B.C. not effectively overseeing safety of dams: auditor general

B.C. not effectively overseeing safety of dams: auditor general
BC Auditor General / YouTube

British Columbia’s auditor general says the provincial government has not effectively overseen the safety of the 1,900 dams it regulates.

In a news release, Michael Pickup says the Ministry of Forests, Land, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has not adequately verified or enforced dam owners’ compliance with key safety requirements.

The report says that while the owners of the dams are responsible for their safety, the ministry has the mandate to see that they comply with provincial regulations.

“The ministry had several significant shortcomings in its oversight of dam safety,” said Michael Pickup, auditor general. “Notably, we found that the ministry did not adequately verify or enforce dam owners’ compliance with key regulatory safety requirements. While owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of their dams, part of the ministry’s mandate is to oversee their compliance.”

It also says the ministry had gaps in its records, which resulted in it being unaware of some dams that it should have been regulating.

It says the audit didn’t include dams that are being built, like Site C, a megaproject crossing the Peace River just west of Fort St. John.

The auditor general made nine recommendations, including improving processes to verify compliance, all of which have been accepted by the ministry.

To read the full report, click the following link: https://www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2021/oversight-dam-safety-british-columbia

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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