Western Forest Products sells ownership interest to Huu-ay-aht First Nations
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
December 14, 2018 – Western Forest Products will sell a seven per cent interest in its Port Alberni forest operation to Huu-ay-aht First Nations in a newly formed limited partnership for $7.2 million.
The assets of the limited partnership will consist of certain Western assets in its Port Alberni Forest Operation, including TFL 44 and other associated assets and liabilities.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 following approval from the province of BC and the Huu-ay-aht People’s Assembly. Also, Western may sell Huu-ay-aht an incremental interest in the limited partnership subject to further negotiation.
The announcement backs the goals of the parties’ March 2018 Reconciliation Protocol Agreement. Western will continue to source fibre from the limited partnership assets to support its B.C. manufacturing facilities.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step towards increasing First Nations participation in the forest sector, which will benefit the Nation, local communities, Western, and our employees,” says Don Demens, Western’s president and CEO.
“We are excited with today’s announcement and look forward to continuing to explore opportunities with Western, including aligning our interests in manufacturing and potentially involving other First Nations in a shared vision for forestry over the next several years,” says Robert J. Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht chief councillor.
The shared vision of Huu-ay-aht and Western includes a framework for reconciliation and revitalization of the Alberni Valley forest sector. The framework includes opportunities for increased participation of area First Nations through tenure ownership, employment and business opportunities, sustained domestic manufacturing, increased training, effective marketing and value-added product innovation, and strong environmental stewardship.