Decision Date: May 20, 2005
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Forest Act – s. 105; Coast Appraisal Manual – ss. 1.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.2.4; stumpage determination; appraisal log dump; meaning of “harvest method”
Teal Jones Forest Ltd. and Teal Cedar Products Ltd. (collectively, “Teal”) appealed ten separate stumpage rate determinations of the Regional Appraisal Co-ordinator with respect to ten cutting permits that are held by Teal. Teal requested that the Commission rescind the stumpage advisory notices and issue an order directing the Regional Appraisal Co-ordinator to reappraise the stumpage rates using Shoal Island, not Jordan River, as the appraisal log dump.
The first issue in the appeals was whether the Ministry of Forest employees who determine stumpage rates exercise discretion in selecting the appraisal log dump for a cutting authority. The Commission found that the process of selecting an appraisal log dump is an exercise of discretion that must be exercised in a reasonable manner, and must be consistent with the objectives and intent of the Coast Appraisal Manual (the “CAM”). The Commission held that it was not a reasonable exercise of discretion under the CAM to select Jordan River as the appraisal log dump for the ten cutting permits, and the stumpage rates should be assessed based on Shoal Island as the appraisal log dump.
The second issue was whether “harvest method” in the context of section 4.1 of the CAM includes methods for transporting logs to an appraisal log dump. The Commission found that “harvest method” does not include truck hauling, or other forms of transportation that occur after logs have been removed from the cutblock. This ground of appeal failed.
The Commission found that the stumpage rates should be reassessed based on Shoal Island as the appraisal log dump, and it referred the matter back to the Regional Appraisal Co-ordinator with directions to recalculate the total stumpage rates.
Accordingly, the appeals were allowed.