Keywords:Forest Act ss. 105; Ministry of Forests Act s. 4(e); Interior Appraisal Manual s. 6.3.1; stumpage advisory notice.
Lorne Walter Dufour, Diana Greensen, Creole Dufour, and Tereina Dufour (the “Appellants”) appealed a Stumpage Advisory Notice (“SAN”) issued for a Cutting Permit (“CP”) for a woodlot located in the Southern Interior Forest Region. The stumpage rate for all coniferous sawlogs was set at $31.86/m3 for the period of August 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006. In determining the stumpage rate, the Timber Pricing Coordinator (the “Coordinator”) applied the district average stumpage rate pursuant to section 6.3.1(1)(b) of the Interior Appraisal Manual (“IAM”). The Appellants submitted that the Coordinator erred in setting the stumpage rate and that the Ministry was inconsistent and unfair in its application of the appraisal policy for stumpage rates on the CP. The Appellants asked the Commission to reduce the stumpage rate set by the SAN.
The Commission found that, as per section 4(e) of the Ministry of Forests Act, the Government is required to assert its financial interests in the forest resources in a systematic and equitable manner. The Commission determined that using historical stumpage rates and lumping together all timber types when determining stumpage rates, as proscribed by sections 6.3 and 6.3.1 of the IAM, may lead to an inequitable and unsystematic result in the Appellants’ case. However, it also found that it was unable to provide a remedy under section 149 of the Forest Act unless the Coordinator had failed to adhere to section 105(1) of the Forest Act or erred in his application of the IAM. The Commission determined that there were no errors made in the SAN for the CP. When setting the stumpage rate for the CP, the Coordinator was acting within his authority pursuant to section 105(1), and complied with the proper procedure for determining stumpage rates as outlined in section 6.3.1 of the IAM.
The Commission confirmed the stumpage rate and dismissed the appeal.