Audit of Chilliwack forestry operations finds numerous issues

VICTORIA – An audit of the BC Timber Sales program and 18 timber sale licensees in the Chilliwack Natural Resource District found that BCTS and several timber sale licensees did not comply with provincial forestry legislation related to protecting scenic areas and ensuring proper bridge and culvert construction, according to a report released today. A number of poor practices were also identified in the audit.

BCTS’s planning of a cutblock beside the Hope slide on the Crowsnest Highway did not ensure the harvesting maintained the visual quality of the scenic area. One timber sale licence holder installed an unsafe bridge, while another failed to properly install culverts, impacting a fish stream. These practices did not comply with the Forest and Range Practices Act.

The audit also found a third licensee carried out poor practices that technically complied with legislation, but did not protect streams. As well, on four out of nine active harvesting operations, licensees did not have adequate fire prevention equipment onsite. These are poor practices that require improvement.

“As we are approaching what looks like another potentially serious forest fire season, the board reminds all forestry operators of the importance of having the required firefighting equipment on active work sites,” said Tim Ryan, board chair. “We are also concerned that we continue to see unsafe bridges showing up in our audits, despite last year’s major investigation and report on this issue. And the failure to properly protect fish streams is also disappointing.”

The board is aware that the BCTS program in this district is working hard to bring its activities and its timber sale licensees’ activities into full compliance with legislation.

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.

More information can be obtained by contacting:

Darlene Oman
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4705 / 1 800 994-5899