A local forest company has been fined more than $13,500 for illegal harvesting and excessive soil disturbance at a cut block near the north end of Kootenay Lake.
The fine, imposed in mid-June, is in addition to a $42,000 penalty Meadow Creek Cedar was assessed in February for failing to meet post-harvest replanting obligations.
The company’s license was also suspended in February and it was given until August 15 to meet orders to reforest and rehabilitate the logging sites in question.
“Compliance and enforcement staff continue to investigate additional alleged contraventions of Meadow Creek Cedar’s operations, which may result in more decisions and penalties,” Ministry of Forests spokesman Brennan Clarke said.
The company’s appeal of its suspension will be heard at the end of summer.
Garth Wiggill, manager of the Selkirk Resource District, who imposed both the suspension and the fines, says the Forest Appeals Commission will review the company’s case the week of September 18.
Meadow Creek has already appealed Wiggill’s decisions to the ministry’s regional executive director, who upheld them.
Meanwhile, Wiggill says a statement in a court-appointed monitor’s report that the company was still logging and selling raw logs as of last month may refer to one partly-logged block exempted from the suspension.
The contractor was allowed to complete the work.
“For forest health reasons we felt the block should be completed to remove all down and decked wood,” he said. “Spring breakup likely prevented [them] from completing this block earlier.”
All other Meadow Creek Cedar operations remain suspended pending the outcome of the appeals.
The Forest Appeals Commission is an independent tribunal established under provincial legislation. Their decisions can be further appealed to the courts.