“The project is not yet complete, but we held a valuable meeting on January 28, 2023 at the Klahoose First Nation Community Building. Over 40 people attended this four-hour event where lunch was also served. The goal was to gather people’s perspectives on how Cortes Island can support the value-added wood sector.
The Co-op is trying to build a greater understanding of how Cortes Island can support the use of wood harvested on the island, and what initiatives have worked in other communities. This meeting did provide a clear picture of themes around value-added needs, gaps, and potentials to support the local economy. These will inform the Business Roadmap, which is expected to be completed at the end of April.
We had invited everyone in the community. We especially wanted people to attend who work in the forestry sector as a logger, miller or sawyer, or anyone who makes things with wood, or would like to make things with wood but don’t have the training, equipment or workshop space. We also wanted to see anyone who cares about keeping raw logs on Cortes Island to make products out of local wood, and those who care about the circular economy – or keeping wood harvested here in circulation on the island as long as possible for the greatest economic and ecological benefit to the community.
After the event, one person commented: “I feel inspired by the gathering of minds and dreams for the future of the forest and the people of our place.”
The Cortes Community Forest Cooperative Roadmap project received $20,000 in funding through Island Coastal Economic Trust Investment Readiness Program in 2022. The roadmap will create a business strategy informed by engagement outcomes for wood harvested from a community forest tenure to capitalize on the vast potential of the value-added forestry sector on business ventures, employment opportunities and the creation of a circular economy. Learn more: Cortes Value-Added Roadmap