Northern Development Mines and Forestry Minister, the Honourable Michael Gravelle, announced in mid-November that there was $6 million available to grow approximately 13.5 million tree seedlings as well as do the appropriate site preparation, etc.
Additional Funding for Regeneration
Northern Development Mines and Forestry Minister, the Honourable Michael Gravelle, announced in mid-November that there was $6 million available to grow approximately 13.5 million tree seedlings as well as do the appropriate site preparation, etc. This announcement was very sudden and proposals were to be into the Forestry Futures Trust by November 27, 2009, with decisions to be made on the successful applicant by December, 2009.
It is a feather in the government's cap to fund this type of regeneration as the field of forestry is hurting in Ontario. This funding is strictly for northern Ontario and will provide additional work for some of the contractors and the growers.
In the announcement made to the public, it was said that growers and contractors would be able to access this fund to enhance their growing and planting capacities if selected. However, this is not entirely true. The fund, since it was put into the hands of the Forestry Futures Trust Committee, can only allocate the funds to the Sustainable Forest Licensees (SFL), and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) in charge of Crown forests.
The caveat with this type of arrangement is that the SFLs and the OMNR, as they are the only entities that can benefit from this funding, do not have to partner with any other entity and can simply add the funding to their existing format for the 2009 regeneration program. So again we have additional funding, opportunity for expansion or new businesses to begin, and we are still left with a bidding system to select the final partnership. In other words, same old, same old.
"It is a feather in the government's cap to fund this type of regeneration as the field of forestry is hurting in Ontario."
The program was hastily constructed and this is evident in the proposal timeline. It did not give all SFLs and OMNR staff time to react and apply for the funding. When a proposal is made, the requirements are stiff and exact, as well they should be, but lead time of two weeks is insufficient time to put a viable operational proposal together and to have any input by the smaller operators to try to partner with the larger receivers of the funding.
I would like to see additional funding for 2010, however, let's propose the funding with enough lead time to have all entities have a chance at submitting a proposal. There is the issue that Forestry Futures Trust Committee is set up to make and approve these types of proposals, but why can't it be changed for special funding announcements to allow the smaller contractors and growers to partner with the SFLs and OMNR directly, so this won't be a competition but rather a true partnership? If these arrangements cannot be made, then perhaps another agency can have the funding directed through them.