Slocan Forest Products Ltd. (“Slocan”) appealed a Stumpage Advisory Notice (the “Notice”), issued by the Appraisal Coordinator for the Prince George Forest Region, Ministry of Forests (“MOF”). Slocan sought to have the Notice rescinded and to direct the Appraisal Coordinator to re-appraise the cutting permit using cost estimates taken from the Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fire (“ESSF”) biogeoclimatic zone section of the Interior Appraisal Manual (“IAM”), rather than the zone that was used originally.
The issue in this appeal was whether the Appellant’s road construction and tree-to-truck phases could be appraised using the ESSF biogeoclimatic zone “as a proxy” for the Spruce-Willow-Birch (“SWB”) biogeoclimatic zone.
The Commission found that the ESSF zone could not be used as a “proxy” for the SWB zone when calculating Slocan’s road construction and tree-to-truck costs in this case. The Commission held that sections 149(3) and 105 of the Forest Act require the Government to apply the policies and procedures that were in effect at the time of the initial appraisal, which included the July 21, 2001 version of IAM. In addition, the Commission found that the calculation procedure adopted by the MOF was both supported by section 4.4.5 of the IAM, and was generally a fair method of dealing with a situation where there were multiple zones involved. Furthermore, the Commission found that Slocan failed to provide evidence or cite legal precedents to support its position.