traditional use areas and values, riparian (or wetland) values, wildlife and habitat values, old-growth forest management, and landscape connectivity.

The Land Management Framework represents a best practice for sustainable forestry management, the release says. To that end, FNFN and Peak Renewables have applied Land Management Framework value constraints when generating the tenure configuration used in the recent tenures commitment.

The project will see the construction of a 600,000 metric ton-per-year pellet plant in FNFN territory. The pellet plant and associated logging operations will reportedly provide employment and contracting benefits for the Nation’s members, other First Nations, the town of Forest Nelson, and the surrounding regions.

However, before construction on the facility can begin, the railway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson needs to be upgraded to become commercially viable. This railway is owned by BC and is currently sub-leased to the CN. Project partners are reportedly working to build a coalition among interested parties, including the provincial and federal governments, to achieve this upgrade.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.