The City of Quesnel is inviting the community to an open house in the newly constructed Forestry Innovation Centre at City Hall Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Centre, which officially opened Sept. 18, is a flexible work environment designed to foster innovation and collaboration. It houses the City’s Forestry Initiatives Program, as well as showcases locally-made structural and finishing wood products, local artisan furniture and art installations. There is also an interpretive centre that explains landscape-level management, fuel management and the future of forestry.
The Forestry Innovation Centre won a Wood Works Award, which recognizes the support of the B.C. wood industry.
As the Centre is an active working space, it is not open to the public daily. Open houses are scheduled periodically to give the public a chance to visit and learn about the City’s forestry initiatives.
Fuel management is a big part of the Forestry Initiatives Program’s work, and Forestry Initiatives Program manager Erin Robinson provided an update to council on Oct. 22 that noted the City is working with partners for fuel treatment on 59 hectares of land this fall as part of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
The City is currently fuel managing the airport lands, 10 Mile Lake Provincial Park and Dragon Mountain communication towers.
The City is also collaborating with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) on fuel treating Milburn Mountain communications towers and the Marsh Road subdivision.
As well, the City is developing assessments and prescriptions on an additional 512 hectares for fuel treatment. Prescriptions are being developed for Pinnacles Provincial Park, South Hills Range Land (Gassoffs Range), Sugar Loaf Park, Dragon Mountain Road, West Fraser Road, Garner Road and Claymine Trails.
On the airport lands, the City of Quesnel Forestry Initiatives Program is collaborating with FP Innovations on a research project to study fuel loading, machinery and harvesting methods, and contributing to the fuel management community of practice. The University of British Columbia will use the area for PhD students to study fuel management, according to Robinson.
“We will continue advancing as many research, training and education opportunities as possible to position Quesnel as a centre of excellence in fuel management and alternate forestry and land management practices,” Robinson noted in her report to council.
The Forestry Initiatives Program has also carried out 14 FireSmart property assessments on private lands, as well as an assessment of City-owned buildings and landscaping. The City also convened four FireSmart Community Champion workshops and a Wildfire Preparedness Day on June 8, and attended four farmer’s markets with B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS).
This fall, the City also hosted a Future of Forestry Think Tank Human Resources Session Sept. 19 and 20, bringing together 60 participants to discuss human resources in forestry. Through that discussion, the City is working with the College of New Caledonia and BCWS on a fuel management training opportunity for spring 2020, and the City is also working with Genome BC, FLNRORD and the Quesnel School District to determine curriculum-based forestry education opportunities, both in class and at the Forestry Innovation Centre.
On Nov. 16, the Forestry Innovation Centre will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and visitors will have a chance to explore the centre and speak with staff about forestry initiatives.
The Forestry Innovation Centre is located at City Hall at 210-410 Kinchant St., and outside access is via Kinchant Street.
To learn more about the Forestry Initiatives Program, visit quesnel.ca/forestry.