Decision Date: December 8, 2020
Panel: Darrell Le Houillier
Keywords: Forest and Range Practices Act – ss. 52(1), 71(2)(a), 74; unauthorized timber harvesting; administrative penalty; remediation order; consent order
Carl Szydlik appealed a determination issued in June 2020 by the Resource Manager (the “Manager”), Nadina Natural Resource District, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (the “Ministry”).
Mr. Szydlik held a licence that allowed him to harvest Crown timber within the boundaries of a woodlot. In September 2017, his employees harvested 2.1 hectares outside of the woodlot boundary. As a result, approximately 169 cubic metres of Crown timber, comprised of mainly dead trees, was harvested without authorization. Mr. Szydlik sold the timber. Sometime later, Mr. Szydlik became aware of the unauthorized harvest and reported it to the Ministry.
The Manager determined that Mr. Szydlik was responsible for contravening section 52(1) of the Forest and Range Practices Act (the “Act”) due to his staff harvesting Crown timber without authorization. Although there was no evidence that the contravention was intentional or had significantly affected environmental values, the Manager found that Mr. Szydlik derived an economic benefit from the contravention. The Manager levied an administrative penalty of $7,600 against Mr. Szydlik, and issued a remediation order requiring him to conduct silviculture in the area of unauthorized harvesting.
Mr. Szydlik appealed the determination, and requested that the penalty be eliminated. He submitted that based on the timber’s actual selling price and harvesting costs, and the costs of silviculture, he derived no economic benefit from the contravention. He did not appeal the remediation order.
Before the Commission heard the appeal, the parties negotiated an agreement to resolve the matter. By consent of the parties, the Commission confirmed the contravention, but varied the penalty by reducing it to $2,271.99.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, in part.