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Audit of Canfor’s Mackenzie operations finds bridge issues

An audit of Canfor’s forest licence in the Mackenzie Natural Resource District found the company’s forestry activities complied with the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, except for bridge construction and maintenance.

According to the Province, one bridge was not properly built, and 11 other bridges had apparent structural deficiencies that were not addressed.

All of these bridges were on roads accessible to the public.

“The legislation requires that bridges be properly built, so they are safe for industrial users,” said Acting Chair of the Forest Practices Board, Bruce Larson.

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“The newly constructed bridge did not follow the plans prepared by a professional engineer and was not safe for industrial use. The legislation also requires licensees to maintain bridges, and if they find structural deficiencies, the bridges must be repaired, closed to users, or have signs posted to limit the weight of vehicles permitted to cross the bridge.”

Larson said Canfor did not follow these requirements.

He added that since the audit, Canfor has responded in a positive and timely manner by rebuilding the first bridge according to the plans, completing bridge inspections, and removing four of the bridges with deficiencies.

“Canfor is working to address the remaining bridges with the Ministry of Forests and local communities that depend on these roads and bridges for access,” Larson said.

In addition to road and bridge construction. maintenance, and deactivation activities, the audit examined all planning, timber-harvesting, reforestation and wildfire-protection activities carried out between July 2020 and October 2021 under forest licence A15384 in the Mackenzie Timber Supply Area.

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