The Forest Practices Board is conducting an audit of Skeena Sawmills’ tree farm and forest licences this week.
Announcing the audit earlier this month, the FPB said the audit is a common practice in the forest industry.
“It’s not based on past performance or anything like that,” said FPB spokesperson Kairry Nguyen. “We look at operational and strategic priorities. Maybe there are risks occurring —we look at everything and make sure they’re doing everything they’re required to do.”
In selecting Skeena Sawmills the independent watchdog first chose an assortment of companies at random from the eight natural resource districts in B.C. After a review of operations the list was shortened for an audit of compliance with the Forest & Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
Skeena Sawmills said they welcome the scrutiny as an opportunity to measure their operations.
“We’re in the middle of the audit right now and signs are looking pretty good,” said Skeena Sawmills woodlands manager, Greg Demille. “We feel we’re doing pretty well, so it’s nice to have that check.
“If there are areas of our business that need improvement we’ll certainly follow up with [FPB’s] recommendations.”
The audit will examine whether harvesting, roads, silviculture, fire protection and associated planning, carried out between Aug. 1, 2016, and Aug. 17, 2018, met the requirements of the two acts.
Nguyen said the FPB doesn’t have the power to enforce their findings, or fine for violations.
“We find that the majority of the time [the companies] carry through and do follow the recommendations to make improvements, or change their practices,” Nguyen said.
Once the work is complete any party affected by the findings will have a chance to respond before the final report and recommendations are released to the public and government.