Gold River is asking for a share of the stumpage fees that the province receives from forest operators when they harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land.
In a virtual meeting with Forest Minister Doug Donaldson last month, Gold River’s council asked the province to address the need for direct stumpage contribution to Gold River and similar small communities.
“The village sees large dollar figures paid into stumpage fees, however, it does not see any direct injection of support from those dollars collected,” said Mayor Brad Unger.
The council told Donaldson that small rural communities have a limited capacity and “struggle to find new revenue sources” to support the aging infrastructure, new economic development and tourism ideas.
“Council was very clear with minister Donaldson that if the rhetoric of small resource communities is, in fact, the backbone of the province, then it was time to prove it by giving the village their fair share,” said Unger.
Unger said that the council has discussed the cost of stumpage fees in Gold River every time the opportunity presents itself. “We get the same response, ‘costs are the same throughout the Province’. But we have argued that it costs more on the West Coast to bring the logs to market, than it does in other areas of B.C.”
The council also told the forest ministry about Western Forest Products’ decision to change operations, and essentially contract all the works outside of Gold River.
Mayor Unger said that Donaldson and his team were unaware of the events that had unfolded and stated he would provide staff resources from his ministry to the village administration for assistance and further review.