Western Forest Products (WFP) and Tla’amin Nation have announced that Thichum Forest Products, a company beneficially owned by Tla’amin, has negotiated a timber harvesting services contract in tree farm licence (TFL) 39 block 1, managed by WFP.
According to a media release, the contract supports the ongoing relationship between the two parties and builds on the renewal agreement WFP and Tla’amin signed last July, by demonstrating progress in advancing innovative and mutually beneficial activities in the Tla’amin territory. The incremental harvesting capacity provided by Thichum will also complement existing contractors working in TFL 39 block 1, according to the release.
“This harvesting contract is a symbol of the working relationship between Tla’amin and Western and the steps we are taking towards meaningful economic reconciliation within Tla’amin territory,” stated Tla’amin hegus John Hackett. “Establishing this agreement is due to the hard work and commitment from Tla’amin and Western to building relationships between first nations and tenure holders within their territories. This agreement is one of many initiatives Western and Tla’amin are working on to start 2022.”
The addition of Thichum to WFP’s contracting workforce is an important milestone in its relationship with the nation, according to the release. This contract will provide a meaningful contribution to the sustainable management of the TFL and support a strong local economy where everyone benefits, stated Shannon Janzen, WFP’s vice president of partnerships and sustainability, and the company’s chief forester.
“This opportunity highlights the value and potential for partnership development between Indigenous governments and private enterprise,” stated Andy Culos, Thichum general manager. “It gives the opportunity to have Tla’amin-owned companies operate within the traditional territory and implement their environmental, safety and cultural values. It will also allow for Thichum to reinvest economic returns towards the ultimate goal of building capacity, meaningful employment, and ownership opportunities within the nation.”
The release stated that Thichum, which means deep into the woods in ʔayʔaǰuθəm, the Tla’amin language, was established in 2007, and is a subsidiary of Tla’amin Management Services LP. Thichum is a first nation forestry company that focuses on the quadruple bottom line, being committed to cultural, environmental, social, and economic values equally, according to the release.
“Thichum is a welcome addition to our complement of local contractors,” stated Ken Mackenzie, operations manager for WFP. “They share our commitment to the highest safety, environmental and quality standards and practices, and Western is proud to support Thichum’s continued success as an Indigenous-owned and operated forestry business.”
WFP is an integrated forest products company building a margin-focused log and lumber business to compete successfully in global softwood markets, according to the release. With operations and employees located primarily on the coast of BC and Washington State, WFP is a premier supplier of high-value, specialty forest products to worldwide markets, the release stated, and has a lumber capacity in excess of one billion board feet from seven sawmills and four remanufacturing facilities.
The company sources timber from its private lands, long-term licenses, first nations arrangements, and market purchases.