A playground isn’t always just a playground. Sometimes it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Case in point is the new playground for Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band (LSLIB), which slid into a new partnership with Arrow Transportation and Interfor. BCT Projects was key in bridging this partnership. The playground opened on June 14.
“We were looking for companies whose approach to partnerships extends beyond what we see in typical resource-development agreements,” said LSLIB’s economic-development advisor Leonard Jackson of BCT Projects. “We asked several forestry companies to pitch concepts for working together.”
After a few conversations with Jackson, Brad Bennett, Interfor’s Woodlands Manager, suggested bringing in Tim Bell, Arrow's vice president —Trucking Operations.
“Interfor had been attempting to engage with the LSLIB for a long time with little success, but we knew the current chief and council were looking for companies with whom to partner on their forestry project,” said Bennet.
“Having worked with Arrow on other projects, and knowing the company’s commitment to Aboriginal engagement, we knew we wanted Arrow in the room with us from the start.”
When the three sat down for the first time with LSLIB, the goal was to get acquainted. Business specifics were off the table. Was there a good cultural fit, was the question, and discussion took them to the importance that the band places on “progressive development.”
“I happened to mention a place I’d visited where the mill had recently built a recreation facility,” said LSLIB Councillor Dale Tomma. “This, in a small community where people were already benefiting from the mill economically through employment. What I saw there was how the community now came together socially, in the beautiful space the company had created.”
“Lasting relationships are not just built on revenue sharing,” said Bell. “We knew Dale wasn’t telling us that story because she wanted us to build a playground, even though we know there isn’t one in the community and we know that kids bike down a busy, dangerous highway to Chase to play.”
And that was the beginning. It started with relationship building and moved to building a playground. Now that the foundation of the relationship has been cemented, they can plan out how they can work together in business constructively.
The details of the resource-development partnerships are still being finalized, reads a statement. The parties are working towards revenue and employment agreements that will see LSLIB sell timber volumes to Interfor.
Arrow and Interfor will have an agreement to haul timber, not only from LSLIB land to the Adams Lake Mill, but also on other forestry projects. And they’ll do this in logging trucks they put on the road with LSLIB, through a joint-venture partnership.