Keywords: Forest Act – s. 105(1); Interior Appraisal Manual – s. 4.3.2; stumpage rate; road length
Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. (“Weyerhaeuser”) appealed numerous stumpage rate determinations set out in notices issued by the Timber Pricing Coordinator, Southern Interior Forest Region, Ministry of Forests and Range. The stumpage rates pertained to timber harvested pursuant to numerous cutting permits issued under three forest licences that were held by Weyerhaeuser, and were located in the Cascadia and Kamloops Forest Districts. The stumpage rates applied to timber harvested over various periods of time, beginning no earlier than June 2005 and ending no later than June 2007.
When Weyerhaeuser applied to the Ministry for the cutting permits, it submitted data regarding estimated harvesting costs, including the estimated lengths of various roads it expected to build in order to harvest the cutting permit areas. However, when determining the stumpage rates applicable to timber harvested under the cutting permits, the Timber Pricing Coordinator did not accept all of the road length data that Weyerhaeuser had submitted. Instead, the Timber Pricing Coordinator substituted shorter road lengths, or in some cases did not allow any road lengths. Consequently, the resulting stumpage rates were higher than Weyerhaeuser had expected.
The appeals were held in abeyance while the parties attempted to settle the appeals. Before the appeals were heard by the Commission, the parties negotiated agreements to settle the appeals. By consent of the parties, the Commission ordered that the appeals were allowed without any orders for costs, and the stumpage determinations were varied in accordance with schedules that were attached to the consent orders. The schedules set out the agreed road lengths for each of the appealed stumpage determinations.