Decision Date: January 24, 2002
Panel: Kristen Eirikson, Bruce Devitt, Jim Hackett
Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 64(1)(b), 117; Forest Road Regulation – ss. 20(c); road deactivation; temporary deactivation; economic benefit; stumpage appraisal cost allowance
The Forest Practices Board appealed the decision of a Review Panel to vary a determination of a District Manager. Although the Review Panel confirmed that Zeidler Forest Industries Ltd. (“Zeidler”) had contravened section 64(1)(b) of the Forest Practices Code by failing to temporarily deactivate part of a forest road, and that it had contravened section 20(c) of the Forest Road Regulation by failing to carry out temporary deactivation to the required level, it reduced the total penalty from $80,000 to $5,000.
The Commission considered whether the penalty imposed against Zeidler should include an amount that reflected the actual value of the road rebuilding costs remitted back to Zeidler as a stumpage appraisal cost allowance. The Commission found that Zeidler received a stumpage reduction it would not have received if it had not committed the contraventions, and that this resulted in an economic benefit of $44, 157 to Zeidler. The Commission also found that Zeidler received an economic benefit of at least $1000 by failing to initially construct waterbars or cross-ditches along the road.
In addition, the Commission determined that a further penalty of $10,000 was appropriate considering all of the relevant factors enumerated under section 117(4)(b) of the Code. In determining the $10,000 penalty, the Commission considered the need for a significant deterrent, Zeidler’s co-operativeness and efforts to correct the contravention, and the gravity and magnitude of the contravention, as indicated by significant damage to the road, the loss of mature and immature trees, decreased soil productivity in a riparian area smothered by a landslide, the loss of wildlife habitat and short-term damage to fish habitat. Consequently, the total penalty for the contraventions was $55,157. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.