The Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) recently released the salaries of employees who earned over $75,000 in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The two positions that earned over $75,000 include the operations manager, who earned $115,937, and the operations supervisor, who earned $88,910.
Lakes District News had been asking the BLCF for this information for several weeks.
A few years ago, Lakes District News filed a freedom of information request in order to obtain information about wages from BLCF and this information was granted to the newspaper.
On Aug. 8, 2016, the BLCF told Lakes District News that the requested information wouldn’t be released this year, so Lakes District News gave them a three-week deadline.
In a letter to Lakes District News dated Aug. 22, Comfor’s general manager Frank Varga said the BLCF was releasing this information “voluntarily.”
“While we still believe, for reasons our legal counsel and auditors have provided that Comfor and its subsidiaries are not subject to the release of said information, we are releasing this information to you as part of ongoing efforts to operate as transparently as possible,” said Varga.
According to the BLCF’s latest consolidated financial statement, administrative expenses totalled $381,317. These include wages and benefits expenses of $173,052; directors’ fees of $43,749; accounting expenses of $31,234; office expenses of $23,885; automotive expenses of $14,850; telephone expenses of $8004; as well as travel and meal expenses of $3335.
The wages and benefits expenses increased from $157,203 in 2014 to $173,052 in 2015. The directors’ fees increased from $39,165 in 2014 to $43,749 in 2015. Varga said the reason for these increases was to meet new labour market demands.
From Nov. 1, 2014, to Oct. 31, 2015, the BLCF donated $282,570 to local organizations. Donations included $68,000 to the Lakes Outdoor Recreation Society; $37,000 to the Burns Lake Search and Rescue; $20,000 to the Lakes District Family Enhancement Society; $20,000 to Francois Lake Elementary School; $20,000 to Decker Lake Elementary School; and $15,000 to the Omineca Ski Club.
During the same period, the BLCF’s stakeholders – Village of Burns Lake, Burns Lake Band and Wet’suwet’en First Nation – received approximately $220,000 each.
The BLCF provided 59,537 hours of direct employment, which adds up to 32 full-time jobs, in the 2014/15 financial year.
Total revenue was approximately $6.1 million, and profit for the year after community donations and stakeholder distributions was $388,905.
Since 2009, community donations hadn’t exceed the $100,000 mark. In fact, in 2009 and in 2013, the BLCF donated close to $0 to community organizations. According to Ron Zayac, Comfor’s former vice-president, increasing community donations was one of the goals of the previous board of directors.