Audit of Quesnel BCTS program finds issues

VICTORIA – An audit of the BC Timber Sales (BCTS) program and timber-sale licensees operating under the program has found poor results.

Timber sales licensees were fully compliant with the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) but had several non-compliances with Wildfire Act requirements. BCTS had several non-compliance issues under FRPA, as well as an unsound practice.

The audit found that BCTS did not meet FRPA requirements for construction of a road and three bridges and for not reporting silviculture activities to government. Plans for the constructed bridges also were not adequate.

“Although our recent special investigation found that bridge construction practices are better than what we found in 2014, this audit demonstrates that there is still room for improvement,” said Kevin Kriese, board chair, Forest Practices Board.

Two timber-sale licensees did not have a water delivery system on two cutblocks while conducting high-risk activities, which is in non-compliance with the Wildfire Act. Another licensee did not follow the recommendations in a terrain field assessment and only two of 11 timber-sale licensees completed required fire hazard assessments.

“We are also disappointed that we continue to see operators not documenting fire hazard assessments and some licensees not having proper firefighting systems on site as required by the Wildfire Act,” Kriese said. 􀍞Given the risk that wildfire poses to communities, these are not acceptable results. We expect to see improvements to the program as a result of this audit work.

“The audit examined activities in the Quesnel Natural Resource District portion of the larger BCTS Cariboo-Chilcotin Business Area. This included harvesting 106 cutblocks, constructing over 130 kilometres of road and four bridges, road and bridge maintenance and deactivation, reforestation, wildfire protection and associated planning carried out between June 2018 and June 2019.

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.

Contact:

Darlene Oman
Communications
Forest Practices Board
250 480-8594