• Tristan A. Galbraith v. Deputy Regional Manager, Fish and Wildlife

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    Decision Date: June 3, 2015

    Panel: Reid White

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 42; Commercial Activities Regulation – ss. 3.18, 3.19; trapline; landslide hazard area

    Tristan A. Galbraith appealed the decision of the Deputy Regional Manager (the “Regional Manager”), Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), denying Mr. Galbraith’s application to become the registered holder of a trapline in the area between Whistler and Squamish, BC. Part of the area covered by the trapline is known as the Rubble Creek Landslide Hazard Area and has a high risk of landslides. That area was designated as a civil defence zone by an order-in-council (i.e., provincial Cabinet order) in 1980. According to the order-in-council, a number of activities are prohibited in the designated area. For example, in the designated area, without the consent of the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Municipal Affairs: no person undertake any construction of a building or structure; no person may construct campsites or other recreational facilities; no person may undertake any form of timber harvesting or other commercial activities; and, no government authority may issue permits or licences relating to building or development.

    In March 2014, Mr. Galbraith applied to be registered on the trapline.

    In August 2014, the Regional Manager denied Mr. Galbraith’s application. In his decision, the Regional Manager advised that according to section 3.18 and 3.19 of the Commercial Activities Regulation, respectively, registration of a trapline can only be granted through a public auction or sealed tender process to qualifying individuals under section 42 of the Wildlife Act, or by the transfer of a registered trapline to a qualified person. The Regional Manager concluded that none of those circumstances applied in Mr. Galbraith’s case, and therefore, his application was denied.

    Mr. Galbraith appealed the Regional Manager’s decision to the Board on the basis that his application pre-dated a trapline auction, which commenced in late April 2014. He also argued that the trapline had been unused for 13 years, and therefore, no transfer from an existing trapline owner was necessary.

    In his submissions to the Board, the Regional Manager explained that the trapline was originally going to be included in the auction that was conducted in Spring 2014, but the Regional Manager removed the trapline from the auction when he realized that the trapline included part of the civil defence zone and had a high landslide hazard. The Regional Manager submitted that he intended to assess reconfiguration options for the trapline.

    The Board found that, although the trapline overlaps with the civil defence zone, it is not the type of commercial activity that is prohibited under the order-in-council. Further, the Ministry’s published guidelines for hunting and trapping state that the area is a high risk area, and that persons who hunt and trap in the area do so at their own risk, but it does not state that trapping is prohibited in the area. As such, the Board found that there was no legal prohibition against registering the trapline to a qualified person.

    However, the Board also found that an auction or tender process under section 3.18 of the Commercial Activities Regulation is appropriate for finding suitable candidates for registration of the trapline, given that it has been unused for 13 years and there is no current owner from which it may be transferred under section 3.19 of the Commercial Activities Regulation. Given that the trapline had not been part of an auction process, and could not be transferred from an existing owner, the Board concluded that the Regional Manager properly denied Mr. Galbraith’s application. The Board noted that Mr. Galbraith could participate in an auction or tender process for the trapline in the future, if such a process occurs.

    Consequently, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision, and dismissed the appeal.