The Regional District of Mount Waddington is pursuing a $500,000 grant from the Rural Development Fund to move its North Island Forest Industry Attraction, Training and Retention Strategy forward.
A major part of the Strategy will be the development of a training centre at Woss as a tool to support forest sector workforce retention and training.
At their regular board meeting Nov. 15, Manager of Economic Development Pat English told the directors the application was submitted with eight confirmed partners, plus letters of support from the ‘Namgis and Quatsino First Nations.
“We will move ahead with formal partnership agreements when we receive confirmation from the program office that our funding application is approved.”
The total cost of the Strategy, said English, is $960,000.
Western Forest Products has committed to $120,000 over a two-year period. There will be 12 spaces in total annually for the training program.
North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society has also committed to two positions a year and contributing $40,000.
English explained the plan is to use the structure previously located in Woss. The timeline to get things up and running has also been moved ahead.
“We would like to have a program running late this spring. I was originally thinking September,” said English, however, Western Forest Products felt there was no point trying to offer a training program during the winter months.
Towards this end, English said he will “try to put something together for late spring or after the summer fire break.
English also met with representative from TimberWest to review their harvesting plans for the North Island.
This plan proposes a harvest 200,000 cubic metres for 2017 in their North Island operation, the same as last year.
This meeting “provided an opportunity to brief TimberWest on our Forest Sector Workforce strategy,” said English.