Board to audit Cowichan Lake community forest operation

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will audit the forest planning and practices of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative in the South Island forest district this fall.

Auditors will examine operational planning, harvesting, roads, silviculture and fire protection activities carried out over the past year. The cooperative – made up of community, business and economic development organizations – operates a forest licence 27 kilometres southwest of Lake Cowichan.

The board carries out periodic independent audits to see if government and forest companies are complying with the Forest Practices Code. The Cowichan Lake cooperative’s operation was chosen randomly and not on the basis of location or level of performance.

Three professional foresters, a professional geoscientist and a chartered accountant will form the audit team. The team will be in the licence area for about five days beginning Sept. 10 examining plans, cutblocks and roads. Once the field work is done, the team will report its findings to the board. Anyone who may be adversely affected by the audit results will be given a chance to respond directly to the board. The board will then prepare its final audit report and release it to the public and government.

To date, the board has completed compliance audits of 41 forest companies and Ministry of Forests small business forest enterprise programs. Nineteen audits were clean, meaning the forest planning and practices met code requirements in all significant respects. Twenty-two audits were qualified, meaning there was some significant non-compliance with the code. The board is undertaking nine audits this year, which include one area-based audit, a range audit of both compliance and enforcement, and audits of forest practices on Nisga’a lands.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog, established in 1995, that publishes reports about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent.
The board’s main roles under the Forest Practices Code are:

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

Bill Cafferata,Chair
Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

Jacqueline Waldorf
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 387-7964
1 800 994-5899

August 27, 2001