Riparian area investigation
BC Ombudsperson Kim Carter has announced she has launched a systemic investigation into the ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations’ administration of the Riparian Areas Regulation.
The regulation is part of the province’s environmental protection measures and is intended to preserve fish habitat by protecting the areas next to streams and other water courses from potentially harmful residential, commercial and industrial development. The regulation applies to the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Shuswap regions.
As part of the investigation, Carter is providing an opportunity for members of the public affected by the regulation to provide input through a confidential online questionnaire at www.bcombudsperson.ca.
“Seventeen and a half per cent of BC’s land—its most populated areas—is covered by this regulation,” said Carter in a statement. “We have received a number of complaints from people affected by the process. If there are problems with the fair and reasonable administration of this process, our investigation may shed light on these gaps and any recommendations will be aimed at improving the administration of the Riparian Areas Regulation.”
The investigation will look at administrative fairness issues such as the adequacy of public information, the reliability of the process, monitoring compliance, enforcement of standards and complaint processes. The investigation will focus on identifying and resolving any underlying administrative unfairness and may be useful not only for this program, but also other environmental programs that follow similar processes, according to the statement.
The Office of the Ombudsperson receives enquiries and complaints about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction. Its role is to independently and impartially investigate these complaints to determine whether public agencies have acted fairly and reasonably and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures. In addition to investigating individual complaints, the Ombudsperson also conducts systemic investigations into complex issues.
Catalyst Paper Corporation has announced the appointment of Leslie Lederer, a director and chairman of the company, as the interim president and chief executive officer (CEO). The appointment takes effect on Kevin Clarke’s departure as Catalyst CEO and board member at the end of June.
A press release issued by Catalyst on Wednesday, June 19, stated that Lederer is a former industry executive with Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation with extensive experience in the industry, and a member of the Illinois Bar.
Clarke’s resignation was announced in April and the board initiated an executive search for his successor at that time. According to the release, Clarke is leaving the company and the board to return to his home in the state of New York where his family resides.
Lederer’s appointment will enable the board to complete the executive search in due course and the corporation believes it will facilitate a seamless transition once a new chief executive officer is selected.
Board audits company
BC’s Forest Practices Board is conducting an audit to examine the activities of Western Forest Products Inc. near Powell River the week of June 24.
The audit will examine timber harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, fire prevention and associated planning activities carried out by the company on Block 1 of Tree Farm Licence No. 39 over the past year.
Block 1 is located north of Malaspina Strait, south of Toba Inlet, east of Desolation Sound and west of Jervis Inlet. The area includes a variety of recreation opportunities including canoeing, hiking, boating and camping.
Once the audit work is completed, a report will be prepared. 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 then be released to the public and government.
The Forest Practices Board is BC’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 land, as well as appropriateness of government enforcement.