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Local sawmill found to have 'unsound practices'
Ed Note: The following is a press release issued byt the Forest Practices Board.
A Forest Practices Board investigation into a complaint about the forest practices of Meadow Creek Cedar Ltd. near Kootenay Lake found failures to comply with forestry legislation and unsound practices, according to the investigation report released Friday.
"We found that some of Meadow Creek's road, harvesting and silviculture activities did not comply with legislation, and some silviculture, protection and road construction practices were unsound," said board chair Al Gorley. "Meadow Creek did not implement recommendations made by professional foresters and engineers and this led to unacceptable environmental risks."
"This is an isolated case and these practices are not typical of those we usually see in our audits and investigations," Gorley added.
The report notes that government's compliance monitoring of Meadow Creek's operations was appropriate, but it was not effective in getting the company to improve its performance.
"In cases where there is a continuous and prolonged contravention of a licensee's obligations and continuing evidence of unsound forest practices, government needs to be able to act much sooner." said Gorley. "Failure to do so undermines public confidence in the Forest and Range Practices Act , and the ability of government, tenure holders and the professionals that work for them, to manage the forest resource competently."
Finally, the report notes that unmaintained roads in the Healy Creek drainage, an area removed from forest harvesting to protect mountain caribou habitat, are creating a risk to fisheries resources in Healy Creek and the Lardeau River, including the world's largest rainbow trout species, Gerrard rainbow trout. The report makes a number of recommendations, including deactivating roads to protect fisheries in this drainage.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.'s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board is required to investigate public complaints about forest planning and practices.