Community forest forum planned

No board meeting has been scheduled until the new year.

ComFor Management Services Ltd. (CMSL) president Quinten Beach.

In response to an inquiry by the Lakes District News, a statement has been issued by ComFor Management Services Ltd. (CMSL) president Quinten Beach on behalf of the board of directors of CMSL.  There has not been a public meeting of the board since May, 2012.

On June 21, 2012 CMSL released general manager Dawn Stronstad and CMSL executive assistant Michael Riis-Christianson.  It was announced to be part of restructuring that, according to Beach, “begins the process of getting the Burns Lake Community Forest back to [its] initial vision.”  The last communication the board has made with the public was a press release outlining the sale of Sheraton Holdings to Tahtsa Timber on Sept. 13, 2012.

How did the CMSL determine the value of Sheraton Holdings before selling it to Tahtsa Timber?

“The board had reasonable information regarding the value of the plant from the initial purchase compared to the price the equipment would fetch at auction.  A credible offer was made by a local business that was committed to providing local jobs at a local processing facility.  The Board accepted the offer after careful consideration and deliberation.”

When will a public meeting be held to get community input on the management of the community forest?

“CMSL will be hosting a Community Forest Forum before the end of 2012.  This forum will consist of presentations from community forests in the surrounding region and will outline a number of different models of governance, operations and profit-sharing.  The public will be invited to attend this session and information will be forthcoming regarding dates and times of this meeting.”

When will the board of directors seek public input regarding the restructuring of ComFor?

“Within this [Community Forest] forum the board is seeking information regarding potential options for reorganizing the group of companies.  Once options have been fully developed they will be presented in a public forum for comment.  Following this a final decision will be made by the board.”

CMSL hasn’t released regular minutes of the board of directors since Feb. 22, 2011.  When will regular minutes with in camera resolutions of the board be released?

“Due to the sensitive nature of most of the issues the board has been dealing with lately, all of the past meetings have been held in-camera.  As such there are no publicly available minutes.”

CMSL’s own policy statement describes itself as ‘owned by and accountable to’ the residents of the Lakes District, how does the board justify the lack of public meetings?

No response.

Where is the board with its restructuring?

“The board continues to review operations with an aim at streamlining.  ComFor has not contracted any consulting firm to assist with the restructuring process.  We have acquired legal and accounting advice and do retain the services of a small team of consultants who manage the day-to-day operations of the Community Forest.  The operations review process is a board led undertaking and only minimally involves the interim management team.”

The current management team has previously been identified as John Grace (JAG Accounting) to provide financial services.  Helene Loetscher is providing administrative services.  Melissa Steidle of DWB Consulting Services Ltd. is providing forestry services, and Ron Zayac of Tech North Solutions is providing management consulting and technology services.  These postings are all identified as interim.

The current board of directors is made up of, councillor Quinten Beach representing the Village of Burns Lake, Rosanne Murray, secretary, representing the public at large, Wesley Sam, director, representing the Burns Lake Band, Reg Ogen, representing the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.  There are three alternate directors; Chief Albert Gerow, Chief Karen Ogen, and David Dewitt.


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