Keywords:Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 96, 119(1)(a) (b).
Peter Grundmann appealed the decision of a Review Panel, which upheld a determination of a District Manager, that Mr. Grundmann had contravened section 96 of the Forest Practices Code when he cut trees on Crown land to build a cabin for his trapline. He was fined $1,709.
Mr. Grundmann argued that he used the felled trees to build a cabin to replace one that, he submitted, had been burnt during a Forest Service slashburn. He submitted that trappers make little money and cannot afford to purchase building materials for trapline cabins. He also argued that he did not know he was not allowed to cut trees without a permit due to what he believed was a lack of information available on the regulations for building trapline cabins.
The Board found that the destruction of Mr. Grundmann’s cabin by fire was not relevant to the appeal. The Board agreed with Mr. Grundmann that there was a need for more information to be provided to registered trappers on the issue of the laws relating to the harvesting of Crown timber for use in building trapline cabins. However, the Board found that ignorance of the law is no defence and that there was no dispute that Mr. Grundmann had cut Crown timber without authorization. Because of the small quantity of timber involved and the unusual circumstances surrounding the event, the Board reduced the penalty to $1,235, one third of the amount calculated under section 119(a) of the Code. The appeal was allowed in part.