Industrial Update 2022
TsiDelDel Enterprises doing fire salvage at Hanceville timber in the summer of 2021. (P. Theriault photo)
The Nenqayni Deni “First Nations People” of Tŝideldel (Redstone) are part of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation. The community is approximately 177 kilometres west of Williams Lake on Highway 20. The community has about 750 members, with half of them residing in the community.
Despite its small size, Tŝideldel First Nation is an ambitious and entrepreneurial community providing direct employment to close to 200 people through various endeavours.
The largest, Tsi Del Del Enterprises Ltd. is a joint venture company equally owned by the Tŝideldel First Nation and Tolko Industries Ltd. The company has operated since 1992 and has been successful in creating employment and business opportunities for Tsi Del Del First Nation members, other Tŝilhqot’in people and local, non-native people of the area, currently supporting 100 jobs.
Clayton Charleyboy, councillor and director at Tsi Del Del Enterprises, said the company trains residents, many of them starting out with no previous forestry experience, and that many employees have been with the company since the early days. Tsi Del Del Enterprises contributes to other arms of the business, including transportation and biomass, and altogether, leads to about 100 jobs. They have also established an education trust fund which supports community members accessing short-term programs not covered through the Tŝideldel education department.
Charleyboy notes another long-standing business, the Redstone Gas Bar, has been providing steady employment and entry-level work opportunities for youth.
“To diversify its economy, the community has purchased Barney’s Lakeside Resort and Bendziny (formerly Kokanee Bay Resort) on Puntzi Lake. Tourism has been identified in the Comprehensive Community Plan as a way to provide sustainable economic opportunities for the future.”
Forestry-related ventures also includes Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. (CCR) which is a joint venture company between Tŝideldel First Nation and Tl’etinqox Government, focusing on coordinating and implementing large-scale programs and forest initiatives within their traditional territories. CCR provides an additional 50 jobs.
“We’re really focused on fostering collaboration with different entities and assisting our neighbours in looking after their First Nation Forest licenses,” said Percy Guichon, Councillor and Director at both Tsi Del Del Enterprises and CCR. “We have a symbiotic relationship with other First Nations. Everyone has a skill set—some have wildfire experience and others have logging experience and capacity. By working together, we can broaden our scope and be successful together.”
Partners and contributors include all the Tŝilhqot’in communities, Tatla Resource Association, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), DroneSeed, Shell Canada, and the Williams Lake First Nation.
Through CCR and Tsi Del Del Enterprises, Tŝideldel First Nation focuses on stewarding the land responsibly and in a way that provides benefits today and supports future generations.
“We’re the stewards of the land and it’s our responsibility to ensure sustainable land management in the traditional territory,” said Guichon. “We have an obligation to protect and manage wildlife, water, forests and all natural resources through our projects.”
Guichon said the main difference in their approach to forest management is the fact the community lives right in the middle of the land they are managing.
“We have a longer view, which is why we created CCR to pursue large-scale rehabilitation projects with FESBC and now Natural Resource Canada and the 2 Billion Trees Program.”
Phil Theriault, General Manager, Tsi Del Del Enterprises, notes Tsi Del Del Enterprises is one of the last companies to salvage beetle-kill wood in the Chilcotin.
“We’re still salvaging that wood as opposed to cutting green wood. We want to rehabilitate the damaged forest and work to speed up the natural regeneration process.”
A large amount of the salvaged fibre produces pulpwood, biomass, and hog fuel through local industrial clients, including Cariboo Pulp, Atlantic Power and Drax (formerly Pinnacle Renewable Energy). Over the last four years, close to one million cubic metres of fibre has been recovered, much of the recovery work was supported with funding from FESBC’s fibre utilization program. If not recovered, this fibre would either have been left behind and increased fuel for wildfires or burned in slash piles. Recovering the fibre results in both reduced wildfire risk and greenhouse gas emissions normally produced by burning.
“We can now recover fibre from a 100-kilometre radius from town,” said Theriault. “Hundreds of spin-off jobs at the plants and pulp mills in the region are maintained as a result of this activity.”
Regeneration efforts include planting two million trees in the Cariboo Chilcotin Plateau after beetle kill and a series of fires. A lot of areas are not under licensee obligation to reforest.
“Without funding, it would be up to nature to regenerate. We can return the forest to a productive state faster,” said Guichon. “If we don’t replant, we won’t have forests in the future to support our communities economically.”