Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 16 May 2011 -- TimberWest Forest Corporation (TSX: TWF.UN) today commented on matters raised by the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group regarding the proposed purchase of TimberWest’s stapled units by two leading Canadian pension funds.
The proposed purchase was disclosed on 11 April 2011.The company confirmed it is aware of the existence of various First Nations claims against the Canadian and British Columbia governments for aboriginal rights and title relating to lands on Vancouver Island. TimberWest also confirmed that, as part of its sales process, it has made potential buyers aware that treaty processes and consultations are ongoing with the Canadian and British Columbia governments regarding traditional territories, which overlap with fee simple private lands owned by TimberWest.
While it is not a party to these claims and treaty processes, TimberWest said they have been fully disclosed by TimberWest to the two Canadian pension funds and other potential buyers. TimberWest added that it has fulfilled, and will continue to fulfill, all legal obligations required to effect the transfer of ownership of its stapled units. TimberWest believes the potential purchase of its stapled units will have no impact on the remedies that may be available to the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group with regard to its claims.
Regarding forestry practices, TimberWest’s managed forest lands are regulated under the Private Managed Forest Land Act and regulations and other provincial and federal legislation including the Fisheries Act, Environmental Management Act, and Drinking Water Protection Act. TimberWest said it manages its assets for long-term sustainability to assure a steady and continuing flow of high quality timber and cooperation with its neighboring communities. Protection of biodiversity is a key element of sustainable forest management and TimberWest continually strives to improve efforts to sustain key habitat for plants and wildlife. This commitment is not only part of delivering on its social and environmental license to operate, it meets the increasing market demand for products from timberlands that have been independently certified as having high standards of environmental management. Since the year 2000, TimberWest has maintained third-party certification of its environmental management system under ISO 14001 and has maintained the sustainability of its harvesting practices on private lands under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard.
TimberWest said it values its relationships with its First Nations neighbors, respects the right of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group to pursue its claims, and hopes that the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group and the Canadian and British Columbia governments soon reach a conclusion in their negotiations on these matters.
TimberWest is uniquely positioned as western Canada’s largest private timber and land management company. The company owns in fee simple approximately 327,000 hectares or 808,000 acres of private land and is in the business of selling timber products and real estate.