Tolko Industries Ltd.
Tolko Industries Ltd. currently holds FML 02 (License No. 2302 ER) and operates within the parameters of a 1997-2009 FMP and associated EIS (Public Registry File # 3094.60). It acquired the REPAP operations and mills in The Pas in 1997. The current FMP/EIS was originally filed by Repap Manitoba Inc. but was assumed by Tolko when the company took over Repap's Manitoba operations. Tolko submits an annual operating plan (AOP) for its proposed harvesting and renewal activities. The environmental license for its operations is multi year, on the same timeline as it forestry license. Tolko is currently pursuing ISO 14001 EMS and CSA certification status.
In March 2008, Tolko Industries Inc. made an application under the Environment Act for construction of an all weather road through Grass River Provincial Park (Public Registry File #3094.70). The proposed Dickstone South Road would bisect areas of boreal forest within the Park that have been closed to logging and potentially affect the Naosap Woodland Caribou herd. The Naosap herd is of high concern, according to the Manitoba's 2005 Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou (PDF). It should be noted that this road is to provide access to logging areas, and that the Tolko long term forest license ends in 2009. The road would not be completed until 2010.
Manitoba Wildlands has mapped the Grass River Park, based on the management plan for the park, showing the requested road corridor. The Park maps show closed areas, caribou and moose areas, etc.
View June 2008 Manitoba Wildlands Map of Grass River Provincial Park - Proposed Road and Wildlife
View June 2008 Manitoba Wildlands Map of Grass River Provincial Park - Proposed Road and Closed Areas
View August 2008 Manitoba Wildlands Map of Grass River Provincial Park - Drill Holes and Mining
Woodland Caribou are listed as a threatened species under provincial Endangered Species legislation, and Canada's Species At Risk Act, and require special consideration in the context of development decisions.
The proposal was open for public comment until May 2008. Manitoba Wildlands submitted comments, along with other concerned groups and individuals, including the Manitoba Wilderness Committee.
Download May 14, 2008 Manitoba Wildlands' comments on Tolko's proposed Dickstone South Road through Grass River Provincial Park (PDF)
Download May 14, 2008 Manitoba Wilderness Committee comments on Tolko's proposed Dickstone South Road through Grass River Provincial Park (PDF)
Download September 11, 2009 Manitoba Wildlands comments on the License Appeal No. 2896 issued to Tolko: Dickstone South Road (PDF)
Beginning March 1, 2012 bulldozers will once again be authorized to cut down caribou habitat inside Manitoba's Grass River Provincial Park to build the Dickstone Road.
"As of right now, this morning, the bulldozers are rolling back into our provincial park to resume their destruction," said Manitoba Wilderness Campaign Director Eric Reder, after a Manitoba Queen's Bench Judge ruled that a road built exclusively for logging, was not prohibited by the Manitoba ban on logging in parks.
The Dickstone Road is a controversial logging road being built through Grass River Provincial Park. The road would intersect and disturb calving grounds of threatened woodland caribou in the park. The road will be used exclusively by Tolko to haul logs; public access is not allowed.
The Manitoba Government issued a license to Tolko to build a logging road across Grass River Provincial Park August 2009. Two-months earlier The Forest Amendment Act amended The Provincial Parks Act and The Forest Act to prohibit logging in provincial parks, including Grass River Park.
Manitoba Wildlands and the Wilderness Committee appealed the Environment Act license September 2009, but the appeals were dismissed. Next the Wilderness Committee applied to the Manitoba Queen's Bench for a rule review to interpret whether a logging road is prohibited by the 2009 amendments to The Provincial Parks Act and The Forest Act.
Justice Schulman concluded, "...construction of the Dickstone Road did not constitute the grant of a commercial timber cutting right that authorizes logging on land in a provincial park."
Reder said the decision shows the logging ban law was badly written, as it allows forestry roads to be built through parks. The Wilderness Committee has not yet decided whether it will appeal the decision.
Only about 700m of the 17km planned has bee built thus far. The environmental license requires construction to halt between March 31 and July 15, when road construction may resume.
View March 1, 2012 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 1, 2012 CBC News article
View February 15, 2012 Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench decision (PDF)
View August 12, 2009 Environment Act License 2896 (Tolko-Dickstone Road) (PDF)
View Wilderness Committee, Manitoba Chapter site
View previous Manitoba Wildlands coverage:
The legality of a logging road being built through Manitoba's Grass River park was questioned at a October 11th, 2011 Manitoba Queen's Bench hearing.
The Wilderness Committee requested a Manitoba Queen's Bench rule review concerning the legality of the South Dickson Road logging road being built by Tolko, because the road was authorized by the Government of Manitoba following amendments to the Manitoba Parks Act and Forest Act which banned logging in provincial parks.
"We're asking a judge to look at this legislation as it was written to determine if a logging road is considered logging," Eric Reder, a spokesman for The Wilderness Committee, said outside court.
Lawyers for the government told the court that Tolko's logging road project is lawful because the fallen trees for the road are not technically for commercial purposes.
"The only timber that's getting cut down is what's needed for the road - they are not for sale," said Manitoba Conservation Counsel Gord Hannon.
But the lawyer representing The Wilderness Committee disputed that argument.
"What could be more commercial than the building of a logging road for accessing a logging area ... to allow a logging company to increase its efficiency and profits?" David Newman asked in court.
Tolko is building the road exclusively for its own use to access cutting areas north of Grass River Provincial Park.
The judge reserved his decision about the correct interpretation of the scope of statutory provisions prohibiting logging in provincial parks. Manitoba Wildlands will post the decision when released.
View October 12, 2011 Winnipeg Sun article
View October 11, 2011 CBC article
Download Wilderness Committee brief (PDF)
Download Manitoba Conservation brief (PDF)
View September 18, 2011 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View June 25, 2011 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View Manitoba Wildlands Manitoba Forest Companies & Tenure Tolko page
Source: CBC News
The Wilderness Committee, with supporting affidavits from Manitoba Wildlands, filed a legal application for a Queens Bench Rule 14.05 Review June 20, 2011. The legal review is to clarify legal interpretation of the ban on logging in Manitoba provincial parks.
In June 2009 the Manitoba Government enacted Bill-3: The Forest Amendment Act, which amended The Provincial Parks Act and The Forest Act of Manitoba to prohibit logging in provincial parks. But in 2009, the government issued a license to Tolko to build a logging road across Grass River Provincial Park , which was finalized, after appeals, in February 2011.
Manitoba Wildlands and the Wilderness Committee appealed the Environment Act license September 2009, but the appeals were dismissed. The rule review is to obtain legal interpretation of the 2009 amendments to The Provincial Parks Act and The Forest Act.
"We are asking a judge to give us a legal definition: is a logging road considered logging or not?" said Eric Reder, campaign director, Manitoba Wilderness Committee.
Construction began in a remote section of Grass River Provincial Park March 2011 and stopped in April. The environmental license requires construction to halt between March 31 and July 15, when road construction may resume.
"Manitobans love their parks, and they want their government to do more to protect the parks we have and to expand our protected areas network in our boreal regions. This government needs to admit that these 'no logging' zones need restoration and are not protected!" said Manitoba Wildlands director Gaile Whelan-Enns.
Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie was contacted before the application was filed,with a suggestion to pursue the matter cooperatively. The Conservation Minister declined, and the Wilderness Committee filed the application. A court date has been set for July 7, 2011.
View June 20, 2011 Wilderness Committee/Manitoba Wildlands press release
View June 20, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View June 20, 2011 CJOB 680AM coverage
View June 20, 2011 Wilderness Committee website posting
Download June 16, 2011 Western Canada Wilderness vs. Government of Manitoba Notice of Application (PDF)
Download June 14, 2011 Affidavit of Gaile Whelan Enns
Download June 14, 2011 Affidavit of Eric Reder
Download June 14, 2011 Affidavit of Hugh Arklie
Download August 12, 2009, Environment Act License No. 2896
DownloadWestern Canada Wilderness vs. Government of Manitoba (CI11-01-72733) on the Manitoba Court Registry System
View Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Rules
Source: Wilderness Committee