British Columbia Cattle Farmer Sentenced to Three Days Jail Time for Failing to Comply with Court Order
SMITHERS, B.C. -- October 17, 2011 -- John Boonstra, a resident of Smithers, British Columbia, was sentenced on October 11, 2011, to three days jail time, one day for each charge under section 79.6 of the Fisheries Act for failing to comply with a June 2008 Court Order as a result of an Environment Canada investigation. The court deemed Boonstra’s jail time served by his presence in court.
Additional penalties ordered by the court are that Boonstra must pay off his outstanding $17,000 debt to the Environmental Damages Fund and perform remediation work on his property adjacent to Robin Creek. This remediation includes an approved re-introduction of native plant species at or near significant fish habitat which was the subject of his original conviction in 2008. This work must be completed by September 2012. Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be monitoring the area as well as the success of this reintroduction through 2014.
Boonstra was first charged by Environment Canada in March 2005, and found guilty in 2008, for having allowed agricultural discharges into the Robin Creek; for having allowed the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat; and for having twice failed to comply with a condition of an Inspector’s Direction.
The sentence imposed after the 2008 conviction of Boonstra directed him to make a $17,000 contribution to the Environmental Damages Fund, complete remediation work and to pay a $3,000 fine for violating subsections 35(1) and 38(6) of the Fisheries Act.
In the years that followed, Boonstra failed to pay both the fine and the court-ordered environmental fund contribution or complete the remediation work. Subsequently, he found himself before the courts again, leading to this, his latest plea and conviction on October 11, 2011.
Boonstra first came to the attention of Environment Canada in May 2004. During the investigation that was conducted with help from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, his cattle were seen in Robin Creek, a tributary to the Bulkley River. The river is a rearing and spawning habitat for coho salmon, rainbow and cutthroat trout, and for other species such as lamprey.
The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders and voluntary payments for the repair of the actual harm done to the environment.
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