Decision Date: July 9, 2013
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Forest and Range Practices Act – ss. 5(1.1), 16; Forest Planning and Practices Regulation – s. 25.1; forest development plan; amendment; visual quality objectives; consent order
Babine Forest Products Ltd. (“Babine”) appealed a determination issued by the District Manager (the “District Manager”), Nadina Forest District, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”).
Babine holds forest tenures in the Lakes Timber Supply Area, for which Babine has an approved forest stewardship plan. Babaine’s forest stewardship plan includes provisions that set out results or strategies for achieving the government’s visual quality objectives with regard to harvesting in scenic areas.
Babine proposed to clear cut stands of timber that were infested with mountain pine beetle in the Babine Lake scenic area. Babine Lake is used for recreation and fishing, and there are communities along its shoreline. In August 2010, Babine applied for an amendment to its forest stewardship plan, to modify the intended result or strategy regarding the government’s visual quality objectives for the area it proposed to clear cut around Babine Lake.
In November 2011, the District Manager refused to approve the proposed amendment. Specifically, the District Manager determined that the proposed amendment did not conform to section 5(1.1) of the Forest and Range Practices Act because the result or strategy set out in the proposed amendment was not consistent, to the extent practicable, with the government’s visual quality objective of retention for the area. Section 25.1 of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation states that results or strategies in a forest stewardship plan “must be consistent with the established objectives to the extent practicable, to take into account the circumstances or conditions applicable to that area or that part.”
Babine appealed to the Commission on the basis that the District Manager failed to properly apply the requirements in section 16(1) of the Forest and Range Practices Act, and the test established in section 25.1 of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation.
During the appeal hearing, the Government and Babine reached an agreement to settle the appeal, whereby Babine agreed to modify the language of its proposed amendment, and the District Manager agreed to vary his determination. At that point, the Forest Practices Board withdrew from the appeal proceedings.
By consent of the Government and Babine, the Commission ordered that the District Manager’s determination was varied, Babine’s modified proposed amendment was approved, and the appeal was dismissed.