Ottawa-Area Company Ordered to Rehabilitate and Restore Destroyed Wetland
April 24, 2017, Carleton Place — Through an appeal process initiated by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA), an Ottawa-area company and its director have been ordered by the Ontario Court of Justice to rehabilitate and restore a portion of the Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) complex.
The appeal was granted by Justice Diane M. Lahaie on April 19, 2017 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa. The company, 1634088 Ontario Inc., and its director, Rodolfo Mion are now under a court order to “rehabilitate and restore the wetlands to conform with the guidelines and requirements set by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.”
The appeal stems from a sentence delivered by Justice of the Peace L. Girault of the Ontario Court of Justice on January 20, 2016 arising from convictions under the Conservation Authorities Act, R.S.C. 1990, c.27. Charges under the Conservation Authorities Act were laid in 2012 against the company, Mion and the contractor who altered the wetlands, which flow through Poole Creek in Stittsville. The charges were laid after MVCA Regulations staff observed unauthorized development on the property which included site grading and the placement and removal of material. As a result, they were found guilty and fined $7,500.
The MVCA filed an appeal on the sentences as it was their opinion that the issuance of a fine alone was unreasonable in the circumstances and that a restoration order should be imposed on the property to remediate and restore the wetlands.
Justice Lahaie agreed and granted the appeal, citing that a fine imposed on a corporation does not deter it from damaging a wetland in the future, nor would it deter others from developing wetland areas.
MVCA protects and regulates important environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains, wetlands, shorelines and waterways. MVCA operates under the Conservation Authorities Act and Ontario Regulation 153/06, Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses.
“We are pleased with Justice Lahaie’s decision to grant the appeal, as we take the protection of wetlands and non-compliance of our regulations very seriously. The main objectives of the Conservation Authorities Act and the regulations are to ensure public safety, protect property with respect to natural hazards and to safeguard watershed health by preventing pollution and destruction of sensitive environmental areas,” said Andy Moore, MVCA Regulations Officer. “This decision ensures that the significant wetland areas will be rehabilitated accordingly.”
Every person found guilty of an offence that contravenes a regulation or the terms and conditions of a permit issued by a Conservation Authority is liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months. Additionally, the court may order the removal of the development, at that person’s expense, or rehabilitation of a wetland or watercourse.
MVCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. Formed in 1968, MVCA’s mandate is to manage the watershed’s resources in partnership with our eleven member municipalities and the Province of Ontario. For more information, visit www.mvc.on.ca, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
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