Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 01 October 2008 – TimberWest has filed a development proposal with the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) for its “headquarters” property in the Comox Valley that offers a number of potential local and regional benefits.
“We believe there are better agricultural uses for this land than harvesting trees,” said John Hendry, vice president, TimberWest Real Estate. “And we think that by working with area residents, local officials, and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), we can come up with a concept that can enhance agriculture and offer potential community amenities.”
The 166-hectare headquarters property is located just off the Dove Creek interchange of the Island Highway. The property – most of which has recently been logged – is currently zoned for forestry use but is also within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
TimberWest is proposing a type of development that it thinks is consistent with that designation and which reflects the preliminary input from a number of adjacent property owners.
“We have already talked informally with our neighbours to get their initial views and heard about land use interests that range from the One Stop Trail to the riparian areas along the Tsolum River and the potential heritage nature of the old mill site,” Hendry said. “Our proposal tries to reflect that feedback, as well as more general comments about the need for safe public access and to ensure that any development “fits in” with the surroundings.”
The potential for enhanced agricultural use is another important opportunity identified by TimberWest.
“Right now, there is no agricultural activity occurring on these lands,” said Hendry. “We think there are ways to develop this land that are consistent with the agricultural use and activity that now occurs in the surrounding area and on much of Vancouver Island. And those ideas have been included in our proposal.”
In addition to preliminary input from surrounding property owners, TimberWest has also had discussions with staff from the CVRD and ALC to get their feedback and – in particular – confirm the formal processes required with both of them. As part of those discussions, TimberWest has stressed that this proposal is one it expects will be refined based on the comments and input it receives during the formal regulatory process.
“We very much view our proposal as a “first step” in putting together what a potential development might look like,” added Hendry. “We look forward to the input from the CVRD, ALC, and local residents so we can ensure that the end result provides the broadest possible benefits.”
As a start to this formal process, TimberWest will be hosting an open house to show preliminary concepts and hear peoples’ initial views on 09 October, from 4–7 p.m. at the Merville Community Hall. “Our project staff will be there to help explain what we are proposing, answer questions and – most importantly – get feedback that will help us refine things even further,” Hendry said.
TimberWest Forest Corp. is uniquely positioned as Western Canada’s largest private land management company. The company owns in fee simple approximately 322,000 hectares or 796,000 acres of private land, including 75 kilometers of waterfront, that over the previous five calendar years have provided an annual average timber harvest of 2.565 million m3 of logs and have an approximate annual growth rate of 8.0 m3 per hectare per year on the productive land base.
These lands are located on Vancouver Island and the majority of the land base supports the growth of Douglas fir, a premium tree species sought after for structural purposes. TimberWest runs fully contracted harvesting operations. With almost 80% of the company’s annual private land logging now being done in second-growth stands, TimberWest leads the Coastal industry in the growing and harvesting of second-growth timber. TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m3 of logs per year.
The company operated a sawmill located near Campbell River, British Columbia, until 09 May 2008.
In addition, approximately 54,000 hectares, or 134,000 acres (approximately 17% of the company’s landholdings) of the company’s lands have been identified as having greater value as real estate properties and progressively will be made available for higher uses over the next 10-15 years. Five land classifications have been developed for the company’s 9000 acres of core development lands. An additional 41,000 acres adjacent to the core development lands have yet to be classified for specific development opportunities, and some 54,000 acres of non-core higher and better use lands will be sold as is over time with little additional planning or zoning work undertaken. The company reviews its land base on a periodic basis to update the size of its portfolio of higher use properties.
The company’s independent auditor, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., periodically certifies that the forest management practices on both the company’s private and public timberlands continue to meet all Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) requirements. SFI requirements specify that forest harvesting is integrated with environmental and conservation goals for soil, wildlife, water quality protection, conservation of biodiversity, protection of special sites and aesthetics in a manner that ensures a sustainable harvest over the long-term.
Web site: www.timberwest.com