Forest Practices Board releases decision on Complaint Investigation

The Forest Practices Board has announced a decision regarding a complaint filed with the Board by five organizations from the Cariboo region in December, 1995.

The complainants asserted that forest development plans for the Quesnel River watershed prepared by five licensees and the Ministry of Forests Small Business Forest Enterprise Program were not consistent with the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Plan (CCLUP) and, therefore, that the plans contravened the Forest Practices Code. They asserted that the approval of the plans by four Ministry of Forests district managers also contravened the Code.

The Board is of the opinion that it can best assist all the participants in the Cariboo, including the five complainants, to find a cooperative, constructive solution to the matters raised in the complaint by stopping the investigation and making recommendations. The Board has made seven recommendations-five of which refer to the 1996-2001 forest develop-ment plans currently in preparation.

In making the decision to stop the investigation and make recommendations, the Board has not reached any conclusions whether the complaint is substantiated or not. The Board decided that continuing the investigation would focus discussion on the forest development plans approved in 1995 at a time when attention needs to be focused on the speedy implemen-tation of the CCLUP and achievement of the timber and non-timber targets of the CCLUP in the 1996-2001 forest development plans. These plans are scheduled to be approved in December, 1996.

Three members of the Forest Practices Board were in Williams Lake on Friday, October 4. Board Chair Keith Moore and Board members Cathy Mumford and Jack Toovey provided a summary of the Board’s deci-sion in a meeting with representatives of 18 different organizations involved in the complaint.

These included the five complainants, five licensees, and four district managers as well as representatives of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Resource Board (RRB), the Cariboo Mid-Coast Interagency Management Committee (IAMC), Land Use Coordination Office (LUCO) and the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.

The Board released two reports:

a draft report from the Board outlining the Board’s decision to stop investigating the complaint and make seven recommendations; and
a final report from Dr. Bruce Fraser, a consultant commissioned by the Board during the complaint investigation.

The Board has invited comments on the content of its draft report and the nature of the recommendations by Tuesday, October 15 and will consider any comments received by that date before completing a final report. Copies of the Board’s draft report and the Fraser report are available to the public from the Govern-ment Agent’s office in Williams Lake or from the Board’s office in Victoria.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent agency established in 1995. Investigation of complaints from the public about forest planning, forest practices or enforcement of the Forest Practices Code is one of its responsibilities. Other important roles include audits, special investigations, special reports and participation in reviews and appeals.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

October 4, 1996