Forest service roads (FSRs) are a highly valued part of the province’s transportation network. The audit assessed whether the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development managed safety and environmental risks on FSRs in accordance with its policies. While FSRs are built primarily to access timber for forestry operations, they are often used for other industrial and commercial purposes and provide important access to communities, private residences, recreation and wilderness areas. FSRs aren’t built or maintained to the same standards as public roadways, but proper upkeep is critical to help ensure the safety of road users and protect the environment.
The audit concluded that the ministry did not manage safety and environmental risks on FSRs in accordance with its policies. In 2019-2020, the natural resource districts received only about 25% of their budget requests for maintenance on roads they had deemed as a priority. And about $9 million worth of high-priority maintenance and repair work was unfunded. “We found that the ministry did not complete critical maintenance and repairs on roads, bridges and major culverts that are part of the 58,000 kilometres of FSRs in the province,” said Michael Pickup, auditor general. The audit also found that the ministry’s information on inventory, inspections and maintenance was inconsistent, difficult to share and, at times, inaccurate. These gaps made it challenging for the ministry to monitor and track maintenance activity. Recommendations The report includes nine recommendations to help the ministry meet its own expectations for undertaking inspection and maintenance work on FSRs. The recommendations include tracking information required to determine if inspections and repairs are completed on time and developing an approach to ensure that FSRs are adequately maintained.
Source: Pickup, Michael. “Management of Forest Service Roads.” Management of Forest Service Roads | Auditor General of British Columbia, 19 Jan. 2021, www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2021/management-forest-service-roads?fbclid=IwAR0QruMCNXLROnJ71bd-xlUx-CD6XkCfaKjTn67EWVE8JcosQAzFUOHRAX0.