Decision Date: July 20, 1999
Panel: Gerry Burch, Brenda Milbrath, David Ormerod
Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 24, 74(1), 98, 123, 224; grazing licence; range use plan.
This was an appeal against an administrative review decision upholding a determination of the District Manager that the Harfmans breached sections 74(1) and 98 of the Code by failing to graze livestock in accordance with the Code, and by allowing livestock to graze on Crown range without authority.
The Harfmans requested that the Review Panel’s decision be wholly rescinded, on the basis that the determination was made in bad faith and demonstrated bias.
The Commission found that there was no substance to the Harfmans’ charges that Ministry of Forests officials acted in bad faith, were biased against them, or in any other way were acting in a manner inconsistent with the professional discharge of their duties. On the contrary, the Commission found that the Harfmans displayed considerable disdain for Ministry officials and were uncooperative in dealing with Ministry concerns about improper range use.
The Commission found that the Harfmans failed to maintain range infrastructure or to adhere to the rotational grazing requirements as required by their grazing licence, and that they were continuously in violation of their grazing licence. The Commission found that the Harfmans displayed disregard for the privileges accorded them under the grazing licence, jeopardized the health and productivity of Crown range, caused inconvenience and expense for other range users and neighbours, and caused an excessive workload for Ministry of Forests officials administering the Crown range.
The Commission found that the Review Panel erred in not upholding the contraventions of sections 74(1) and 98 prior to May 1, 1998, as it was clear that the grandparenting provisions of the Code applied to Schedule B of their grazing licence.
The Commission found that a penalty was called for in order to deter the Harfmans from continuing this pattern of illegal and harmful use of Crown range. The Commission confirmed the original penalty of $4,000 for contraventions of section 74(1) and section 98 of the Code. The appeal was dismissed and the District Manager’s quantum of penalty was reinstated.