A second-growth forest on the north Island. (Zoë Ducklow)

A second-growth forest on the north Island. (Zoë Ducklow)

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Timber Sales and their licence holders in the North Island-Central Coast area will be audited next week by the Forest Practices Board.

Auditors will examine “timber harvesting, roads, bridges, silviculture, fire protection activities and associated planning,” covering a 13-month period from last September until Oct. 2, checking for compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

BC Timber Sales is a government agency that manages 20 per cent of B.C.’s annual timber cut. It auctions timber licences, contracts logging road construction and maintenance, and cultivates seedlings to reforest logged Crown land.

The agency has been criticized by environmental activists for auctioning timber sales in ecologically important zones. This audit will investigate adherence to current legislation, with includes some environmental protection requirements.

But the Forest Practices Board has no power to levy fines or penalties, just recommendations and “the weight of public opinion,” according to spokesperson Darlene Oman.

The review could be ready in as soon as three months, or up to a year if auditors find a lot of issues to address. A common infraction the board finds is fire hazards left over from logging activities.

Forest Practices Board was founded in 1995 by the NDP government with a mandate to check adherence to the Forest Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. BC Timber Sales was started in 2003 by the Liberal government.

The board conducts an average of 10 audits per year, which usually includes two BC Timber Sales audits in various regions.

RELATED: North Island area timber supply under review

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


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