Keywords:Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 74, 117, 119.1; overgrazing; rotation schedule; due diligence; penalty; range use plan
An administrative review panel confirmed the District Manager’s determination that the Appellant had contravened section 74 of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code”) by conducting grazing operations contrary to its approved range use plan, including allowing overgrazing, failing to follow a pasture rotation schedule and not completing required range developments. The Appellant filed an appeal of the decision to the Commission.
The main issue in this appeal was whether the Appellant contravened section 74 of the Code, and, if so, whether the penalty of $500 was reasonable in the circumstances.
The Commission found that the Appellant had allowed overgrazing in contravention of section 74 of the Code. The Commission further found that the Appellant’s deviation from the pasture rotation schedule set out in the range use plan was appropriate in the circumstances because the evidence indicated that Ministry of Forests staff had agreed to vary the schedule. The Commission also found that the Appellant had not contravened requirements on range developments. The Commission found that the Appellant had not established a defence of due diligence to the overgrazing contraventions, as it did not undertake reasonable measures to avoid foreseeable overgrazing.
The Commission found that a deterrent penalty was appropriate in this case. However, based on the circumstances of the case and a review of previous Commission decisions, the Commission held that the penalty should be reduced from $500 to $300.