Audit finds Canfor did not comply with bridge maintenance legislation

VICTORIA – An audit of Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor) found 10 bridges that were not maintained as required by the Forest and Range Practices Act. However, Canfor’s road maintenance and silviculture activities all complied with the act.

“There are standards in the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation that licence holders must meet to ensure bridges are sound and safe for industrial users. The bridges examined in the audit had structural deficiencies, but they were not closed or load-rated to warn users. This was a significant concern because two of the bridges had been used by oil and gas companies, and four others were accessible by pick-up trucks, and anyone could have driven over them,” said Bruce Larson, board vice-chair.

“Canfor responded to these findings in a positive and timely manner by removing one bridge and restricting access and posting new signs for the others.”

The audit examined activities under forest licence A17007, located in the Fort Nelson Resource District in northeastern British Columbia. Canfor has not harvested any trees on this licence since 2008, so the audit was limited to road and silviculture obligations, primarily maintenance and reforestation. Canfor has an active silviculture program, and met all requirements for planting and establishing new trees on harvested sites.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government.

The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.