Abitibi-Consolidated Company of Canada appealed a December 1, 2003 Stumpage Advisory Notice for cutting permit N03 (“CP N03”) issued by the Ministry of Forest Timber Pricing Co-ordinator. Abitibi asked the Commission to find that CP N03 was in an “isolated cutting authority area” within the provision of the Interior Appraisal Manual (“IAM”), which would increase the Ministry’s appraisal of Abitibi’s logging costs and decrease the stumpage rates that Abitibi would pay.
Under section 4.8.2 of the IAM, even where there is continuous road access from the nearest “support center” to the camp that services the cutting area, the cutting authority area could be declared “isolated” if the continuous roads were “not routinely used”.
The Commission found that, under section 4.8.2 of the IAM, “routinely” can mean a customary or regular use that is less frequent than daily. The Commission held that in this case, the continuous road access from a support centre was the primary and customary way of moving people, supplies and some equipment, in the ordinary course of business, to CP N03. Although a barge was used to move some equipment, this was a business decision by Abitibi and did not detract from the fact that there was continuous road access. Therefore, the Commission found that CP N03 was not in an isolated cutting authority area under the IAM.
The Commission also noted that the calculation of logging costs under section 4.4 of the IAM already took into account the travelling distance and camp-based practice required for the purpose of logging CP N03.