Forest Practices Board Releases Results of an Audit of Tolko Industries Ltd.

VICTORIA – Although Tolko Industries’ timber harvesting and road practices generally met the requirements of the Forest Practices Code, certain forest practices in sensitive riparian areas next to streams were a problem, according to a Forest Practices Board audit report released today.

The audit identified several instances involving riparian areas where the Code was not followed. In two cases the Board found the ministries of Forests and Environment, Lands and Parks had responsibilities for the non-compliance because they approved the plans for the activities. The forest practices in question took place during the period of transition to the Code requirements and were influenced by a need to control an ongoing outbreak of spruce bark beetle.

In all other respects, Tolko’s forest practices met Code requirements. “The Board has been advised that both Tolko and the ministries have changed their procedures since the time these activities took place,” said Vice Chair, Cindy Pearce, “We encourage them to continue with improvements to protect riparian features while removing trees to address beetle infestations.”

The audit also identified some concerns with the maintenance of forest service roads by the Ministry of Forests and the Board has recommended that the ministry address the identified problems.

The Board does not have the ability to impose fines or penalties as a result of its audit findings. In addition to the recommendation about road maintenance, the Board has also recommended Tolko and the ministries make further improvements to their procedures for logging in riparian areas to ensure the Code is followed in future.

The audit examined timber harvesting and road construction activities, and associated operational planning, carried out by Tolko on Forest License A18696 between June 1996 and June 1997.

The licence is managed by Tolko’s Nicola Division in Merritt and includes an operating area which extends south of Merritt to Manning Park, and an area in the northeast corner of the Merritt Timber Supply Area, in the vicinity of Glimpse/Peter Hopes Lakes.

Two other audits were also released by the Board today: West Fraser Mills in Williams Lake and Slocan Group – Radium Division in Invermere.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent agency established in 1995 that provides reports to three ministers and the public about compliance with the Code and the achievement of its intent. Auditing of forest practices and the appropriateness of government enforcement under the Code is one of its key roles. Other important responsibilities include investigating public complaints; conducting special investigations of any Code related forestry issues; participating in administrative reviews and appeals; and providing reports to the public and government on Board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964