The Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation and Revelstoke Mayor David Raven recognized their industry partners to in a commemoration ceremony celebrating the 20th anniversary of the forest corporation.
At a June 25 presentation, Raven noted the RCFC was unique in the province when it was created 20 years ago. It was the second community forest corporation created (there are many today) and the first to purchase its tenure. Raven said the RCFC has added flexibility and reliability to the local forest products market, allowing the local industry to survive and thrive.
In a presentation to city council, RCFC president Geoff Battersby said the contrast between then and now is stark.
“We’ve come a long way from the troubled 1980s when less than 25,000 cubic metres of local wood was being processed in a local mill,” Battersby said. “Revelstoke mills now process the equivalent of the total annual allowable cut in the Revelstoke area.”
In 20 years the RCFC has harvested about 1.1 million trees, planted 10.5 million and has generated income and economic activity of about $132 million, he said.
“Forest workers have enjoyed steadier employment since community and the industry joined forces to secure the future of the local forest resource,” Battersby said.
“As to the future, climate change is upon us and determining what species will do what well at what elevations is a matter of urgency, with many unknowns,” Battersby said, adding the RCFC is participating in an international study on the subject that will help guide reforestation policy into the future. “Wetter spring fall and winter weather, combined with hotter, dryer summers has attendant risks of more floods, landslides and forest fires. One thing we do know is that cedar, our best commercial species, likes lots of moisture and should do well as a result of climate change. RCFC looks forward to meeting the challenges of climate change and ensuring the future of the industry as a key part of Revelstoke’s economic base.”
Mayor Raven presented plaques to representatives from three forest products companies.
Joe Kozek of Joe Kozek Sawmills was honoured for his and his family’s contributions to the local industry. Raven said the family should be “commended for their participation” in RCFC. “Joe [Kozek] was a very strong supporter of the [RCFC] in the very beginning and all the way throughout,” Raven said, while presenting a commemorative plaque to his son and current owner, also named Joe Kozek.
Raven presented two plaques to Downie Timber, one to retired manager Jack Heavenor and the other to the Gorman family, the owners of the mill.
“[Downie] has run for 25 years without shutdown which is unique and to be commended in the forest industry. Most mills are up and down,” Raven said. “We can’t overstate the role of the Gorman family.” Barry Wagner of Downie Timber accepted the plaques.
The final plaque was dedicated to Dick Jones of Cascade Cedar. “Dick was a strong supporter from the very beginning,” Raven said. “Dick is a big part of our community.”
For more on the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, see the Revelstoke Times Review‘s recent three-part feature series commemorating the corporation’s 20th anniversary.