I am a small business owner in Valemount and will have owned my retail store for 10 years in October 2015. I find that living locally I am able to have my finger on the pulse, be flexible and innovative in order to serve my customers while looking after the interests of my employees and myself.

I moved to Valemount in September 2001. The following year, the BC Liberal government had eliminated the appurtenancy clause from tenure requirements that subsequently caused the local mill – one of our largest employers – to shut down operations while they continued to harvest local timber and ship it out of the area.

I recently completed a certificate from Simon Fraser University in Community Economic Development. At the Public Information meeting about the proposed acquisition of Carrier Lumber’s license on September 3, I was inspired to hear Valemount Community Forest manager Craig Pryor talk about the work and vision of its organization – inspired because they were practising all I had learnt in school over the past year about how to create a sustaining thriving community. The Valemount Community Forest is supporting small mills, creating employment for new young contractors and also partnering with local organizations to create recreational opportunities that didn’t exist before.

I believe that by purchasing the license from Carrier Lumber, Valemount Community Forest is well positioned to be the hub to work with local partners and manage resources in a way that it can grow the economic, social and environmental well-being of our area. It can work with non-profit organizations, contractors as well as big developers to create a win-win situation that only a business operator invested and located in the community can.

Rashmi Narayan
September 9, 2015

(This was written as a letter of support to the Government of B.C. to support the Valemount Community Forest)