Forest Practices Board Decision on Homesite Creek Complaint
Victoria – The Forest Practices Board today released the results of its investigation into a complaint by a local resident relating to the silviculture prescription for a timber sale cutblock near Homesite Creek, 20 kilometres from Sechelt.
The Board concluded that the silviculture prescription complied with the requirements of the Forest Practices Code and the district manager’s approval decision was reasonable. It also concluded that the process of preparing and approving the prescription was generally fair and adequate in the circumstances.
The Board found that the specific assertions of this complaint were not substantiated. The Board also noted an apparent lack of public confidence in forestry planning processes on the Sunshine Coast and a great deal of confusion about differences between land-use planning, forestry planning and the role of local government.
The Board is concerned about the ongoing tension and potential for confrontation related to this site, and urges clear policy direction from government and better communication between provincial agencies, local government, resource interest groups and residents.
The complaint asserted that the silviculture prescription misclassified the biogeoclimatic zone for the site, failed to properly map streams, wetlands and forest cover types, failed to protect recreation features, and did not follow due process. The silviculture prescription describes how forest management will take place on a cutblock.
A major issue was the accuracy of the ecosystem classification given to the site. The field investigation included three site visits with various experts to confirm questions about classification of the site, as well as streams and wetlands.
The complainant also asserted that the Ministry of Forests district manager had ignored historical promises made by ministry officials and local elected officials relating to this site. This concern was beyond the scope of the Forest Practices Board to investigate as it does not relate to the Forest Practices Code.
The Board has received a second complaint related to this site, and an investigation of the new complaint is now underway.
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. Investigating public complaints under the Code is one of its key responsibilities. Other important roles include auditing forest practices and government enforcement of the Code, special investigations of Code related forestry issues; participating in administrative reviews and appeals; and providing reports to the public and government on Board activities, findings and recommendations.
March 2, 1998