Decision Date: March 21, 2012
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Forest Act – ss. 105(1); Coast Appraisal Manual; stumpage rate; reconstruction costs; haul distance; consent order
Western Forest Products Ltd. (“Western”) appealed three separate stumpage rate determinations issued on June 29, 2011 by the Timber Pricing Business Analyst (the “Analyst”), Coast Area, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”). The stumpage rates applied to timber harvested under cutting permit (“CP”) 196 of a tree farm licence located on west central Vancouver Island.
Western appealed on the grounds that the Analyst had excluded certain road, culvert and bridge reconstruction costs associated with the Harrison Main Line. Western submitted that the reconstruction work was required to haul timber from a particular cutblock within CP 196 to the Spencer Creek appraisal log dump, which the Ministry had previously selected as the appraisal log dump for that cutblock. The Spencer Creek appraisal log dump is closer, via the Harrison Main Line, to the cutblock than an alternate route to the Coleman Creek appraisal log dump. The Ministry had previously disallowed the inclusion of the cutblock into a cutting permit that was tributary (by road) to the Coleman Creek appraisal log dump. Western argued that the Analyst erred by excluding the reconstruction costs associated with Harrison Main Line, which was the route the Ministry had designated as the shortest haul distance to the Spencer Creek appraisal log dump.
On receipt of the appeals, the Commission held them in abeyance to allow the parties time to attempt to resolve the issues in the appeals. Subsequently, the parties reached an agreement to settle the appeals.
Accordingly, by consent of the parties, the Commission ordered that the three stumpage rate determinations were rescinded, and the matters were remitted back to the Analyst with directions to re-determine the stumpage rates by including a cost estimate for the reconstruction of part of Coleman Road, as the main access road for CP 196.