Only 30% of locally harvested wood remains on Cortes Island. The other 70% leaves as raw logs to be processed at other coastal facilities.
The lack of a wood processing centre on Cortes (including the equipment, knowledge, and other infrastructure) means there is a vast missed opportunity for locals to capitalize on business ventures, employment opportunities, and the creation of a circular, local economy.
The value-added roadmap project marks a crucial first step towards maximizing the island’s local wood sector through a sector planning initiative. The roadmap would include nearly 4,000 hectares (representing about 30% of Cortes Island’s land base, including land currently under tenure by the Cortes Forestry General Partnership, CFGP and representing both the Klahoose First Nation and non-Indigenous Co-op members).
The strategy would look at how Cortesians can make local lumber purchases without traveling off-island or paying distant delivery fees. The project will also hold regional benefits, as in the past 25 years, over half of coastal mills have closed in B.C. and nearly one in three trees logged on the coast have left the province in raw log form.