Our municipal forest is entirely self funded with no cost to the taxpayers of North Cowichan. In fact, this wisely managed asset has brought funds into North Cowichan's general revenues.
The mandate for the Forestry program, set by Council in 1981 is:
"Forestry management expenditures and operational costs will be financed entirely through the cumulative revenues generated by sales of the forest resources."
Profits from this program have contributed over $ 1.3 million to general revenues since 1987.
The average profit from 1987 to 2010 was over $ 90,000 a year. A total of $2,192,200 over 24 years!
Also during this time, this program has accessed over $ 10 million dollars from Federal and Provincial grants to various job creation programs on the Municipal Forest Land base.
The forestry staff facilitates educational opportunities through local public schools, private schools and post secondary schools.
On top of all this, our beautiful municipal forest reserve gives us back in hiking and biking, hang gliding, nature watching, horseback riding, cutting of firewood and harvesting of mushrooms and other vegetation.
I have been really proud of our municipality and its forward thinking in establishing our Municipal Forest Reserve which helps us to take care of our forests on a long-term sustainable basis.
Its seems to be so easy for members of the public to be critical of government. Sometimes its deserved, but sometimes its totally misplaced.
I encourage all of you to investigate what North Cowichan -- your home --has to offer.
The most amazing thing of all is that North Cowichan has been offering so much for so many years with one of the lowest tax rates in its class in the whole province.
If you're interested in learning more about the municipal finances, come out to the next budget session set at Municipal Hall, Monday, February 6th from 6 pm to 9 pm.