In October 2016, the Forest Practices Board audited Chu Cho Industries LP (Chu Cho) NRFL A62375 in the Mackenzie Forest District. The Tsay Keh Dene First Nation own Chu Cho. The license expired on August 15, 2015. This was a full scope compliance audit with a two-year time frame between October 1, 2014, and October 4, 2016.
The operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction, deactivation and maintenance, silviculture, and fire protection activities carried out by Chu Cho complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.
As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board selected the Mackenzie District as the location for a full scope compliance audit. Within the district, the Board selected Mackenzie Fibre Management Corporation’s (MFMC) forestry licence to cut A87345 (FLTC A87345).
The audit area falls within the Mackenzie Timber Supply Area and includes the community of Mackenzie. The Mackenzie District lies within the Northern Interior Forest Region and covers approximately 6.1 million hectares. Williston Lake, covering approximately 1.5 million hectares, is the dominant geographic feature of the area.
Under FLTC A87345, MFMC has been allocated 4 000 000 cubic metres over a 5-year term, with an annual harvest of 800 000 cubic metres. MFMC prepared operational plans and applied to the government for cutting and road permits, so it can legally develop and harvest timber within a defined area.
During the two-year audit period, MFMC harvested approximately 881 735 cubic metres of timber, primarily to salvage mountain pine beetle infested timber and rehabilitate forest values. There is a licence requirement to harvest stands with a minimum 70 percent pine component based on the gross volume of the stand.
This audit examined the activities of the BC Timber Sales Program (BCTS) in the Mackenzie District. Numerous natural resources support a wide range of interests in the district—including recreation, trapping, guide-outfitting, tourism, wildlife and fish—creating challenges for BCTS and timber sale licensees that carry out forestry activities in the area.
Another challenge faced by licensees there is how to achieve free-growing silviculture milestones in areas prone to rust infection (a fungus that infects hard pines). Rusts can reduce tree growth and cause early mortality in pine stands, impeding the ability to achieve freegrowing status. However, on all cutblocks where the risk of rust infection was moderate or high, BCTS achieved free-growing, and it continues to work in collaboration with licensees and
the ministry to further enhance knowledge and management of pine rusts.
In October 2010, the Board conducted a full-scope compliance audit of forest planning and practices of Forest Licence (FL) A15385, held by Conifex Mackenzie Forest Products Inc. (Conifex). FL A15385 is located in the Mackenzie Forest District, on the west side of the northern half of the Williston reservoir, and the east side of the southern half of the reservoir. In August 2010, Conifex took over FL A15385 from Abitibi-Bowater (Abitibi), who was in bankruptcy protection and had not actively harvested in the licence area for approximately three years. The audit found Conifex in compliance with the legislated requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
The Forest Practices Board conducted a pilot audit of forest soil conservation in the Mackenzie forest district. The audit was one of two pilot audits designed to explore the Board’s approach to auditing the effectiveness of forest practices in anticipation of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).
In June 2000, the Board published a special investigation report titled “Significant Breaches of the Forest Practices Code along the Power Line Corridor for the Kemess South Mine.” The report was based on an investigation of breaches of the Forest Practices Code along the right-of-way for a 340-kilometre power line built to service the Kemess South copper mine in northeastern BC. That report made a number of recommendations to address environmental problems and government enforcement of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the Code).
The 2000 special investigation report was the first and, to date, the only case where the Board has found significant breaches of the Code. A significant breach is defined in the legislation as a breach of Code requirements “that has caused or is beginning to cause significant harm to persons or the environment.” The Board concluded that the failures to comply with Code requirements were causing significant harm to the environment and that government’s response to the reporting of significant breaches was inadequate and uncoordinated. In total, six separate breaches of the Code were identified.
On August 11, 1999, the Omineca Community Forest Association complained to the Forest Practices Board with concerns about plans to log timber near Germansen Landing in the Mackenzie Forest District.
There are two parts to this complaint. The first part concerns an amendment to Slocan Forest Products’ 1998-2002 forest development plan (FDP) for forest licence A15384. The amendment proposed three cutblocks in the Discovery Creek area to harvest timber damaged by mountain pine beetle infestation. The amendment was approved in August 1998. The complainant asserts that each of the three cutblocks is larger than the maximum allowed by the Code and is too large relative to the size of the pine beetle infestation.
The second part of the complaint concerns Slocan Forest Products’ 1999-2003 FDP, which included 19 cutblocks in the Twenty Mile Creek area. The complainant asserts that the cutblocks were approved without specifying which existing road, or newly proposed road, would access the area.
On May 11, 1999, the Board received a complaint from the BC Trappers Association on behalf of trappers on three registered traplines. During 1997 and 1998, Royal Oak Mines Inc. (the licensee) constructed a powerline for the Kemess South Mine that intersected the complainants’ trapping areas. The complainants claim that traps, trails, a trapping cabin, furbearer habitat, and their businesses were harmed by construction of the powerline. The complainants requested that the Board assist them in getting compensation for their losses. However, the Board has no authority to require either the licensee or government to pay compensation.
On July 27, 1998, a member of the public complained to the Forest Practices Board that his water supply had been affected by clearing work on a right-of-way for a power transmission line to the Kemess South Mine in northeastern BC. During the investigation of the complaint, Board staff observed that there were many instances of apparent failures by Royal Oak Mines (the licensee) to comply with provisions of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and regulations (the Code). Board staff undertook an inspection of the entire power line corridor and staff concluded that there were many failures to comply with Code requirements and that these were causing significant harm to the environment. The failures were a significant breach of the Code.
On June 28, l999, Board staff provided written notice, with details of the significant breaches, to the Forest Practices Board, the three ministers responsible for enforcing the Forest Practices Code (Forests; Environment, Lands and Parks; and Energy and Mines), senior staff of the three ministries and the licensee (Royal Oak Mines Inc.). This notification followed the procedure described in Section 4 of the Forest Practices Board Regulation. The Board assumes that the purpose of the requirement to promptly notify the ministers and licensee about significant breaches is to allow them to promptly address situations where there is significant environmental harm.
Between 1997 and 1998, Royal Oak Mines Inc., Kemess Mines Division (the licensee) constructed a 380-kilometre power line from the Kennedy sub-station at Williston Lake (south of Mackenzie) to the Kemess South mine site, near Thutade Lake in northern British Columbia. The construction involved clearing trees from a right-of-way and building hydro towers.
Prior to the clearing of the right-of-way, the complainant, who lives and works near Thutade Lake, expressed concern to the licensee and the government regarding the impact of the power line on his water supply. The complainant and the licensee discussed moving the water intake for the complainant’s water line as a form of compensation and considered a draft contract stipulating the amount of compensation. However, the licensee subsequently withdrew the offer.