Ian Penninga of Smithers is a former recipient of a COFI forestry scholarship. Penninga studied wood product processing at the University of British Columbia. (File photo)

Ian Penninga of Smithers is a former recipient of a COFI forestry scholarship. Penninga studied wood product processing at the University of British Columbia. (File photo)

News briefs

Forestry scholarships, homeless count, ski hill closure and COVID vaccination schedule

FORESTRY SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

The B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is now accepting applications for its 2021 forestry scholarship program.

The organization will be handing out 13 $2,000 scholarships including three Indigenous Forestry Scholarships in partnership with the New Relationship Trust Foundation (NRTF).

“We are also excited to be partnering with the New Relationship Trust Foundation to support Indigenous students interested in pursuing future employment in forestry and as we look to further increase the participation of Indigenous people and communities in our sector,” said Susan Yurkovich, COFI president and CEO.

Students pursuing post-secondary education or training in a skilled trades program associated with the forest industry are eligible to apply until June 4.

Eligibility and application requirements are outlined at cofi.org for the regular scholarships and at nrtf.ca for the Indigenous scholarships

SKI HILL SEASON END

Last weekend was the final one of the season for skiing on Hudson Bay Mountain (HBM). April 11 was the official last day of the season.

The season finale Schnai Day event went ahead with modifications due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It definitely wasn’t the same as other years, but we had a costume contest with great prizes from our sponsors and an awesome turnout,” said Lex Rei-Jones HBM manager.

Although officially closed, weather permitting, the company will run the Panorama T-bar on April 17, 18, 24 and 25.

HOMELESS COUNT

The Homelessness Services Association of BC’s (HSABC) annual Homeless Count will be taking place this year after being cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19.

In Smithers the count will be managed by the Bulkley Valley Social Planning Society and take place April 15. The count takes the form of a survey that will be conducted in two ways.

First, there will be three drop-in sites, where people experiencing homelessness can go to fill out the surveys. These are Positive Living North, the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre and Turning points Northwest.

Outreach workers will also be walking the streets and conducting surveys with people in place.

LOCAL VACCINATION SCHEDULE

Northern Health’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is rapidly accelerating.

For Smithers as of April 12, the vaccine line is now accepting calls for all community members born in 1966 or before (55 years old).

Additionally, all Indigenous people 18-plus in the North are now eligible to schedule an appointment as are adult community members in all but the largest of towns.

In the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, all residents of Houston, Granisle, Topley, Burns Lake, Southside and the rural areas around these centres are all now eligible.

Only Smithers (including Telkwa) is still on the age-based schedule.

Adults in the neighbouring Hazeltons are also now able to call for an appointment.