Significant non-compliance found in MacMillan Bloedel’s practices on Vancouver Island’s west coast

VICTORIA -A compliance audit found serious problems with aspects of MacMillan Bloedel Ltd.’s operations in Tree Farm Licence 44 on west Vancouver Island, the Forest Practices Board announced today.

The board found instances of significant non-compliance with the Forest Practices Code in windthrow management, road construction and bridge maintenance. Otherwise, operational planning; timber harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; silviculture and fire-protection activities by MacMillan Bloedel – now Weyerhaeuser – during the period of the audit complied with the code.

Tree Farm Licence 44 is near Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield. All of the company’s activities in Clayoquot Sound were in compliance with the code.

The areas of significant code non-compliance were:

  • Windthrow management: the licensee failed to comply with pruning prescriptions designed to reduce the number of trees blown down by high winds.
  • Road construction: culverts were poorly built in one part of the tree farm licence, and the licensee failed to comply with construction plans for operating in steep terrain.
  • Bridge maintenance: the licensee’s inspection program failed to provide the required information and assurance about adequate bridge conditions. Serious deficiencies in bridge maintenance had not been reported or addressed in recent inspections.

Weyerhaeuser has advised the board it has implemented a number of remedial actions since the audit took place, including improvements to its bridge inspection procedures.

“While these non-compliant practices did not necessarily result in harm to person or the environment, their frequency created the potential for greater cumulative environmental effects,” said board vice-chair John Cuthbert.

Tree Farm Licence 44 was chosen at random for this compliance audit, which looked at specific practices conducted between July 1998 and August 1999.

Weyerhaeuser has until March 30 to respond to the board, confirming that it has addressed the board’s recommendations for ensuring compliance with the code. Also, the Ministry of Forests’ South Island forest district has until April 30 to confirm that Weyerhaeuser has addressed the recommendations in the audit report.

This is the 37th compliance audit completed by the board. Sixteen were clean audits, meaning the forest planning and practices met code requirements in all significant respects. Twenty-one were qualified audits, meaning that there was some significant non-compliance with the code. Most non-compliance was related to logging practices near streams and the construction, maintenance and deactivation of logging roads.

The board’s main roles under the Forest Practices Code are:

  • Investigating public complaints.
  • Auditing government enforcement of the code.
  • Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
  • Undertaking special investigations of code-related forestry issues.
  • Participating in administrative reviews and appeals.
  • Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964