Decision Date: July 16, 2007
Panel: Paul Love
Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – s. 96; timber salvage; log manufacturing; unauthorized timber harvesting
Mr. Giles appealed a determination by the Regional Manager, Coast Forest Region that Mr. Giles had contravened subsections 96(1) and (2) of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code”). The Regional Manager imposed a penalty of $2,000 for the contraventions. At issue in the appeal was whether Mr. Giles manufactured 366 m3 of Crown timber prior to scale without authorization and obtained seven logs from unauthorized harvest sites, and whether the penalty imposed was appropriate in the circumstances. Mr. Giles, a log salver, claimed that he found the logs floating in the water, but he acknowledged that he did not have a “root buck” permit, which would have authorized him to manufacture the timber by trimming the log ends and branches.
The Commission found that the circumstantial evidence in this case was strong enough to support a finding that Mr. Giles had contravened the Code. There were seven matches of logs in Mr. Giles’ possession to stumps on Crown land above the high water mark, all the logs were high grade logs, and most of them showed signs of manufacturing. Therefore, the Commission concluded that it was more probable than not that Mr. Giles had cut the timber at issue from Crown land without statutory authority to do so, and that he had manufactured the logs before scaling without the necessary exemption, contrary to subsections 96(1) and (2) of the Code.
Turning to the issue of the penalty imposed, the Commission found a penalty of $2,000 to be light given Mr. Giles’ previous conviction for a similar infraction, deliberate flouting of the permitting scheme, and failure to cooperate in the investigation. However, the Commission agreed with the Regional Manager that, given Mr. Giles’ financial circumstances, there was no benefit to imposing a larger deterrent penalty.
Accordingly, the Commission confirmed the decision of the Regional Manager and dismissed the appeal.