Complaint finds forest road maintenance issues

VICTORIA – An investigation of a public complaint about road maintenance on the Cooke Creek Forest Service Road near Enderby in the Okanagan Shuswap Resource District has found issues with road maintenance, culvert design and government’s response to public concerns.

“The board is concerned that the district and BC Timber Sales did not comply with legislation or their own risk management policies, procedures and systems,” said board chair Tim Ryan. “Improvements are also needed in training, management, record keeping and the way in which public concerns and complaints are recorded and acted upon.”

The complaint was filed with the board after two culverts at the mouth of Dale Lake failed and sections of the road were washed out in a debris flood in May 2014. The complainant said that he raised concerns with district staff about the condition of the culverts, but they were not heeded.

“The investigation found that the district cleaned out a culvert in response to one concern, but did not respond to the complainant’s concerns on two other occasions,” said Ryan. “This lack of response was not adequate.”

BCTS did not inspect or maintain the road between 2006 and 2014. Ministry policy required annual inspections during that period. In 2007, the district installed a culvert that was too small to withstand a 100-year flood, which is a requirement of the Forest and Range Practices Act.

“The board is recommending that BCTS and the district advise within 30 days of how it will avoid similar road design and maintenance issues in the future,” Ryan said.

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 investigates public complaints about 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