Most Kemess Mine Power Line Issues Addressed
VICTORIA – Kemess Mine has addressed most of the environmental issues identified in a Forest Practices Board investigation, but there are still environmental concerns related to skid bridges near the power line, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
Today’s report is a follow-up to the board’s 2000 special investigation of the Kemess Mine power line, located in the Mackenzie Forest District in northern B.C. The board found that five out of six breaches of the Forest Practices Code identified in 2000 have been adequately addressed, including removing logging debris from streams and mitigating environmental damage at four sites along the power line corridor. The sixth breach, related to the cumulative impact of over 169 temporary bridges on streams along the power line, has only been partially addressed.
“We appreciate that Kemess Mine has acted on most of the problems identified in our previous report,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “We remain concerned, however, that 53 skid bridges have not been removed or upgraded and continue to pose a significant threat to the environment.”
“These bridges have a temporary lifespan and were supposed to have been removed once the power line was completed. They are contributing sediment to fish streams and are at risk of collapsing if left there without reinforcement.”
Kemess Mine is planning an inspection of the power line in 2004. As part of this inspection, the board recommends that the remaining 53 bridges be assessed by a qualified professional engineer and a certified professional in erosion and sediment control; and that Kemess Mine complete all remedial actions recommended by these professionals as quickly as possible.
The follow-up report points out that none of the three regulatory ministries (Energy and Mines; Water, Land and Air Protection; and Forests) has taken any steps to address the environmental issues related to the temporary bridges.
The board recommends that the ministries of Energy and Mines, Forests, and Water, Land and Air Protection review the professional reports arising from the 2004 inspection and take appropriate actions to ensure Kemess Mine addresses any concerns or environmental harm that is identified.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent. The board’s mandate has been retained under the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). 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 / 1 800 994-5899
April 8, 2004