Community benefits from Nelson Forests sale
THE NEW OWNER OF NELSON FORESTS, ONEFORTYONE (OFO), has marked the settlement of its purchase with the announcement of two significant new initiatives to benefit the community.
It will establish a substantial fund for sedimentation research to help keep local rivers clean and set up a school leaver programme that will provide trade apprenticeships at Nelson Forests’ Kaituna Sawmill near Blenheim.
Nelson Forests has committed $500,000 to its new sedimentation research fund and has already engaged with researchers at Cawthron Institute and Landcare Research, although it expects to develop collaborations with researchers at other organisations over time.
Lees Seymour, Managing Director of Nelson Management Ltd, the management company for Nelson Forests, says that sedimentation research will take place in Marlborough and Nelson/Tasman and will build on work the company has already undertaken on the issue.
“We realise there is a high level of interest in forestry’s role in sedimentation and that our community is looking to us to proactively address this issue. Research is crucial and will help us prevent, manage, and mitigate sedimentation,” he says.
Tim King, Chair of the Tasman District Council Environment and Planning Committee, strongly supported the company for establishing the new fund, saying: “It is excellent to see Nelson Forests engaging with researchers and the community on the issue of sedimentation. This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see from forestry companies.”
Nelson Forests’ new school leaver apprenticeship programme for students from Marlborough Girls College and Marlborough Boys College was also warmly welcomed. The programme is being set up to assist school leavers to make the transition to an apprenticeship programme.
The Principal of Marlborough Girls College, Mary-Jeanne Lynch, says that there would be strong interest in trade apprenticeships at Kaituna Sawmill amongst her students.
She says: “There are great careers available for women in forestry and it’s really heartening to see that Nelson Forests has 33% of all managerial roles being filled by women. We are excited to see our students being considered for these apprenticeship opportunities.”
The Assistant Principal of Marlborough Boys College, James Ryan, was similarly enthusiastic, adding: “Not all students want to go into tertiary study and it is so important that all our students have meaningful pathways ahead of them.”
Starting from next year, Nelson Forests expects to offer up to four trade apprenticeships at one time at its Kaituna Sawmill in a diverse range of vocations including fitter turner, electrician, saw doctor, timber processor, boiler operator and timber machinist.
The new Nelson Forests initiatives were announced at two special functions in Nelson and Blenheim held to celebrate the settlement of OFO’s purchase.
CEO of OFO, Linda Sewell says: “We are delighted to mark the settlement day in this way.
“Nelson Forests has a strong reputation for environmental stewardship and encouraging young people into forestry and these new initiatives support the company’s existing values. Those values are also very important to OFO and we look forward to continuing to contribute to the Marlborough and Nelson Tasman communities.”
Meanwhile, OFO has also announced plans to purchase the Manuka Island forest estate in the Wairau Valley near Blenheim, currently being reviewed by the Overseas Investment Office.
The Manuka Island estate comprises around 2000 hectares and is currently owned by Merrill and Ring. OFO says it will be integrated and managed as one forest estate by Nelson Management Ltd, the management company for Nelson Forests.