Preliminary and Final Decisions

Canadian Forest Products Ltd. v. Government of British Columbia

Decision Date:
February 24, 1998
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Forest Practices Board, Third Party


Decision Date: February 16, 1998

Panel: Toby Vigod, Kristen Eirikson, Katherine Lewis

Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – s. 67(1), (2); Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation – ss. 7, 8, 16; watercourse; definition of “stream”.

In this case Ministry of Forests staff identified a watercourse, in a cutblock logged by a contractor working for Canadian Forest Products, which had no Riparian Management Area and which had apparently been ignored during logging operations. There were machine tracks and logs across the watercourse. A Review Panel confirmed the determination that Canfor had contravened section 67(1)(d) and 67(2)(a) of the Code, sections 7(1), 8(1), and 16(1) of the Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation, and a penalty of $3000. Canfor appealed the decision on the grounds that the watercourse did not meet the definition of “stream” for the purposes of the Code and the Regulation.

The Commission noted that “stream” is defined in the Regulation as “a water-course, having an alluvial sediment bed, formed when water flows on a perennial or intermittent basis between continuous definable banks”. The Commission found that the watercourse was a stream for the purposes of the Code and the Regulation. The fact that the watercourse exhibited a “distributary channel network” without continuous definable banks for 50 meters of its length outside of the cutblock was found to be irrelevant to the final decision as to its status as a stream. The remainder of the watercourse, including its entire length inside the block, was found to contain water at different times of the year, confined in a channel inside continuous definable banks. The Commission also found that the watercourse had sufficient alluvial sediment to meet the definition. Finally, it was found that the Appellant’s responsibility was not relieved by the fact that the watercourse was not identified on maps included in the approved logging plan. The decision of the Review Panel was upheld and the appeal was dismissed.