Living & Working Here

Living & Working Here There are many different industries that drive the North Island economy.  We'll be adding more information about the North Island lifestyle shortly, but here is some great information about our region.


The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) is one of the largest wood producing areas in British Columbia. With globally unique biodiversity, the British Columbia’s Central Coast planning region contains one‐quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest and offers breathtaking beauty and unparalleled recreational opportunities.

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) is one of the largest wood producing areas in British Columbia. With globally unique biodiversity, the British Columbia’s Central Coast planning region contains one‐quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest and offers breathtaking beauty and unparalleled recreational opportunities. A variety of terrain conditions are found within RDMW including poorly‐drained lowlands on northern Vancouver Island, the rugged Coast Mountains, and some drier areas in the southern part of the region near Woss. Major tree species include western hemlock, western red cedar, amabilis fir, Douglas fir, yellow cedar, Sitka spruce, and red alder.

The First Nations’ in the district have utilized forest resources for thousands of years. The ongoing stewardship of forestry resources by First Nations is vitally important to the maintenance of these unique cultures. Currently, while many traditional activities are still practiced (e.g. carving and weaving), most First Nations are now participating in more commercial forestry activities. These activities are as varied as the Nations themselves ranging from fire wood sales, to woodlot management to full‐scale logging operations. As more forestry related opportunities are realized, First Nation participation in the forest industry has become an important economic driver for the North Island at large. Increased First Nations participation in the forest industry has improved the opportunity for these resources to be directly managed by First Nations while a collaborative review and consultation arrangement between forest licensees and First Nations is ensuring that early dialogue occurs and that important traditional resources are responsibly managed.

The District contains five Tree Farm Licenses with a combined Allowable Annual Cut for the various tenures of approximately 4,560,000 cubic meters. All of this cut is managed to the standards of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and associated regulations in order to ensure stewardship of all forest resources, including cultural heritage resources, soils, timber, wildlife, riparian areas, landscape and stand level biodiversity, community watersheds, visual quality, and recreation. In addition to meeting the legislated requirements of FRPA, recent land use plans have been approved requiring additional stewardship consideration including the Central Coast Land Use Order with its associated Ecosystem‐Based Management objectives and the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan.

Forestry Companies

Western Forest Products is an integrated Canadian forest products company, managing timberlands and producing lumber in coastal British Columbia. Principal activities conducted by Western Forest Products include timber-harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing. WFP's operations within the Regional District of Mount Waddington include harvesting operations in Woss, Port McNeill, Port Alice, Holberg and dryland sorting facilities in Port Alice, Port McNeill and Beaver Cove. Western Forest Products is fully committed to the protection of the environment and the sustainable development of the resource in their care.

Neucel is a specialty cellulose producer whose mill and resource base are located in Port Alice. Their cellulose products are used in such applications as pharmaceuticals, electronics, agri-chemicals, lacquers, detergents, food thickeners, and many other industrial products used around the world every day. Neucel is owned by a consortium of investors, led by Wellspring Capital Management and GSC Group

International Forest Products Ltd (Interfor) provides customers with quality wood products that come from well-managed forests of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. They are based in Vancouver, and have timber harvesting rights in various forms of tenure on northern Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. They believe wood is the most environmentally-friendly building material and promote the responsible use of their products as a good choice for the environment. Their Woodlands Operations are committed to meeting high environmental standards through the application of science-based principles, collaborative approaches, sustainable forest practices, and independent certifications.

Richmond Plywood Corporation Ltd (Richply) is a 100% Canadian-owned and operated manufacturer of high quality plywood products from the forests of W British Columbia. Richply purchases logs sold on the open log market, as well as harvests and processes them from their own Forest Licence areas where they practice sustainable land management that meets the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act. In 2004, the British Columbia Forest Practices Board honoured Richply with an award for practicing good forest stewardship at their Port Hardy operations on northern Vancouver Island.

TimberWest Forest Corporation runs fully contracted harvesting operations and leads the coastal industry in the growing and harvesting of second-growth timber. Almost 80% of the Company's annual private land logging is done in second-growth stands. TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m3 of logs per year, including a Tree Farm Licence in the Bonanza Lake and West Cracroft Island areas within the RDMW. TimberWest Forest Corp.'s Vancouver Island holdings predominantly support the growth of Douglas fir forests, a premium species used for structural building purposes. TimberWest is committed to sustainable forest management and will conduct its activities in a manner that maintains fully functioning ecosystems and economic operations.

Mill & Timber Products Ltd is a privately held company specializing in Western Red 1'1 Cedar for markets in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe. There are two sawmills, a remanufacturing plant and Panabode Log Homes in the Lower Mainland producing many value-added products and over 70 million board feet annually.

Mill & Timber's log supply is anchored in our tenures on the mainland area tributary to Port Hardy. Since the mid-1980s we have been a strong contributor to the North Island economy with our Woodlands staff and Dryland Sort Operation in Port Hardy and the hundreds of workers over the years from the North Island employed in forestry operations including logging and road building. Mill & Timber will continue to adapt our business to the changing economy. Successful business relationships with First Nations and other companies and co-operation with local communities will be the key to our survival.

BC Timber Sales is a stand-alone organisation within the Ministry of Forests and Range created to support revitalisation of the British Columbia forest sector and economy. BCTS develops and offers Crown timber for auction to establish market price and cost benchmarks, and capture the best possible return for the public resource. On the basis of highest bid, BeTS sells timber to a variety of customers, - market loggers, sawmill operators, timber processors, re-manufacturers, and major licensees. Through its employees and private sector contractors, BeTS conducts forest planning, timber cruising, layout and engineering, road construction and maintenance, bridge installations, and silviculture activities. The Business Area responsible for BeTS in the RDMW is Seaward/tlasta, based in Port McNeill.

LeMare Lake Logging Ltd. is a full-phase logging company based out of Port McNeill. A local employer of approximately 150 people, LeMare Lake Logging is a key player in industrial forest operations on the North Island. On an annual basis, LeMare Lake Logging harvests up to 1 million cubic meters of timber, under a wide-range of forest tenures, with much of this work carried out for local forest companies.

Strategic Forest Management Inc., established in 2001, is a professional consulting firm specializing in natural resource management. They provide professional services, such as resource reconnaissance and inventory, planning, project management, and operational implementation to forest companies, public and private utilities, mining companies, First Nations, government (municipal, provincial & federal), BC Parks, property developers and tourism operators. Their staff includes Foresters, Technologists, Engineers, Biologists, Geographers, GIS Analysts and others.

Aquaculture and Fisheries

Aquaculture and Fisheries

Fishing has been at the heart of daily life in the Regional District of Mount Waddington for thousands of years and continues to serve as a major economic driver for the region’s communities. As demand for seafood increases and more and more pressure is placed upon our resources, aquaculture is becoming increasingly important to sustaining the region’s economy and ensuring long-term viability of our ecosystem.


Since 1996, aquaculture production in Canada has more than doubled and its value has almost tripled to nearly $1 billion a year, with British Columbia accounting for 58% of the total national production value. British Columbia’s aquaculture operations currently produce salmon, trout, Pacific oyster, clam, mussel, and scallop in key centers of activity including Port Hardy and Port McNeil with 70 percent being export mainly to the United States. The total value of cultured finfish produced in British Columbia in 2010 was $512 million with salmon making up 98 percent of production.


As consumer demand continues to increase for fish that comes from sustainable sources, does not deplete wild stocks, and does not cause devastating environmental harm, the demand for aquaculture is expected to grow. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization projects that current global aquaculture production will double by 2025 with the Regional District of Mount Waddington being well positioned to service this increasing demand (Source: Canada. Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Aquaculture in Canada 2012, A Report on Aquaculture Sustainability).

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) provides a cluster of renewable energy production possibility that is second-to-none on Vancouver Island. The Region is committed to making the alternative energy sector a progressive resource by optimizing development in a way that is sustainable, both economically and environmentally, and continues to generate essential employment and value to the region. In fact, bylaw 674 of the Region’s Energy Policies (2004) states, “The RDMW will support independent proposals for alternative methods of power generation that propose responsible management practices that meet all relevant provincial, federal and local government policies and regulations, and that do not detract from adjacent land or water uses and related activities”

The Region’s economic goals for alternative energy is to provide sustainable power production solutions that will ensure continued local skilled employment, training, and contractual opportunities for individuals from the region and establish the North Island as a power exporter to the rest of Vancouver Island, helping to make the island and coast self-sufficient in power production.

Currently, two major alternative energy projects are approved to commence building representing an immediate infusion of well over $300 million to the British Columbia and North Island economy in 2012 and 2013; the Cape Scott windfarm and the Kokish hydroelectric projects. Once operational, an estimated additional 150MW of additional production will be added to the island’s transmission grid.

Visitor Economy

Visitor Economy

Whether looking for a no-hassle retreat to get away from the stresses and responsibility of the daily grind, or you are the cultural explorer fascinated by a blend of ancient history with modern culture, the Regional District of Mount Waddington invites you to experience the journey of the majestic Northern tip of beautiful Vancouver Island.

Hikers, kayakers, boaters, divers, campers, and anglers are enchanted by the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s paradise of natural splendour and pristine wilderness. Come and connect with one of our full-service guides and charter operators to experience the purity and serenity of open spaces in a care-free environment. Or if you prefer to go at it on your own, be your own tour guide and explore the open beaches, see wildlife in its natural habitat, or enjoy views that have been unchanged for thousands of years. Here you will find out what it really is to discover the great outdoors with sprawling forests, rugged coastlines, serene fresh water lakes, clean rivers, and wide-open space. Fish for salmon in the Queen Charlotte Strait or steelhead and trout in inland lakes, cruise alongside the awesome grace of resident orcas whales (killer whales), ski and snowboard the world-class powder at Mount Cain Alpine Park, scuba dive at God's Pocket Marine Park, surf at Raft Cove, or strap on a backpack for a trek into Cape Scott Provincial Park.

Discover the thrill of coastal living in one of our friendly towns and villages where locals welcome visitors with dining, shopping, cultural attractions and overnight options ranging from wilderness campgrounds to B&B’s, motels, hotels, cabins, cottages and resorts. Spend your days engaged in fresh-air pleasures, then relax in comfort while swapping stories with other travelers and planning for tomorrow's adventure. Investigate the ancient history of the First Nations at Alert Bay’s internationally renowned cultural centre and take in a public dance performance of the U’Mista Cultural Society. Admire as wood carvers transform raw slabs of wood into intricate works of art in Fort Rupert. Contemplate the amazing resolve of early European settlers moving to the region to establish the commercial fishing, logging, and mining industries during the 1860’s in community museums. “Walk among the whales” at the historic town Telegraph Cove’s Whale Interpretive Centre.


North Island Employment
Regional District of Mount Waddington
Community Futures