Victoria appeals rescinding of forest fire costs assessment

Tolko Industries initially ordered to $435,000 for government costs

Submitted

Provincial government lawyers will be in court July 15 seeking to overturn the rescinding of a $435,000 cost recovery against forest giant Tolko Industries.

The company was assessed the amount after a fire centre manager found four April 2016 forest fires had begun on land for which Tolko was responsible.

The company was also ordered to pay $84,937 for the value of the Crown timber and other forest land resources damaged or destroyed and  $46,223 for the government’s reforestation and silviculture costs.

Fires started in cutblocks on forest lands for which Tolko was responsible. One of the fires escaped the cutblock where it originated and burned about 398 hectares of forest.

The B.C. Wildfire Service fought the fires.

The Forest Appeals Commission, named with Tolko as a respondent in Victoria’s new appeal, had rescinded the cost order May 27.

Tolko argued the fire centre manager did not have the authority under B.C.'s  Wildfire Regulation.
The company did not dispute the province’s costs of fighting the fires.

Tolko is believed to be B.C.’s fourth-largest forest company. Its lumber products manufacturing operations in the province include three mills in the Cariboo Forest Region and five mills elsewhere. The Cariboo Forest Region includes both the Quesnel and Cariboo-Chilcotin Forest Districts.

The appeal takes place in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver.

Tolko could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainswo