Board to Audit Okanagan Indian Band Forest Licence Near Vernon
VICTORIA — The Forest Practices Board will audit the forest planning and practices of the Okanagan Indian Band operating out of Vernon, in the Okanagan Shuswap Forest District.
The audit will examine the Okanagan Indian Band’s forest operations in the area of the Cedar Hill fire near Falkland and the Okanagan Mountain Park fire near Kelowna. The Okanagan Indian Band salvaged timber from these two fires, which occurred late last summer, in August and September 2003. The Okanagan Shuswap district stretches from the U.S. border in the south to Seymour River/ Shuswap Lake in the north.
The audit will be a full-scope audit, meaning that auditors will examine forest practices carried out over the past year, including timber harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; fire protection; silviculture; and operational planning.
The Forest Practices Board carries out periodic independent audits to see if government and forest companies are complying with the province’s forest practices legislation. This licence was chosen randomly for the audit and not on the basis of location or level of performance.
The four members of the audit team include professional foresters and a chartered accountant. They will be in the licence area examining plans, cutblocks and roads for up to five days beginning on July 26, 2004. Once the fieldwork is done, the board will prepare a draft report on the audit findings. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have an opportunity to respond to the board before the report is finalized and released to the public and government.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent. The board’s mandate has been retained under the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). The board’s main roles under FRPA are:
- Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
- Auditing government enforcement of FRPA.
- Investigating public complaints.
- Undertaking special investigations of forestry issues.
- Participating in administrative appeals.
- Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 356-1586 / 1 800 994-5899
July 19, 2004