Effect of Powerline Clearing on Trappers
near Upper Lay Creek

Complaint Investigation 990192
February 2001
FPB/IRC/40


On May 11, 1999, the Board received a complaint from the BC Trappers Association on behalf of trappers on three registered traplines. During 1997 and 1998, Royal Oak Mines Inc. (the licensee) constructed a powerline for the Kemess South Mine that intersected the complainants' trapping areas. The complainants claim that traps, trails, a trapping cabin, furbearer habitat, and their businesses were harmed by construction of the powerline. Further, the complaint emphasizes that the licensee:

  • did not assess how the wildlife resource or the trapping businesses would be affected;
  • did not attempt to consult with the registered trapline owners; and
  • did not address the problem when the trappers contacted the licensee.

The complainants requested that the Board assist them in getting compensation for their losses. However, the Board has no authority to require either the licensee or government to pay compensation.

The Board's jurisdiction includes investigating the preparation and approval of the three logging plans required for the clearing of the powerline right-of-way. There were no other operational plans required for the project.

The Board's investigation focused on the following three concerns:

  1. Did the logging plans comply with wildlife/trapping requirements of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and related regulations (the Code)?
  2. Was the district manager's decision to approve the logging plans reasonable?
  3. Was the process used to identify concerns with the logging plans fair?

Conclusions

  1. Did the logging plans comply with the wildlife/trapping related content requirements of the Code?

    In the absence of any Code requirement, the logging plan complied with wildlife/trapping-related content requirements of the Code.

  2. Was the district manager's decision to approve the logging plans reasonable?

    The district manager did not know that there was a conflict between the trapping cabin and the powerline. Therefore, the district manager's decision to approve the logging plans was reasonable.

  3. Was the process used to identify concerns with the logging plans fair?

    Two errors outside the control of the district manager resulted in a breakdown of the process.

    First, the informal referral process set up by the district manager broke down because the licensee's forestry consultant did not follow through on his commitment to report further information to the district manager. Although it was not required under the Code, the forestry consultant and the licensee should have informed the district manager of the conflict with the trapping cabin before submitting the logging plan for approval. Additionally, the district manager could have required review of the logging plans under section 6 of the Operational Planning Regulation. Then, if the trapper had responded within the review period, the licensee would have been required to submit the comment to the district manager.

    Second, the trapping cabin was incorrectly located on the trapline cabin referral map.

  4. Even though there were breakdowns in the process, the process the district manager used to get information about other interests in the area was fair.

    The trapping cabin owners are satisfied with the agreement to replace the trapping cabin in a new location.


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