A road closed sign is placed at the bottom of a steep hill after several snow storms made some roads unuseable in North Vancouver Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A road closed sign is placed at the bottom of a steep hill after several snow storms made some roads unuseable in North Vancouver Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Avalanche safety efforts on B.C. highways get solid marks from auditor general

Michael Pickup said report found avalanche deaths on B.C. highways are rare

British Columbia is effectively managing highway avalanche risks, says a report by the province’s auditor general that examined two decades of data.

Michael Pickup said Tuesday an audit by his office found avalanche deaths on B.C. highways are rare and road closures are declining, but improvements can still be made.

The audit reviewed historical data from 2000 to 2020 and examined results from the Transportation Ministry’s avalanche safety program from 2018 to 2020.

Pickup told a news conference there haven’t been any avalanche-related deaths on provincial highways in the last 20 years.

“And over the same time frame we have seen a decrease in both the frequency and duration of closures due to avalanches.”

The audit says the last highway avalanche deaths were in 1999 when two Transportation Ministry employees were caught in an avalanche.

Pickup said the audit reviewed data from a long period of time because the weather changes the severity of avalanche seasons.

The audit also found the ministry provides timely avalanche forecasts to highway users, maintenance contractors and emergency services.

It recommended that the ministry update the 1,600 avalanche paths it has mapped to reflect changes from a variety of factors, including vegetation growth, fires and logging activity.

Pickup said the ministry accepted the audit’s eight recommendations to improve highway user safety and reliability. In its response, the ministry has committed to update its avalanche path data by next winter.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Auditor GeneralAvalanche

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A boat caught on fire this morning (May 11) in Port Hardy. (Adam Harding/Port Hardy Fire Rescue Facebook photo)
Fishing boat catches fire in Port Hardy, owner’s quick thinking puts out flames

The incident is a good reminder to always have a working fire extinguisher onboard your boat

School District 85 logo
Fort Rupert Elementary School gets funding from MusiCounts

The $1 million investment will support 95 schools

Agree or disagree with North Island Rising? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.
McQuarrie: Budget meeting drama caused by unruly councillor

It was an amazing and unexpected response to what should have been… Continue reading

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Medical clinic gives update on health care in Port McNeill

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read