Small Forest Operator Faulted in Board Audit
VICTORIA –Forest companies in British Columbia are continuing to do a good job at planting and tending new forests in logged areas, the Forest Practices Practices Code.
The finding was reported in a board compliance audit of the BC Timber Sales Program (BCTS) and timber sale licence holders in the district, which includes the Invermere and Cranbrook Timber Supply Areas. BC Timber Sales is an independent organization within the Ministry of Forests and Range, created to develop Crown timber for auction, establish market price and capture the value of the asset for the public.
With one exception, the audit found full compliance by BCTS and its timber sale licence holders with all requirements of forest practices legislation. The significant non-compliance concerned the road construction and upgrading activities of a timber sale licence holder which could potentially impact nearby fish streams. The ministry is now conducting its own investigation into the board’s finding.
“This non-compliance finding is serious and represents an ongoing threat to a fish-bearing stream,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “This licence holder did not follow the conditions of the road permit, which were designed to prevent damage to the adjacent stream. Sediment is likely continuing to enter the stream from this road, because of the poor drainage systems.”
The board notes that BCTS is not legally responsible for either the road itself or the permit to use the road, which was approved by the Ministry of Forests and Range. However, BCTS voluntarily attempted to repair the damage in order to stop sediment from entering the stream. These efforts, while well-intentioned, were not entirely effective and the board believes BCTS could improve its performance in this area.
“Once the ministry has completed its investigation, the board may undertake a special investigation into the approval and enforcement of this road permit, if we determine this additional review would be in the public interest,” said Fraser.
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
April 12, 2006