By Laura Keil

Starting July 24th, the Forest Practices Board will be in town auditing the forest planning and practices of the Valemount Community Forest Company Ltd., specifically community forest agreements KQ5, K2T, and forest licence A93987.

A press release says auditors will examine whether timber harvesting, roads, bridges, silviculture, wildfire protection and associated planning carried out over an approx. two-year span between July 1st, 2021, and July 28th, 2023, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, and the Wildfire Act.

Communications person Shannon West says this is a routine audit. The board audits a sample of licence holders each year using a licence-selection process based on a modified random sample, not on past performance or public complaints. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and the appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

She says the field audit is planned for the week of July 24 to July 28. The report release date depends on the number and complexity of the findings and can take anywhere from three months to a year. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will be released to the public and provincial government. 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 Valemount Community Forest is in the Robson Valley Timber Supply Area in east-central B.C., and the territories of the Simpcw First Nation and Canim Lake Band. Community forests are forestry operations run for the benefit of the entire community by a local government, First Nation, or community-owned organization.

The Forest Practices Board says the audit area is both topographically and ecologically diverse, as reflected in the broad mix of tree species, the diversity of wildlife habitats and the wide variety of land uses in the area, including forestry, recreation, agriculture and protected areas.