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Western inks letter of understanding with Island First Nations

Western Forest Products and the Nanwakolas Council, which represents the Tlowitsis, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations, have agreed to work together on developing a resource management plan for forest land in the central Vancouver Isla

Western Forest Products and the Nanwakolas Council, which represents the Tlowitsis, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations, have agreed to work together on developing a resource management plan for forest land in the central Vancouver Island traditional territory of the nations.

The two parties have completed a letter of understanding outlining a process to develop a mutually beneficial business plan and sustainable forest management strategy.

Dallas Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council, said the parties share a commitment to healthy and resilient forests and creating jobs that pay well.

Both sides say they intend to explore options for long-term business partnerships that will support communities, sawmilling and value-added manufacturing.

The partnership endeavours to include the values of Indigenous communities in designing and implementing new approaches to forest management.

“Nanwakolas and Western will work together on developing a long-term view that supports sustainable and economic access to the full forest profile while incorporating the values and interests of the Nanwakolas Council member nations in designing the shared management approach,” said Western vice-president and chief forester Shannon Janzen.

“The nations and Western intend to apply science-based and data driven approaches in concert with traditional Indigenous knowledge consistent with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.”

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