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Harrop-Procter community mill receives provincial funding for upgrades

The mill will be able to cut smaller diameter logs
Representatives with the Harrop-Procter Community Cooperative pose with Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson and Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on April 19, 2024. The forest directly behind the group is managed and logged by the cooperative. Photo: Tyler Harper

A local community mill has received a provincial investment for renovations to help it diversify its products.

Harrop-Procter Community Cooperative has been granted $215,000 from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund. The money will be used to upgrade equipment that helps the mill cut smaller diameter logs, and create three new jobs.

The cooperative has managed the mill and logged the community forest above Harrop and Procter since 2009. Bill Macpherson, the cooperative’s president, said the money will be pooled with a further $750,000-$800,000 the organization is spending to renovate the mill.

“It’s fairly substantial. It’s the new equipment that’s going to improve things that we can do as far as products and a roof linking a couple of buildings so the guys aren’t working out in the yard and the snow and the rain, and expansion of another building just to accommodate some new equipment.”

The Harrop-Proctor Community Cooperative was started in 2000 in order to protect the local watershed from forestry. Macpherson said that remains the priority for the cooperative, which does selective logging and protects trees he says are fire and drought resistant.

Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson, who was joined by cooperative representatives at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Friday to make the funding announcement, said the model of community forests aligns with the government’s draft Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework.

Released in November, the framework provides direction for prioritizing conservation and ecosystem management in future legislation. It also emphasizes community empowerment and local solutions.

“When you look at Community Forests, they’re really focusing on the ecological values and that’s the direction our government is moving. …,” said Anderson.

“It’s really ensuring that we are focused on ecosystems’ health, biodiversity, but also sustainable jobs for the long run. I think the model that community forests and these mills have had have really been great shining examples of forestry done right in our communities.”

The Harrop-Procter mill is a small operation compared to private logging companies, working in an 11,000-hectare tenure with just six staff and one administrator.

But Macpherson said the mill has developed a healthy local market, mostly selling to Nelson-area contractors but also to some as far away as Vancouver.

“The forests have been unlogged for 100 years. So the product is really good quality. We’re making some good-sized timbers out of some of the bigger fir and cedars that we harvest, and people want them.”


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Tyler Harper

About the Author: Tyler Harper

I’m editor-reporter at the Nelson Star, where I’ve worked since 2015.
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