Forest Practices Board Releases Results of an Audit of West Fraser Mills Ltd.

VICTORIA – West Fraser Mills Ltd. is meeting the Forest Practices Code requirements, except that its forest development plan did not include a strategy to address the risk from mountain pine beetle infestations, according to a Forest Practices Board audit that was released today.

While the company did not comply with a Code requirement to develop a management strategy to protect forest resources from the beetle, the Board recognized that West Fraser is not solely responsible. Government also has to play a role by developing a broader strategy to manage the risk to forest resources across the entire Williams Lake timber supply area (TSA).

“This is one of the best audit results for field forestry practices the Board has seen to date. The company’s performance on the ground is noteworthy.” said Board Vice Chair, Cindy Pearce.

The Board has recommended that the Ministry of Forests continue to develop a comprehensive beetle management strategy for the Williams Lake TSA. The Board also recommends that West Fraser include a beetle management strategy in the next forest development plan for its forest licence.

The audit examined operational planning, timber harvesting, silviculture, forest protection, and road construction, maintenance and deactivation activities carried out by West Fraser on Forest License A20020 between September 1996 and August 1997.

The licence includes operating areas in the north west portion of the Williams Lake Forest District and the eastern portion of the Chilcotin Forest District (located in Alexis Creek).

The Board does not have the ability to impose fines or penalties as a result of its audit findings, but may make recommendations, as they have in this case.

Two other audit reports were also released by the Board today: Slocan Forest Products – Radium Division in Invermere, and Tolko Forest Industries – Nicola Division in Merritt.

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. Auditing of forest practices and the appropriateness of government enforcement under the Code is one of its key roles. Other important responsibilities include investigating public complaints; conducting special investigations of any Code related forestry issues; participating in administrative reviews and appeals; and providing reports to the public and government on Board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964