Aspen Planers passes provincial audit

An audit of 0866740 B.C. Ltd., held by Aspen Planers Ltd., on forest licence A18700, has found compliance with most requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, according to a report released on May 23.

The forest licence is in the Cascades Natural Resource District. The area audited is west of Lillooet, and includes Seton, Anderson, Gun, Downton and Carpenter Lakes and the Bridge River. Nearby communities include Bralorne and Gold Bridge.

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All activities carried out by Aspen Planers, between July 2015 and November 2017, were audited, included harvesting timber, constructing, maintaining and deactivating forestry roads, reforesting logged sites, wildfire protection and associated planning.

"The audit did find some issues with how Aspen had managed visual quality," said Bruce Larson, vice-chair of the Forest Practices Board.

"Visual quality objectives were not met in a scenic area visible from Highway 40. However, it was clear that Aspen has recently improved its visual-quality management efforts, so this was not considered a significant finding."

The audit also found that Aspen assesses the fire hazard for its harvest blocks as part of the final road and block inspection, but its assessments do not adequately consider the risk of a fire starting and spreading. This is considered an area for improvement.

With regard to timber harvest harvesting, the report states, “Harvesting was conducted in accordance with the requirements of legislation and site plans. Soil disturbance was well managed and minimized, and natural drainage patterns were maintained.

Riparian and cultural heritage features were accurately identified and protected. Auditors had no concerns about harvesting.”

The report notes there is a high level of First Nations and public interest in forestry activities in the area. “The maintenance of scenic areas, visual quality, and the protection of cultural heritage features are important to these communities.”

The licensee is permitted to harvest 228 534 cubic metres of timber each

year under the terms of its forest licence.

Aspen Planers Ltd. purchased 0866740 B.C. Ltd. (the licensee) in 2009 from Ainsworth Lumber Co. Limited. Aspen's staff manages the forest licence from offices in Lillooet and Merritt

The audit was originally scheduled to begin on July 1, 2017, but due to the provincial state of emergency brought on by extreme wildfire activity, fieldwork was postponed

until late October of last year.

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 audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

 

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