Decision Date:January 23, 2014
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Forest and Range Practices Act – s. 22(2)(b); unauthorized road maintenance; penalty; consent order
Vern Latremouille appealed a determination of contravention and penalty issued by the District Manager (the “District Manager”), Headwaters District, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”).
Mr. Latremouille is a resident in a land development that is accessed either by water or via a public access road through a provincial park. The residents of the development have used the access road for many years, and had conducted maintenance on the road in the past, with the Government’s knowledge, despite lacking authorization to do so.
On April 26, 2012, Mr. Latremouille, on behalf of the residents, used heavy equipment to repair the access road because it had washed out. That same day, Ministry staff acknowledged that road work needed to be done, but advised Mr. Latremouille that he had no authority to conduct road maintenance. An unintended consequence of the road maintenance was the deposit of debris and water into a campground in the provincial park. On becoming aware of the effect on the campground, Mr. Latremouille and other residents immediately took action to address the situation, to the satisfaction of BC Parks staff.
Shortly before the District Manager issued the determination, the Ministry issued tenure under the Land Act to the residents, authorizing road access and establishing road maintenance duties.
Following an investigation, the District Manager determined that Mr. Latremouille had contravened section 22(2)(b) of the Forest and Range Practices Act (the “Act”) by conducting road maintenance without authorization. Section 22(2)(b) provides that, if a road is in a Provincial forest, a person must not use, construct, maintain or deactivate a road except in accordance with the Act, the regulations, the standards and any forest stewardship plan or a woodlot licence plan. The District Manager levied a penalty of $100 against Mr. Latremouille. The District Manager noted that the contravention would form part of Mr. Latremouille’s performance record, as he is the holder of an agreement under the Forest Act.
Mr. Latremouille appealed the determination to the Commission.
Before the appeal was heard, the parties negotiated a settlement. By consent of the parties, the Commission ordered that the determination was rescinded, and the appeal was allowed.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, by consent