Realizing Community Goals Through Forestry Partnerships
In 2007, Tla’amin Nation, which operates Thichum Forest Products, and Goat Lake formed a 50/50 joint-venture – Tla’amin Lake Contracting – for logging on Tla’amin territory. Goat Lake’s good reputation as loggers on the Sunshine Coast was a plus for Tla’amin who, as stewards of their land, believe in respectful and sustainable management of natural resources.
Like many First Nations communities in B.C., Tla’amin were looking for ways to grow their economy to build a strong community. The Nation has forest licences but lacked experience and access to the necessary equipment for logging. With shared values and a common interest in forest resources, a partnership with Goat Lake was a natural fit: Tla’amin had access to wood volume, while Goat Lake had years of experience as an established logging company.
The partnership has paved the way for Tla’amin to grow their business and contribute to the Nation’s local economy. Over time, Tla’amin has used profits to purchase their own heavy equipment, including one skidder and four log loaders, and they have diversified the business, which now includes a log dump.
Profits aside, the partnership is helping the Nation realize community goals. Both partners value training and Tla’amin Lake Contracting is constantly creating opportunities to train community members in various forestry jobs. Since many forestry positions require technical skills and experience, First Nations often struggle to get their foot in the door if they lack these skills. There are also challenges for the industry in maintaining a pool of skilled workers. By investing in community training, Tla’amin Lake Contracting is not only ensuring a local skilled workforce but they are also ensuring employment opportunities for the Nation.
Tla’amin Lake Contracting shows how both Tla’amin and Goat Lake can benefit by working together. In addition to the economic gains, the partnership is helping the Nation build a stronger, resilient community and enabling them to take an active stewardship role over forest lands on their territory.