The District of Sechelt will set up a Sunshine Coast Community Forest legacy reserve fund meant to benefit community projects throughout the Sunshine Coast, council decided at their Jan. 8 committee of the whole meeting.
Coun. Darnelda Siegers touted the move as “an amazing opportunity for the District of Sechelt,” adding it was also “a way for the community forest to give back to not only the District, but the region.”
The fund would be made up of any “monies considered surplus to the operations of the community forest,” and it couldn’t be used for “routine District [of Sechelt] operational expenses or capital expenditures,” the draft bylaw stated.
“It’s long been an issue in the community that the community wasn’t benefiting from the loss of merchantable timber, and by doing this the legacy fund can look at things that complement the whole of the Sunshine Coast, not just Sechelt, and take away some of that anger that’s in the community,” said Coun. Alice Lutes.
While all were in favour of setting up the fund, some questioned how it would be fairly awarded to applicants from outside the District of Sechelt.
Mayor John Henderson noted that question such as how the District would process applications from outside Sechelt were “some of the finer points that need to be resolved.”
“The intention here is to celebrate, after a lot of hard work by a lot of people, the success of the community forest, and we all want those funds to be reinvested into the community to make Sechelt and the Coast even better,” Henderson said.
All agreed the reserve fund’s proposed “evaluation criteria for community projects” wasn’t specific enough, so they sent it back to staff for reworking.
The bylaw with the reworded criteria should come back to the Jan. 15 council meeting for first reading.