Decision Date: April 20, 2005
Panel: Alan Andison, Bruce Devitt, Stephen Willett
Keywords: Silviculture Practices Regulation – s. 24(a); Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 70(3) & (6); Timber Harvesting and Silviculture Practices Regulation – s. 41(2); silviculture; free growing stand; meaning of “trees per hectare”
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited (‘Weyerhaeuser”) appealed two determinations made by the District Manager that it had failed to meet certain silviculture obligations on two cutblocks. Weyerhaeuser submitted that the standard units (“Sus”) within those cutblocks were the smallest stratum over which sample data should be extrapolated for the purpose of determining whether it met its legal silviculture obligations. Weyerhaeuser requested that the Commission issue orders varying both determinations such that Weyerhaeuser was found to have established free growing stands in the SUs in question, and rescinding the determinations that Weyerhaeuser contravened the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code”), the Silviculture Practices Regulations (the “SPR”) and the Timber Harvesting and Silviculture Practices Regulations (the “THSPR”). Alternatively, Weyerhaeuser requested the Commission to refer the determinations back to the District Manager with directions.
The Commission found that, in the context of these appeals, trees “per hectare” means an average number calculated over the entire area of the SUs defined in the Pre-Harvest Silviculture Prescriptions (“PHSP”). Accordingly, the Commission found that the SUs defined in the PHSPs are the minimum stratum size for the purpose of determining whether Weyerhaeuser met its silviculture obligations. The Commission also found that free growing stands were established on both cutblocks, and Weyerhaeuser did not contravene sections 70(3) and (6) of the Code. The Commission further found that there was no reasonable basis to conclude that Weyerhaeuser contravened section 24(a) of the SPR. Finally, the Government agreed that the finding that Weyerhaeuser contravened the THSPR should be rescinded.
The District Manager’s determinations were rescinded and the appeals were allowed.