I am sure that many of you, like myself, enjoyed the article “Ferguson Forest Centre Saved”. It was a very accurate description of events that led up to the establishment of our local treasure; the Ferguson Forest and the Centre that supports it. However, unlike the circumstances in the 1990’s, I want to assure readers that the closure of the Angus Seed Plant Angus Seed Plant will not negatively affect the operation of the Ferguson Tree Nursery, which is in no danger of closing.
The situation we now face has little in common with the event that led to the closure of the G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station and the establishment of the Ferguson Forest Centre. While it is indeed true that the Wynne government, like the Harris government, in 1995, made a decision based on pure economics and without consultation, the gravity of the current situation is far less daunting. It is true that the MNR will close the Angus seed processing and storage facility effective September 2018. It is also true that the Ferguson Tree Nursery has its supply of seeds stored there and that the closure of the facility will have a significant impact on the future of the tree nursery if nothing is done. However, in every black cloud there is a silver lining.
The CEO of the Ferguson Tree Nursery, having looked at the seed processing and storage alternatives to the Angus facility, is developing a strong business case to present to the FFCC Board of Directors. This case will recommend the construction of a seed processing and storage facility on-site. This facility would process and store seeds for the nursery, its clients and other potential customers who require the service. The Centre can cover the capital costs of constructing the facility and its ongoing operational costs. With the money saved by using local storage and the money to be made from processing and storing our own and client’s seeds, the cost can be recuperated over time. There may also be local employment opportunities.
The closure of the Angus plant, as drastic as it first seemed, has afforded the Ferguson Tree Nursery the opportunity to open a new line of business ensuring its viability long into the future.
Carl Doucette, President
Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation