Coast Funds is celebrating a $200-million investment milestone for the Central Coast.
The financing organization says since the 2006 Great Bear Rainforest agreements, coastal First Nations have been developing and diversifying their conservation economies.
Brodie Guy is the executive director of Coast Funds, and says those investments have created over 650 jobs.
Guy says there’s a misconception that the Great Bear Rainforest is devoid of any development or economic activity.
He says Coast Funds has helped coastal First Nations invest in a wide range of economic development that’s focused on sustainability.
27 First Nations communities are part of Coast Funds and have members sit on the board.
The board decides which projects are approved, but it’s the local communities that take the lead on what projects they want to develop locally.
Guy says this model of economic development and conservation can be implemented across Canada, and internationally.
Over 250 projects have been funded so far, including the Heiltsuk Nation’s Coastal Guardian Watchman Network, the Kitasoo/Xai’xais’ Spirt Bear Lodge, and the Haida’s Taan Forest operations.