Following the suggestion of committee members, councillor Michael Riis-Christianson recommended that council amend the committee’s terms of reference to offer seats to all First Nations in the area.
This amendment alters the membership section of the terms of reference.
“The committee shall consist of two members of council, and one representative each from the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, Lake Babine Nation, Burns Lake Band, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Skin Tyee Nation, Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Nee Tahi Buhn Band, and up to six members of the public with expertise in one or more of the following sectors: forestry, small business, tourism, education, social services, agriculture, technology and marketing,” reads the updated terms of reference.
The current members of the public are Jason Llewellyn, Clayton Wainwright, Steven Burkholder, Rachelle van Zanten, Chantal Tom and Raeanne O’Meara.
Also in the committee are Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach, councillor Riis-Christianson, RDBN representative Bill Miller, Burns Lake Band representative Helen Cunningham and Lake Babine Nation representative Pauline Goertzen.
The committee, which held its first meeting in November 2017, hopes to provide council with a comprehensive strategy before Sept. 30, 2018. The strategy would include concrete actions and tangible projects designed to diversify the local economy.
The committee plans to examine a full range of actions and projects local governments can undertake to reduce the impact of declining timber supply while engaging the community in discussions about how these impacts might be lessened.
In addition, the committee plans to promote public education on the impact a declining timber supply may have on the economic and social fabric of the Lakes District. Anticipated reductions in the district’s annual allowable cut represent a significant threat to the economy of the Lakes District, which is heavily dependent on the forest industry.
All members of council and village staff are ex officio members of the committee. As such, they may participate in debates of the committee, but may not make motions and do not have voting rights. Decisions and recommendations of the committee will be approved based on majority vote of those members in attendance.
Earlier this year the Village of Burns Lake secured over $115,000 from grants and its own funds to develop this project.