The idea for this co-operative started in 2010 and for the following two years, a group of members representing community business development corporations, municipalities, and forestry focused organizations have held discussions and conducted market research into the feasibility of the project. Founding and potential members of the WNLDC are organizations that have community engagement, as well as social and economic development in their missions.
In January of 2011, the White Bay South Forest Network (WBSFN) hosted a workshop on the basics of co-operatives. This workshop, held at the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development’s office in Corner Brook dealt with critical issues faced by rural Newfoundland and Labrador, such as the aging population, the lack of entrepreneurs, the presence of a labour force dependent on seasonal work, the creation of opportunities in the non-timber sector, and the establishment of economic activities that sustain community development. In September 2011, a steering committee comprised of members such as CBDC NORTIP, Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Humber Economic Development Board (HEDB) developed a concept paper to advance further the idea of a non-timber forest co-operative. The committee also received comments from other organizations, such as the Western Environment Centre (WEC), Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. (CBPPL) and other stakeholders. The current members of the WNLDC are: Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador, CBDC NORTIP, St. Barbe Development Association, Central Development Association, White Bay Development Association and the town of Parson’s Pond.