Solutions over blame

This story raises a number of concerns with the Forest Practices Board’s investigation into a landslide at Laird Creek near Balfour.

Re: “Balfour slide report criticized” (first appeared on nelsonstar.com on March 19)

This story raises a number of concerns with the Forest Practices Board’s investigation into a landslide at Laird Creek near Balfour. We are reviewing the complainant’s concerns and will be discussing them with the complainants directly.

However, I would like to inform Star readers about the role of the Forest Practices Board in matters such as this. It is not the role of the board to hold forest professionals accountable for what happens on public forest land.

That responsibility lies with the professional associations that regulate the forest professionals who plan, carry out and supervise forestry activities.

The Forest Practices Board investigates compliance with provincial forest laws and can recommend improvements to forest legislation and operations. One of our guiding principles is to emphasize solutions over assigning blame.  In this case, we saw some opportunities to improve future forestry practices and made recommendations to ensure that happens.

We empathize fully with the residents whose water was impacted and we strongly believe that water quality must be protected during forestry operations. In support of that belief, we are currently conducting a special investigation looking at how well the current forest legislation is protecting water quality in community watersheds across the province.

We are also preparing a bulletin on professional reliance, and a special report on how risk is assessed in decision-making, partly triggered by this complaint.

All of those reports will be published later this year. For more information on the Board, visit our website at gov.bc.ca.

R.A. (Al) Gorley

Chair, Forest Practices Board