Professional foresters will investigate concerns about roads

September 20, 2017

By: The Working Forest Staff

VANCOUVER – Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Association of BC Forest Professionals are taking action to address concerns raised by the Forest Practices Board about the construction of resource roads in steep terrain.

In its report released September 13, the Forest Practices Board (FPB) cited several instances in which professional guidelines and standards for construction on steep terrain were not followed, resulting in unsafe segments of road.

“The Forest Practices Board report points to some troubling examples. As the regulatory bodies overseeing engineers, geoscientists, and forest professionals, we are committed to upholding high standards of professional practice,” said Ann English, P.Eng., CEO and Registrar for Engineers and Geoscientists BC. “We’ll be working together to gather more information in order to assure this work is undertaken with the appropriate professional oversight, and by individuals equipped with the necessary skills and competencies for this work.”

Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Association of BC Forest Professionals are the independent regulators of professional engineering and geoscience, and professional forestry. The two associations have an existing Joint Practice Board composed of experienced professional engineers and forest professionals who work together to provide standards, guidance and other direction to professionals on forest crossings and forest bridges.

Over the past year, both associations have worked with the Forest Practices Board to provide their members with specialized professional development around construction of roads on steep slopes. In 2012, the associations also jointly released Guidelines for Professional Services in the Forest Sector – Forest Roads, which sets the standard of professional practice for the construction, maintenance and deactivations of forest roads. The guidelines were cited by the FPB in its report as the standard of practice to follow.

“Forest road safety and environmental protection are essential for everyone working in the woods,” said Christine Gelowitz, RPF, ABCFP CEO. “Planning, constructing and managing roads on steep terrain is a complex area of professional practice involving multiple stakeholders. This report has brought some important issues to our attention. We welcome any information that can help us minimize risk and improve safety and environmental protection.”

Professional associations recognize that the public expects development projects in the natural environment be directed by regulated professionals to ensure projects are conducted safely, professionally, and sustainably. Where the use of a regulated professional is absent or insufficient, the professions may enforce legislation or undertake internal discipline procedures.

The Association of BC Forest Professionals and Engineers and Geoscientists BC will be responding to the FPB by the requested date of March 31, 2018 and advising them of the steps planned or taken to address the professional issues identified.

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