The Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation handed out $120,000 to area community groups this year.
The community forest group hands money out to successful groups on an annual basis and the money each year depends on the profit the corporation made over the year as all profits are redistributed.
“The key objective of the program is to provide support for a broad range of projects and initiatives that will return the greatest long-term benefit to residents of the Bulkley Valley,” said Bruce Hutchinson, Communication and Community Engagement Coordinator for Wetzin’kwa.
In order for a community group to apply, they have to carry out their activities in either Moricetown, Smithers, Telkwa or surrounding Bulkley Valley area. The group also has to be a not-for-profit operation (charitable status is not required) and the individual grants can be no greater than $10,000.
The list of recipients this year ran the gamut of sports groups (including the Smithers Curling Club and the B.V. Otters) to community building projects. (Such as the Smithers Community Services Association and the B.V. Historical Museum Society.)
The benefits of funding to groups from Wetzin’kwa are quite tangible. The Chamber of Commerce received funding on behalf of the Downtown Gateway Committee in the amount of $9,875. Using money they received, they will develop the first phase of the Gateway Project which will eventually see the beautification of the intersection of Highway 16 and Main Street.
Two groups, the North West Guide Outfitters and B.V. Rod and Gun Club, along with the Smithers Mountain Bike Association, have been moved to the umbrella of the Wetzin’kwa stewardship program.
“The Stewardship ‘pot’ is for community projects that take place within the community forest lands,” said Hutchinson. “These works are done by community groups for the benefit of the community and they are in keeping with the general management objectives of the tenure.”
More information about their grants or the organization as a whole can be found online at www.wetzinkwa.ca.