Decision Date: January 6, 2005
Panel: Gary Robinson
Keywords: Forest Act – ss. 12(1)(k), 105(1); interior appraisal manual; stumpage rate determination; road permit.
Tahtsa Timber Ltd. (“Tahtsa”) appealed a stumpage rate determination in a stumpage advisory notice (“SAN”) issued on June 10, 2004 by the Revenue Officer Supervisor, Northern Interior Forest Region, Ministry of Forests, for a road permit. Tahtsa submitted that it had received a “confirmed” stumpage rate of $18.95 per cubic metre from a District Engineering Officer with the Ministry on July 3, 2003. Based on that rate, Tahtsa decided to sell the wood harvested from the road’s right-of-way, rather than recover their respective road building costs as an engineered cost in future appraisals. Tahtsa subsequently received the SAN indicating a stumpage rate of $21.54 per cubic metre. Tahtsa asked the Commission to refer the SAN back to the Revenue Officer Supervisor and direct that the rate be re-determined to reflect the “original agreement” of $18.95 per cubic metre, and for this rate to be retroactive to July 4, 2003.
The Commission found that the District Engineering Officer’s communication with Tahtsa regarding the stumpage rate of $18.95 per cubic metre did not satisfy the requirements of section 105 of the Forest Act and the provisions of the Interior Appraisal Manual (“IAM”). He was not identified in the IAM as a person responsible for determining rates of stumpage, and the policies and procedures for determining the stumpage rate for road permits were not followed prior to his quote. Conversely, the Commission found that the June 4, 2004 SAN was made in accordance with section 105 of the Forest Act and the IAM and thus, it was the official stumpage rate to be paid to the Crown.
The Commission also noted that the Ministry of Forests did not provide the SAN in a timely manner. However, the Commission found that the Ministry’s lack of timeliness in producing the SAN was not in breach of any legal requirement. Additionally, the Commission found that it had no jurisdiction to order monetary relief in this appeal even if there had been a negligent misstatement or misrepresentation resulting in financial loss to Tahtsa.
The Commission confirmed the stumpage rate of $21.54 per cubic metre. The appeal was dismissed.