The Gitxsan Development Corporation and Brinkman Forest Ltd. signed a partnership agreement to manage Gitxsan forests last week.
“Bringing in a professional like Brinkman allows us to get our forest management and therefore our logging operations going and of course from that we are able to springboard and execute the next phases of our business plan which is the establishment of a sawmill in the Hazeltons and we are looking at a pellet plant and bio-mass electricity plant,” said GDC president and CEO Rick Connors.
“We’ve got a good handle on things like silviculture, where the liabilities exist, where the wood is, how profitable it can be, the types of species, all those bits and pieces. We’ve got all that now because we’ve partnered with Brinkman. They’ve worked with us over the last number of years, we’ve decided to cement that relationship because they’ve done a good job in getting the baseline data for the forest operation.”
Connors said this partnership has already produced four full-time quality jobs.
“Brinkman was right away able to hire four young field technician trainees. They are being trained to be able to identify food species, volumes and cut blocks. They can move up the ranks in that position.
These are career jobs that we are being able to fill now for Gitxsan people, we are looking at hiring two more people for surveying so immediate jobs have been created,” he said.
“The prospect of creating lasting opportunities for Gitxsan members is very exciting and we honoured to be a part of it,” said Cathy Craig, president of Brinkman Forest in a press release from the GDC.
This partnership comes hot off the heels of an evacuation notice from the Gitxsan Treaty Society to all sport fisheries, the forest industry and CN Rail.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with us. We are operating within the Gitxsan laws and we respect the chiefs’ wills at all terms. In fact, we do not walk or enter into any traditional land without an understanding from the chiefs. We are owned by the chiefs so it only makes sense,” Connors said.