Forest Practices Board releases final report on Cariboo Complaint Investigation

The Forest Practices Board has released a final report concluding the investigation of a complaint about forest development plans in the Cariboo Forest Region.

The Board did not reach any conclusions about whether the complaint was substantiated or not. Nor did it find any fault or assign any blame to any organization or individual.

The Board found that there are different expectations about the CCLUP and its effect on the requirements of the Forest Practices Code relating to the 1996-2001 forest development plans. The Board is of the opinion that a more sensitive and rapid process to implement the CCLUP is required if the balance of interests and values in the CCLUP is to be realized.

The Board made ten recommendations as a result of the investigation. The first eight recommendations refer to 1996-2001 forest development plans, currently being considered for approval. The recommendations include:

  • clarification by government of the apparent discrepancy between the requirements of the Forest Practices Code, the timetable for implementation of the CCLUP, and, the consistency of the 1996-2001 forest development plans with the higher level plan;
  • starting the sub-unit planning processes required by the CCLUP as quickly as possible, beginning with the Special Resource Development Zone sub-units;
  • holding cooperative sessions to review all the 1996-2001 plans in a sub-unit;
  • providing additional financial support for the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Resource Board and providing them with independent technical researchers;
  • use an independent arbitrator to make interim decisions;
  • consideration of an extension of the 1995-2000 plans for six months to allow more time for integration of the timber and non-timber targets of the CCLUP into the plans.

In addition, two recommendations address the future declaration of other higher level plans in other parts of the province. These address the need for:

  • clear statements from government about whether higher level plans are to be implemented in advance of formal declaration; and
  • clear implementation guidelines and a feasible timetable for incorporating the objectives and targets into operational plans.

Board Chair Keith Moore released the report on Friday, December 6 in Williams Lake. This followed an opportunity for all the organizations involved in the complaint to provide comments to the Board on a draft report released in October, 1996.

The report results from the investigation of a complaint asserting that 1995-2000 forest development plans in the Quesnel River watershed were not consistent with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land-Use Plan (CCLUP) and would prevent the achievement of the management objectives of the CCLUP.

Although the complaint is about the Quesnel River watershed, the Board’s report and recommendations have implications for the larger area of the CCLUP and for other parts of the province where land-use plans are expected to be declared in future.

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 administrative reviews and appeals.

December 6, 1996