Decision Date: May 27, 2008
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Forest Practices Code – s. 131(13); Administrative Review and Appeal Procedure Regulation – s. 24; intervenor application; road maintenance
Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (“Canfor”) appealed a determination of the District Manager, Fort St. James Forest District, that Canfor had contravened section 79(6)(a) of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation (the “Regulation”) by failing to replace a failed culvert with an appropriate permanent structure. Concurrent with that determination, the District Manager also issued a remediation order requiring Canfor to re-establish the road prism where the culvert had failed, and to install a suitable permanent structure. Canfor also appealed the remediation order.
The Council of Forest Industries (“COFI”) applied to intervene in the appeals, in order to make submissions on the interpretation and application of section 79(6)(a) of the Regulation, and in particular, on the issue of whether an obligation to maintain a road includes an obligation to replace a failed culvert with an appropriate permanent structure. COFI is an industry organization which represents many of the forest licensees operating in the British Columbia Interior.
In deciding whether to grant the intervenor application, the Commission considered: (1) whether COFI had a valid interest in participating in the appeal; (2) whether COFI’s participation would be of assistance in the proceeding; and (3) if so, the extent to which COFI should be permitted to participate.
The Commission found that COFI had a valid interest in the question of the proper interpretation on section 79(6)(a) of the Regulation, as it represents forest companies that could be affected by the outcome of the appeals. Further, the Commission found that COFI will provide an industry-wide perspective that is unique from the other parties’ perspectives and will be of assistance to the Commission in deciding the appeal. The Commission also found that allowing COFI to participate in a limited manner would not cause unnecessary delay in the proceedings.
The Commission granted COFI’s application for intervenor status on the conditions that it provides a written argument on the interpretation of section 79(6)(a) of the Regulation, that it limits its oral arguments to 45 minutes, and that it does not lead evidence, cross-examine on any evidence, or raise new issues.
The application was granted.