Good Marks for Bridge Maintenance on Forestry Roads
VICTORIA – A new special investigation gives good marks to the Ministry of Forests in maintaining bridges on forest service roads, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
The investigation examined 268 bridges in six forest districts across the province. Board investigators assessed each bridge against legal requirements for inspections and maintenance during the period from 1995 to 2004.
“The board is pleased to see good performance by the ministry in this important aspect of forest management,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “We found high levels of compliance with bridge maintenance standards, even during periods of organizational change within the ministry.”
The investigation found the Ministry of Forests conducted inspections on time in more than 75 per cent of cases surveyed. The other cases were considered low safety risks as many of those bridges were in isolated locations and not accessible to the public. In over 96 per cent of cases surveyed, structural deficiencies such as bridge rot were addressed appropriately to minimize risk to the public and industrial users.
The investigation identified 10 bridges with structural deficiencies that presented actual or potential safety risks. Since the investigation was concluded, the ministry has addressed five of those cases and five others remain outstanding.
“Under new forestry legislation, there are fewer procedural requirements for bridge maintenance,” said Fraser. “The board wants to see this good performance continue in the future and has made recommendations to this effect.”
The report recommends that the Ministry of Forests address the remaining five bridges with structural deficiencies, by July 31, 2005. Further, the board has asked the ministry to indicate how it will ensure it can deliver the results required for bridge maintenance under the Forest and Range Practices Act, by Dec. 31, 2005.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the achievement of its intent. The board’s main roles under FRPA are:
- Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
- Auditing government enforcement of FRPA.
- Investigating public complaints.
- Undertaking special investigations of forestry issues.
- Participating in administrative appeals.
- Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
May 11, 2005