The provincial Minister of Forest and Range said he supports the idea of a woodlot for Alberni District Secondary School.
Cherry Creek regional district director Glenn Wong approached the minister on the subject last week at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
“This would be through the school district as part of our project-based learning program,” Wong said, adding that the proposal has been in the works for several years.
“I started at 5,000 cubic metres,” he added.
Wong said the project-based learning program puts Grade 9s into the field, working in areas like forestry and salmon enhancement as part of their curriculum.
“The minister has been here and has seen [project-based learning] at work,” Wong said, adding that the plan would be to tie any school district forest tenure to the Alberni Valley Community Forest.
“I submitted the proposal three years ago, and it’s been moving along very slowly, but I’m very encouraged,” district career education co-ordinator Brian Laviolette said.
On Thursday, Bell said he has been very impressed with ADSS instructor Ryan Dvorak, who runs the program.
“He has approached me on a couple of occasions to consider a woodlot that would help the school and do a number of things, including getting young people interested in forestry and doing some initial training,” Bell said, adding that the program would also generate income for the school district. “It’s not entirely a new concept. Mackenzie Secondary School has a woodlot, and I’ve seen the benefits, because it’s in my constituency.”
Bell said the biggest challenge would be finding new timber that could be allocated to the school district. The Alberni Valley Community Forest has been allocated about 18,000 cubic metres of timber, about 4,000 cubic metres short of what the committee applied for.