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

As the BC CDC reports on May 5 declining pandemic numbers and only one case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert, the vehicles parked outside the local testing center also decrease. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert COVID-19 numbers down again

Second outbreak at Acropolis declared over

Northern Health Authority is requesting local residents to refrain from attending the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital unless necessary, as some services have been affected by a fire on May 5. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Fire at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital creates a reduction in services

Northern Health is asking residents to not attend hospital unless necessary

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Prince Rupert Firefighters Dylan Sidoni, Jon Bonneschranz and Derek Kormendi were commended in April with receiving the department’s first life-saving award, after they rescued a male victim from a burning building on Oct. 5, 2020. Tim Dopko, not present, was awarded Firefighter of the Year. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Firefighters receive awards

New awards presented commending outstanding efforts for life-saving and firefighter of the year

Shawn Pettitt retired as Port Edward Fire Cheif and was honoured by the crew with the presentation of a specially engraved fire axe on April 20. (Photo: Supplied)
30-years of dedication to fire department

Retired Port Edward fire chief’s service is honoured by department

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

Most Read