Elphinstone Logging Focus, an environmental group on the Sunshine Coast, complained that cutblocks sold by BC Timber Sales would impact at-risk plant communities and affect the integrity of the ecosystem near Mt. Elphinstone Park.
The Board investigated and determined that the mature forest stands in the cutblocks contained plant communities listed by the BC Conservation Data Centre as being in peril, or of special concern. There are no government objectives protecting the plant communities and BCTS’s protocol for managing species at risk only includes plant communities found in old forest, not the mature forest stands in this area.
The Board made two recommendations to government and BCTS to address the situation.
In mid-October, the Forest Practices Board audited the forest activities of Lakeside Pacific Forest Products Ltd. Lakeside operates on both sides of Harrison Lake in the Chilliwack Natural Resource District.
This was a full scope compliance audit and all activities carried out between October 1, 2015, and October 18, 2017, complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
The Board received a complaint that BC Timber Sales (BCTS) in the Chilliwack area was not doing enough to remove competing vegetation on their recently planted cutblocks. The complainant was concerned that it could result in plantations growing poorly due to competition with brushy vegetation and that BCTS might not meet its legal obligations for reforestation.
The Board examined BCTS’s post-planting silvicultural practices on the ground and reviewed records of brushing activities. The investigation concluded that BCTS did reduce its brushing in the Chilliwack operating area between 2013 and 2016. The Board also concluded that BCTS is undertaking adequate measures to reduce competing brush and comply with its legal reforestation requirements.
In May 2016 the Forest Practices Board audited the activities of SN Forestry Operations Ltd.’s Forestry Licence to Cut A82551 in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District. SN Forestry is owned by the Squamish Nation, and the licence permits it to harvest 592 800 cubic metres of timber from within the boundaries of Tree Farm Licence 38.
The results were good – SN Forestry’s operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, and fire protection activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.
In July 2015, the Forest Practices Board audited the activities of Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’s forest licence A19201 in the Chilliwack resource district. Harvesting activity is spread out across the district with operations at Pitt Lake, Norrish Creek, west Harrison Lake, Sowaqua Creek (north of Hope) and Boston Bar. The Norrish Creek operating area was of particular interest to auditors as it provides drinking water to Abbotsford and Mission, and it is critical that forest practices and roads do not negatively impact water quality.
The audit found that Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’s operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, and fire protection activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.
As part of its 2014 compliance audit program, the Forest Practices Board randomly selected BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) activities in the Fraser timber supply area (TSA) for audit. The Fraser TSA is bounded by Bowen Island to the west, Manning Park to the east, Boston Bar to the north and the United States border to the south. The TSA includes the lower mainland and it is the most populated in the province.
The audit identified significant non-compliance with respect to BCTS’ planning for a cutblock beside the Hope Slide. The design of the block did not meet the established objectives for visual quality. The audit also identified an unsafe bridge and disturbance to a stream channel and stream bank by two timber sale licensees. These were also considered significant non-compliance. Finally, the audit identified unsound practices near streams by a timber sale licensee and noted that timber sale licensee fire preparedness could be improved.
The Forest Practices Board audited Lil’wat Forestry Ventures’ forest licence A83925 and Lil’wat Construction Enterprises’ non-replaceable forest licence A82250 in September 2014. The licensees operate in the Sea to Sky Resource District near the communities of Pemberton and Mt. Currie.
The audit found that the planning and field activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations, as of September 2014. The audit noted one area for improvement related to fire hazard assessment.
The Forest Practices Board audited Pebble Creek Timber’s forest licence A19218 in July 2014. Pebble Creek Timber operates in the Sea to Sky Resource District in the Joffre Creek, upper Lillooet River and Meager Creek areas.
The audit found that the planning and field activities undertaken by Pebble Creek Timber complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations, as of July 2014. The audit noted one area for improvement related to fire hazard assessment.
As part of its 2013 compliance audit program, the Forest Practices Board selected Block 1 of Western Forest Product Inc.’s (WFP) Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 39 for audit. Block 1 lies within the Sunshine Coast district, near Powell River.
TFL 39 is made up of five distinct operating areas called blocks. Blocks 2 to 5, which are not part of the audit, are on Vancouver Island and on the mainland coast, northwest of Block 1. WFP manages Block 1 through its Stillwater Forest Operation, which is located in Powell River.
The forest in the southern portion of Block 1 is dominated by second growth Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, red alder and amabilis fir. The northern portion of Block 1 contains mixed species of immature to old forest. WFP harvested about 500 000 cubic metres of timber from Block 1 during the one-year audit period.
In February 2012, a member of the public who regularly hikes on the Sunshine Coast Trail near Powell River complained to the Board that Western Forest Products Inc. (WFP, or “the licensee” unless otherwise indicated) is not maintaining the integrity of the trail when harvesting close to it. The complainant asserted that buffers were not protecting visual quality or preventing trees from blowing down onto the trail.
The complainant has shared his concerns with the licensee on numerous occasions and the licensee has responded. The licensee assured the complainant that it is committed to sustainable forest management and local community values including the Sunshine Coast Trail. The complainant continues to feel that the licensee does not seriously consider his concerns.