On May 28, 2014 the St. Mary’s Band development corporation, ?aq’am Community Enterprises (ACE); entered into a business relationship with Canfor on the management and development of the Band’s two forest licenses. The St. Mary’s Band also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Canfor in the area of capacity building and business development.
“I am very excited about the outcomes that have been developed between the two Parties,” said the St. Mary’s Band’s Chief Operating Officer Jodi Gravelle. The relationship building to date shows a very promising outlook for this partnership and I am looking forward to our organization working with Canfor to incorporate our Community’s principles and goals.”
The nature of the new formalized relationship between ACE and Canfor comes in the form of two fiber rental agreements. ACE will be collaborating with Canfor to manage both their renewable and non-renewable forest licenses. Management of the agreement, which includes the harvest of timber and reforestation responsibilities, will result in increased revenue for both ACE and Canfor over the duration of the agreements.
“We see a lot of leadership in this area from the Ktunaxa Nation,” stated Thomas Lewis, Vice President Woodlands for Canfor. “We share a lot of the same values in forest stewardship and community values as the St. Mary’s Band. Today, I see this step of signing these agreements as solidifying a strong relationship in building skills and experience in resource management.”
Key provisions of the MOU between the St. Mary’s Band and Canfor include identifying potential operating areas and identifying a collaborative Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP). The MOU also states that each business will respectively support and procure each others’ business activities whenever possible, and acknowledges the importance of environmental stewardship to both the St. Mary’s Indian Band and Canfor.
“This is a significant step forward for the Community’s Development Corporation and achieving our goals in sustainable resource development throughout the Territory,” said Becky Pelkonen, Director of Community & Economic Development for the St. Mary’s Band. “The Corporation’s mandate is to achieve wealth for the Community within the context of the Community’s Ktunaxa values and principles. This partnership will allow us to continue to act as leaders in this regard.”
“We have experienced a great learning curve in working with the St. Mary’s Band,” stated Grant Neville, First Nations and Planning Coordinator, Kootenay Region for Canfor. “It has been very rewarding in all that we’ve learned in this process with the team at the Band. I am excited to work with everyone further in increasing economic value to both Canfor and through?aq’am Community Enterprises.”
The relationship is only a starting point for the two companies, who each hope to prosper economically throughout the area. It is the goal of both Canfor and ACE to continue to support the goals of the St. Mary’s Band through collaborative business activity.