Temagami forest management corp. gets approved

·3 min read

By Jamie Mountain

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

DISTRICT – The Temagami Local Forest Management Corporation has received the green light to forge ahead.

City of Temiskaming Shores Mayor Carman Kidd told council at their regular meeting on December 15 that he had received a letter that morning from Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Minister John Yakabuski that the corporation had been approved, which he said “had been a struggle” for the last seven years.

“We’ve had ups and downs over the last seven years. We didn’t even know, as of about October, if it was going to fall apart or not,” Kidd said at council.

“This (proposal) has gone through and everyone has signed letters of support, from all different groups, and the ministry has now signed off.”

The Temagami Advisory Team sent the proposal to the MNRF which was looking to establish Ontario’s second local forest management corporation to manage the Temagami Forest Unit and to market and sell Crown forest resources from the unit.

The advisory team is comprised of local citizens representing Temagami First Nation, the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, Matachewan First Nation, Timiskaming First Nation, City of Temiskaming Shores, Municipality of Temagami, Town of Latchford, James Township, Georgia Pacific, EACOM, Goulard Lumber and Alex Welch Logging.

Local forest management corporations bring together municipal and Indigenous communities and industry to steward the sustainable harvesting and management of local forests.

The corporations hold sustainable forest licences and market, sell and enable access to a predictable and competitively priced supply of Crown forest resources.

They also provide employment and economic development opportunities.

“This is quite a deal that we’ve actually worked out,” said Kidd.

“This has got the four Indigenous communities onside as well, they’ve been quite involved in this whole process, as well as the three to four major industry partners, EACOM, Georgia-Pacific and Goulard Lumber and some of our local smaller mills - South Wabi Sawmill. That’s going to keep these industries going for the next 15 to 20 years.”

Kidd feels as though the corporation will “allow the local people, both Indigenous and the people of Temagami, to develop other value-added industries.

“That’s something the First Nations are really looking at,” he noted.

“They’ve been sort of cut out of the whole process for many years with some of the major companies taking all the wood supply out of there, but this will allow them to actually develop their own companies and market some of that wood as well.”

Temagami Mayor Dan O’Mara commented in an email to The Speaker that with the recent provincial approval for the corporation, work will be needed to get the new organization up and running.

“A lot of work, by a number of people, has been put towards this over the last seven years and we will be entering a new approach to how the local Temagami Forest is managed.”

The local corporation will be governed by a board of directors appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario through an established public appointments process.

The board will oversee the work of the corporation, including the selection of the general manager, the development of the strategic plan, oversight of the agency’s reporting requirements and overall management of the forest.

The Temagami Advisory Team has recommended that the board contain six reserved seats, consisting of two for the local First Nations (one specifically for Temagami First Nation), two for communities (one specifically for the Municipality of Temagami) and two for the forest industry.

The initial municipal representation nominated for the board, subject to confirmation from the Provincial Appointments Secretariat, are Jeff Barton for Latchford, Elk Lake and Temiskaming Shores and John Kenrick for Temagami.

The corporation is proposed to be established in late 2020 or early 2021 and could take approximately 12-18 months to become operational.

It is also hoped that the new company will be operating under a Sustainable Forest Licence by April 1, 2022.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker