Decision Date: October 23, 1998
Panel: Rob Kyle, Deborah Todd, Geza Toth
Keywords: Forest Act – s. 143(1)(c), 144(3), 105(1); Coast Appraisal Manual – s. 2.2(10), 2.3(4), 4.5.3; definitions of “calculation”, “reckoning” and “published appraisal parameter”; Re Maple Lodge Farms v. Government of Canada et al. (1982) 137 D.L.R. (3d) 588; Lloyd v. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (1971) 20 D.L.R. (3d) 181 (BCCA).
MacMillan Bloedel (“MB”) appealed the Deputy Chief Forester’s decision upholding a Regional Manager’s refusal to reappraise the stumpage on a Cutting Permit for a Tree Farm Licence held by MB. MB had sought a reappraisal of its stumpage, in accordance with s. 2.3(4) of the Coast Appraisal Manual (“CAM”), due to an error in the Appraisal Data Sheet submitted by MB to the Ministry of Forests. The error consisted of a “no” answer on the Data Sheet to the question “is [road] maintenance required?”, when it should have been a “yes”. MB argued that this was a “mathematical error” as defined in s. 2.3(4) of the CAM as it was either an “error in a calculation made as part of the appraisal data sheet” or an error in the “application of published appraisal parameters”.
The Board found that the use of the word “calculation” in this section of the CAM was not meant to cover an error in the choice of “yes” or “no” in completing the Data Sheet. The Board also found that “Routine Maintenance and Deactivation” is not a “published appraisal parameter” as that term is commonly understood in stumpage appraisal circles. Therefore, the Deputy Chief Forester and the Regional Manager were correct in not performing a full reappraisal under s. 2.3(4) of the CAM. However, the Board concluded that although MB originally pursued a reappraisal under s. 2.3 of the CAM, the Ministry fettered its discretion by not considering the error under s. 2.2(10) of the CAM due to its inflexible application of a 21-day guideline. As there is no limitation period specified in that section, the Ministry should have considered the objection on its merits. The time interval between issuing a Stumpage Advisory Notice and filing the objection is only one factor in assessing the validity of the objection. Finally, the Board noted that s. 4.5.3 of the CAM was a relevant factor which should have been considered by the Ministry.
Accordingly, the Board ordered that the stumpage determination be remitted back to the Regional Appraisal Coordinator for redetermination based on a corrected road maintenance and deactivation cost estimate. The appeal was allowed.