We suspect most Lardeau Valley residents would agree the suspension of Meadow Creek Cedar’s forest license, announced last week, was long overdue.
The company was also issued a remediation order and fined $42,000 for failing to live up to its silviculture obligations, which may ultimately result in its license being cancelled.
It shows that while government moves slowly, the Ministry of Forests does take these offences seriously.
MLA Michelle Mungall, regional director Andy Shadrack, the Lardeau Valley Opportunity Links Society, and many others deserve credit for getting things this far.
However, it’s too soon to call this a victory of any sort.
Meadow Creek Cedar still has a few weeks to appeal the decisions and has to be given the opportunity to meet requirements for the suspensions to be lifted, which would have to occur this summer.
Getting the fine out of owner Dale Kooner may be another matter.
Last year the province began enforcement proceedings against him to recover an $8,625 penalty levied in 2005 for a labour code violation after an employee at one of his trucking firms was pinned between two vehicles. Kooner pled guilty to one charge but didn’t pay up.
Although the fine imposed on Meadow Creek Cedar this month and the license suspension are not presently linked, they can be if the fine goes unpaid 90 days after the appeal period expires.
And if those measures still don’t work against this recalcitrant operator, maybe legal action by the Association of BC Forest Professionals will.
As reported elsewhere in this issue, the group is considering seeking an injunction against the company to prevent it from doing any more harvesting without the services of a registered forester.
One way or the other, this company’s time is up. The sooner it is gone, the sooner we can start dealing with the mess it leaves behind.