Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia names board to oversee $50M forestry trust

The Nova Scotia government has named the three-person board that will oversee a $50-million trust fund intended to help the province's forestry industry transition into a more diversified sector.

3-person board will begin accepting funding applications next month

The aim of the province's forestry trust fund is to help diversify the sector in Nova Scotia and make it less reliant on any single player. (Alain Belliveau/Medway Community Forest Co-op)

The Nova Scotia government has named the three-person board that will oversee a $50-million trust fund intended to help the province's forestry industry transition into a more diversified sector.

The fund was announced in February, in the wake of the closure of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County and a near immediate downturn in the industry as a result of losing its largest player. It also came against the backdrop of a report calling for a more sustainable, ecological approach to forestry.

Sandra McKenzie, a former deputy minister for the province who now works as a consultant, will chair the board. She is joined by Douglas Hall, a former managing director at RBC Capital Markets, and David Saxton, a retired partner from Grant Thornton.

In an interview, McKenzie said the board would have one or two dedicated contract staff through the Business Department who would receive and review funding applications before ultimately passing them on to the trustees to make final decisions.

Applications to open next month

The fund is available to companies, organizations and post-secondary institutions, with focuses on things such as developing new high-value products, enhancing business models and new ecological services. It's part of the government's effort to transition the sector to a more diverse industry.

McKenzie said the team will also work with representatives from the forestry sector, universities, the province's forestry transition team and others to hear ideas. As meeting restrictions in place due to COVID-19 ease, she said the trustees would be aiming to meet with sector representatives to learn about opportunities.

It's McKenzie's belief that there are ways to partner with industry and the federal government that would help grow the size of the trust beyond the $50 million the province has set aside. The application process is expected to begin next month and McKenzie said she expects the board will have three or four calls for applications each year.

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