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

Just Posted

Brenda and Steve Smith with a photo of Derek Descoteau. It’s been five years since Derek was murdered in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved Chemainus murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Fast action by Chemainus Fire Department crews prevented a motorhome fire from inflicting more serious damage on adjacent homes. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Fast action by Chemainus crews limits the damage from motorhome fire

Adjacent homes under threat from intense blaze

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

North Cowichan Coun. Christopher Justice said he believes the community will not be served well with the resignation of Chris Crowther from the OCP advisory council. (File photo)
Member of North Cowichan’s OCP advisory committee quits

Chris Crowther said OCP process devisive

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Victoria police responded to a vehicle where this dog was found in distress due to the heat after being left inside. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Two Victoria distress calls a reminder that hot cars can be fatal to dogs left inside

Victoria police found two dogs in a car with an internal temperature of 47 C on Friday

A game camera near the Klahoose reservation on Cortes Island caught this glimpse of a truck leaving the woodlot at around 2:30 on Sunday morning. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation
Indigenous cutblock vandalised on Cortes Island, anti-logging element suspected

Ribbons pulled down, gravel poured into gas tank at Klahoose First Nation site

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

The province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

Most Read