Sunshine Coast Small Business Forestry Program Undergoes Random Audit By Forest Practices Board

Victoria – Today, the Forest Practices Board began the fieldwork portion of an audit of forest planning and practices of the Ministry of Forests’ Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP) in the Sunshine Coast Forest District. The program has operations located throughout the Sunshine Coast, from the town of Gibsons at the south end, past Powell River to Toba Inlet at the north end.

This is a full scope audit that will examine construction, maintenance and deactivation of roads as well as logging, silviculture, protection and operational planning activities for compliance with the Forest Practices Code.

The Board’s six-person audit team, consisting of professional foresters, engineers and auditors, will be in the area over the next two weeks performing both office and field examinations of numerous timber harvest areas and sections of roads.

The program was selected randomly from the 40 SBFEPs in the province, not on the basis of location or past performance. The Forest Practices Board is required to carry out periodic independent audits to determine government and forest company compliance with the planning and forest practices requirements of the Forest Practices Code.

Once the fieldwork has been completed, the audit team will provide a report on the findings to the members of the Forest Practices Board. Any party

that may be adversely affected by the audit findings must be given an opportunity to respond before the Board prepares its final report and recommendations and releases it to the public and government.

This audit is one of nine the Board will undertake in 1999. The Board has completed 22 audits since 1996 – 17 forest companies and five Ministry of Forests Small Business Forest Enterprise Programs. Eighteen of these audits have been published. Six were clean audits, meaning the forest planning and practices met Code requirements in all significant respects. The remainder were qualified audits, meaning that there was some significant non-compliance with the Code. Most of the non-compliance related to logging practices near streams and logging road construction and maintenance.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent agency, established in 1995, that provides reports to the public and government about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent. The Board’s main roles are: auditing forest practices; undertaking investigations in response to public complaints; undertaking special investigations of any Code-related forestry issues; participating in administrative reviews and appeals; and providing reports to the public and government on Board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

September 13, 1999