The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-op’s Bruce Ingram will be one of a committee of five who will decide where this year’s earning will be spent in the community. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette file)

Cowichan Lake Forest Co-op ready to share $500K: apply now

The new partnership has been logging, and that means the earnings are there to hand out as grants

The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative has now reached the stage where it can start handing out money to community groups.

The Co-op board has established a fund to benefit communities from Paldi to Nitinat Lake.

Funds are available for various grants and aid under these categories: parks and recreation; community recreation; club sponsorship; and educational bursaries/scholarships.

Anyone interested in applying can pick up a form at the counter at Cowichan Lake Community Services at 121 Point Ideal Rd. in Lake Cowichan.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 15 and all applications will be considered and decisions made by the committee by October.

The idea was first mooted at a Lake Cowichan council meeting earlier this year when the Co-op’s Bruce Ingram explained that “The CLCFC, the Pacheedaht First Nation, and the provincial government are now working together, after years of negotiation, operating the Qala:yit Community Forest: 8,000 hectares of land with an annual allowable cut of 31,498 cubic metres.”

Ingram is enthusiastic about what’s coming for his community.

“There are significant funds. We are not going to pretend that we’ve got millions and millions, but we’ve a 20-year cut so we’re going to be doing this over a 20-year period, until guys like Ian [Morrison, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District board] get us another 20-year period.

“All of the policies are going to be in the packet: how you’re going to be able and what you’re going to be able to do to receive funds from the forest co-op,” he said.

And so it has proved.

Lake Cowichan Coun. Tim McGonigle said the Co-op no longer is involved in the business of planning the logging, it just picks up the cheque when it’s done. And that first-ever cheque from the new partnership this year is $500,000.

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