West Fraser Mills’ TFL near Terrace Gets Good Audit

Victoria – West Fraser Mills Ltd.’s forest practices in Tree Farm Licence 41 generally complied with the Forest Practices Code, according to a Forest Practices Board audit released today.

Only one instance of significant non-compliance with the code was identified. The tree farm licence is managed by the Skeena Sawmills Division of West Fraser and is south of Terrace, with operations in the Kitimat Valley, around the Douglas Channel and near Kemano. “This is a high degree of compliance, considering the difficult conditions in TFL 41,” said board chair Keith Moore. “West Fraser operates in remote areas with steep terrain and many streams and rivers, most of which contain fish. There was a problem with two fish streams in one cutblock that were incorrectly classified, but overall, West Fraser did a good job of meeting code requirements.”

The audit identified two other forest management concerns. These are not considered non-compliance with code requirements by West Fraser, but are important forest planning and practice issues.

West Fraser’s forest development plan did not specify ways to protect important non-timber resources from the effects of forestry activities. “The board has recommended West Fraser specify measures to protect non-timber forest resources, such as wildlife habitat, in its forest development plans,” said Moore. “And we recommend that government move quickly to legally establish higher-level plans under the code. This will assist West Fraser and other forest companies to address these important resources in their forest development plans.” The audit also identified four old road systems with the potential to harm the environment. The roads are in unstable terrain and may cause landslides. The roads were built before the code was enacted in 1995, and therefore West Fraser is not legally responsible under the code for maintaining or deactivating them. The board has recommended that the government and West Fraser address the stability of these road systems.

The audit examined the activities of West Fraser, carried out between September 1997 and September 1998, in operational planning (including forest development plans, silviculture prescriptions and logging plans), timber harvesting, silviculture, fire protection and construction, maintenance and deactivation of roads.

Tree Farm Licence 41 was selected for audit randomly, not on the basis of location or level of performance. Since 1996, the board has undertaken 31 forest practices compliance audits. This is the 24th audit report to be published.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices. The board provides British Columbians with objective and independent assessments of the state of forest planning and practices in the province, compliance with the code, and the achievement of its intent.

The board’s main roles, established under the Forest Practices Code, are auditing forest practices, undertaking investigations in response to public complaints, investigating any code-related forestry issues, participating in administrative reviews and appeals and providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

  • 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.

Keith Moore,

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

Cathy Piazza,
Communications Officer

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964