Meadow Creek Cedar hearing cancelled
Meadow Creek Cedar has been ordered to provide more information to the Forest Appeals Commission by Tuesday or risk having the appeal of its license suspension dismissed.
An oral hearing scheduled for next week in Nelson has been postponed, according to Colleen Smith, executive director of the commission, an independent body that reviews forest-related government decisions.
In February, the company’s license was pulled for silviculture infractions. It was also fined $42,000 for failing to reforest half a dozen cutblocks and issued a remediation order, but missed an August 15 deadline to complete the work.
The company was fined a further $13,500 for a timber trespass and soil disturbance.
Meadow Creek Cedar appealed all of those decisions, but Smith said it didn’t provide some of the preliminary submissions required before the hearing.
“The commission postponed the hearing and cancelled the current dates because the appellant has not provided requested information or an explanation for not complying,” she told the Star.
Smith explained that typically a number of weeks before a hearing, the commission asks everyone involved to flesh out their arguments, and provide documents and a list of witnesses to ensure “an efficient, effective hearing.”
The government requested additional information to prepare for the hearing, but didn’t receive it, she said, and was having trouble figuring out which witnesses to call.
“You don’t want to be calling people from all over and taking them away from their jobs if you only need one or none,” she said.
The commission accepted the government’s position that the missing information was critical and asked Meadow Creek to provide it and clearly set out its objections to each of the district manager’s decisions.
That didn’t happen, however, so the commission ordered the company to deliver certain written submissions by September 18.
If it complies, the oral hearing will be rescheduled. If it fails to, the appeal will be dismissed.