Campbell River audit finds compliance problems with timber sales program

VICTORIA – An audit of BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) Strait of Georgia Business Area has found several instances of non-compliance with provincial forestry legislation by timber sale licence holders and BCTS operating within the Campbell River area. Only one of 24 timber sale licensees had no problems noted with its operations.

“While the auditors did not find evidence of significant environmental harm at the time, these practices increase the risk of damage to resources and the environment occurring,” said board chair Al Gorley.

Auditors found instances where fish habitat was not being adequately protected because of sediment introduced into fish streams as well as a failure to maintain the natural drainage patterns of several small streams. Other problems noted include not adhering to professionally developed plans, and not having an adequate fire suppression system on site during extreme fire hazard conditions.

“Individually, each of these instances might not be considered serious; but taken together, and given the number in total, the board considers them to be significant,” Gorley said. “The board has conducted well over 100 compliance audits since 1996, including more than 20 audits of BCTS operations, and typically finds very few problems ― this is an exception.”

The report notes that BCTS has committed to taking action to address the board’s concerns.

The BCTS operating areas audited include Gold River on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Sayward on the east, and Mainland areas across from Campbell River.

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.