Forest Practices Board audit says Canfor failed to maintain bridges near Fort Nelson

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FORT NELSON, B.C. – An audit by the Forest Practices Board has found that Canadian Forest Products Ltd. failed to maintain 10 bridges in the Fort Nelson area as required by the provincial Forest and Range Practices Act.

The audit examined activities under forest licence A17007, which is located in the Fort Nelson Resource District in northeastern B.C. The Board says that Canfor has not harvested any trees on this licence since 2008, so the audit was limited to road and silviculture obligations, primarily maintenance and reforestation. Canfor has an active silviculture program, and met all requirements for planting and establishing new trees on harvested sites.

Board vice-chair Bruce Larson said in the audit that the bridges examined in the audit had structural deficiencies, but were not closed or load-rated to warn users. Larson said that the discovery was a significant concern because two of the bridges had been used by oil and gas companies, and four others were accessible by pick-up trucks.

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“Anyone could have driven over them,” said Larson. However, the audit notes that, “Canfor responded to these findings in a positive and timely manner by removing one bridge and restricting access and posting new signs for the others.”

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 the provincial government.

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