Investigation into Furlong Creek logging complaint results in resolution
VICTORIA– A complaint investigation into logging practices at Furlong Creek near Terrace has resulted in resolution between the complainant and the licensee, according to a Forest Practices Board report issued today.
A complaint was filed with the board after a member of the public visited the logging site and saw conditions that caused concern. Further consultation between the board investigator, the licensee and the complainant revealed that, while the complainant assumed that work was complete at the time the complaint was filed, in fact it was not, and the licensee had subsequently returned and finished its work.
“It is commendable that the complainant and licensee were able to engage in informed consultation with our investigator and arrive at an understanding of the situation,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “When a complaint about forest or range practices is received by the Forest Practices Board, it is always our preference to work with the parties involved to see if we can help them resolve concerns through identifying additional information or developing potential solutions they can all agree to.”
In this case, although generally familiar with forest planning in the area, the complainant was surprised by the cutblock because she had not seen it on a map. Under the Forest and Range Practices Act, licensees are not required to show cutblocks and roads in their forest stewardship plans.
As a means of improving communication and minimizing public “surprise” about cutblock locations without adding onerously to licensee requirements, board and forest district staff discussed whether a “roll-up” map of planned cutblocks and roads could somehow be provided to the public. The district is looking into putting such a map on its web site, using digital data supplied by licensees.
“If an information map is created, it will serve as a positive example addressing a key public involvement gap in the current forestry legislation,” said Fraser.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board:
- audits forest and range practices on public lands;
- audits appropriateness of government enforcement;
- investigates public complaints;
- undertakes special investigations of current forestry issues;
- participates in administrative appeals; and
- makes recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
October 1, 2007