Keywords:Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – s.117, Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation – Part 3, s.11, s.1; stream; alluvial sediment bed
International Forest Products (“Interfor”) appealed an administrative review decision that upheld a $500 fine and a determination that Interfor contravened the Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation by disturbing stream bank stability during the clean-up of a logging site. Interfor admitted that a disturbance and scouring of a watercourse bank had occurred, but that the disturbance and scouring did not contravene the Regulation. It submitted that during its creek cleaning operation, which consisted of removing eight logs and one windfall, it did not contravene the Regulation because neither “stable natural material,” nor “root systems” were “removed”. Interfor also argued that it was not in contravention of the Regulation since the watercourse was not a “stream” (i.e. it did not have an alluvial sediment bed and continuous definable banks).
The Commission was mindful of the principles of sustainable forest use as set out in the Code preamble and determined that the purpose of section 11 of the Regulation is to protect the physical integrity of streams during forestry operations. The Commission found that yarding operations removed stable natural material from the bank of the subject watercourse. However, the Commission decided that the watercourse was not a “stream” as defined in the Regulation. The Commission interpreted the meaning of “alluviation” and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that the watercourse had an alluvial sediment bed. Further, the Commission was not satisfied that the watercourse had continuous definable banks. The Commission ordered the original and review decisions to be reversed and allowed the appeal.