Wetzin’kwa Community Forest gives out $350K in annual grants

Profits from the community forest tenure go back to community

The crew from Cycle 16 picks up their money from the Wetzin’kwa community forest. (Contributed photo)

The crew from Cycle 16 picks up their money from the Wetzin’kwa community forest. (Contributed photo)

The Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation has once again handed out money to community programs.

The profits from the community forest tenure are distributed annually to a broad range of projects that will return the greatest long term benefit to Bulkley Valley residents.

This year over $350,000 was distributed.

The program has been around since 2007 and in the past 15 years they have given out more than $2 million.

The Northwest Animal Shelter was one group to get some funds. Shelter director Sara Tomlinson said they used some of the money to construct a roof over the outdoor portion of their kennel runs and towards an ongoing project.

“The 2022 grant is actually a continuation of a project to bring a supply of water to our dog kennel building, which will require a small renovation to make room for a sink and counter. For several years we have hauled buckets of water to the kennel, which can be quite treacherous in the winter when it’s icy outside. The completion of this project will certainly make life easier for our volunteers and animal caretakers,” she added.

“We very much appreciate the support the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corp has given groups like ours over the years, and the very real difference they have made in our community by funding such projects.”

Another beneficiary was The Grendel Group. They received $13,486.25.

“We will use the money to improve our water security – adding gutters to our greenhouses and rain barrels so that we can collect rainwater in order to water our garden,” said executive director Brie McAloney. “The project would not be possible without Wetzin’kwa funding.”

The Bulkley Valley Museum also received $6,478 to build two touchscreen media kiosks that will be used to display video and audio recordings for an exhibition they are developing that is based on the research of the Shared Histories book project. They are working with the committee to develop that exhibit. Part of the funding will also be used for translation of some exhibit content into Witsuwit’en language.

Meanwhile, the Smithers Art Gallery received $12,000 to hire a full time Community Engagement and Communications Coordinator.

“This position will ensure the continued growth of visual arts education and programming in our community, last year the Community Engagement Coordinator increased programming by 172%. Without this funding we would not be able to have a full time staff person in this role. The rest of the funding for this position comes from a BC Arts Council Resiliency Grant and BC Gaming Funding,” said gallery manager Nicole Chernish.

The Skeena Knowledge Trust also got some funding, $7,742.50 to be exact. That money will be used for their project Advancing Watershed Stewardship in the Bulkley River Watershed.

“Our activities for this project will include organizing several community workshops with an aquatic ecologist from the BC Lake Stewardship Society where residents will be able to learn about the ecology of local lakes, continuing to support our Water Rangers community water quality testing program, and providing data management support to the Seymour Lake Conservation Society, Lake Kathlyn Conservation Society, and Tyhee Lake Protection Society,” explained Information Specialist Lizzy Hoffman. She added the funding was essential to this project going ahead.

An event was held on Saturday at the Rotary Park to give out the cheques.

It was the first time in two years they were able to that in person.


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