The District of Sechelt will not be receiving a dividend this year from Sunshine Coast Community Forest, (SCCF) which lost almost $170,000 in 2011.
“2011 was a tough year,” said SCCF chair Glen Bonderud at the organization’s April 23 annual general meeting. “We lost money. We did not log our total volumes.”
Last year saw the community forest generate revenues of just under $550,000 or 29 per cent of its 2010 intake.
SCCF slashed their expenses by $77,311 this year, but could not match 2010’s income of $151,538.
“I think all of you who watch the financial news, it’s not very good information anywhere around the world,” Bonderud said.
In May 2011, the SCCF made the decision to defer harvesting in East Wilson Creek until an assessment could be completed in the area.
The result was that harvesting in 2011, originally planned to be in the neighbourhood of 20,000 cubic metres, was only about a quarter of that.
“The Sunshine Coast is our community. As such, we felt the watershed assessment was the right decision, even knowing there would be financial consequences,” read Bonderud’s message from the chair.
According to Sechelt Mayor John Henderson, the District reaped a dividend of $25,890 in 2010. This year, a dividend will not be forthcoming due to the SCCF’s loss. But like Bonderud, Henderson remains optimistic for 2012.
“The good news about that kind of business: the forest is still there,” Henderson said.”
That optimism was also expressed by SCCF operations manager Dave Lasser when he reported that a delay allowed for more focus on planning and engineering during 2011.
While delaying the harvest of two cutblocks left a worrisome figure on the organization’s bottom line, SCCF was able to make a more thorough assessment in Wilson Creek, Lasser said.
The year was also an opportunity to explore ways to use light detection and ranging (LiDAR) “in better managing our tenure and conducting our business.”
Able to detect ground depressions as shallow as 10cm, LiDAR technology could play a vital role in reducing the organization’s planning costs, according to Lasser.
He added that in November, SCCF relocated to a smaller, less expensive office to reduce costs.
The annual general meeting was also the opportunity for the SCCF to celebrate the work of one of its own. Presi-dent and vice-chair Bob Sitter announced his retirement and was recognized for his contributions at the AGM.
“I leave with this very good feeling that this has been a job that’s been well done, this is an organization to be proud of,” he said.