Decision Date: January 30, 2007
Panel: David Ormerod
Keywords: Interior Appraisal Manual – ss. 6.3.1; stumpage rate; stumpage billed; billing record
Greg Dubois appealed a stumpage advisory notice (“SAN”) issued for a blanket salvage cutting permit (“CP”) issued for a non-replaceable forest licence in the Rocky Mountain Forest District, Southern Interior Forest Region. The stumpage rate was set at $13.89/m3 for the period of August 1, 2006 to July 31, 2007. That rate was determined based on section 6.3.1(1)(b) of the Interior Appraisal Manual (“IAM”), as amended on June 1, 2006, by applying the district average sawlog stumpage rate, excluding rates from blanket salvage permits.
The amendment to section 6.3.1 of the IAM added a threshold for the application of section 6.3.1(1)(a), based on the “billing records of Revenue Branch for coniferous sawlogs during the 12-month billing period ending March 31 in the first year where the volume of these coniferous sawlogs is greater than 500 cubic metres.” The amendment came into effect before the stumpage rate in question was set, but after Mr. Dubois had harvested timber in reliance on section 6.3.1 as it was before the amendment took effect. Mr. Dubois argued that the amendment was retroactive and was fundamentally unfair. He maintained that, had he known the importance of the phrase “billing records of the Revenue Branch” in the amended section 6.3.1, he would have conducted his business differently.
Mr. Dubois also argued that the stumpage rate was based on an incorrect interpretation of the term “billing record” in section 6.3.1 of the IAM. Mr. Dubois submitted that the stumpage rate should have been assessed under section 6.3.1(1)(a) using an invoice for 64 cubic metres of logs that were scaled before March 31, 2006, under another CP (which was not a blanket salvage CP) issued for the same licence. The invoice was dated after March 31, 2006.
The Commission found that the “billing records of Revenue Branch”, as used in section 6.3.1 of the IAM, are not based on log scale records, as argued by Mr. Dubois. Rather, stumpage billing records are based on invoices for the logs, and the invoice date for a given quantity of logs may be different from the date on which those logs were scaled. In this case, the invoice in question was dated after March 31, 2006, and therefore, could not be used to determine stumpage under section 6.3.1(1)(a). There were no other applicable billing records for the licence that could be used to determine the stumpage rate under section 6.3.1(1)(a). Consequently, the Commission found that section 6.3.1(1)(b) was properly applied in this case. The Commission also found that the stumpage rate would have been the same regardless of the June 1 amendment, due to the absence of applicable billing records.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.