Dismissed appeal leads to fines for landowners guilty of building roadway through wetland

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An appeal court has upheld the conviction of the owners of a [nr/at Grand Valley Golfcourse CP] property in North Dumfries Township who built a laneway through a wetland in August 2009. Justice G. F. Hearn dismissed the appeal filed by Jason Geil, his company Geil Style Enterprises and Janet Ann Bratton. The judge issued his decision on Nov. 28, 2012. The three had been convicted in January 2011 after being found guilty of building the roadway without a permit from the Grand River Conservation Authority. They were fined a total of $15,625.

In the appeal, they questioned whether a conservation authority has jurisdiction over wetlands on private property. In his ruling Hearn said that “the land was within the jurisdiction of the authority and the authority was authorized to restrict development on designated property
including wetlands.”

Hearn also upheld the penalty against Jason Geil – the maximum allowed — which the judge said was “fit and appropriate.” In August 2009 the GRCA received information from people who had seen a steady stream of trucks entering the property at 1943 Roseville Rd.

Virtual tour of 1943 Roseville Rd near/at Grand Valley Golfcourse:

View Larger Map

GRCA staff visited the scene and also saw earth-moving equipment in the area of the wetland, which is adjacent to a stream that runs through the property. The stream is a tributary of Cedar Creek.

appealdecision

The GRCA and other conservation authorities in Ontario administer regulations that control development near wetlands, along watercourses and their flood plains, steep slopes and the Lake Erie shoreline. Regulated areas make up about one-third of the Grand River watershed. In recent years, the GRCA has stepped up its enforcement efforts. Most cases are resolved through negotiation between the GRCA and landowners without court action. Landowners planning to undertake a project near a wetland, stream, river or other regulated area should contact a resource planner at the GRCA. E-mail addresses and phone numbers are available in the Planning and Regulations section of the GRCA website at www.grandriver.ca  They can also use “Map My Property” – an interactive mapping tool on the GRCA website at www.grandriver.ca  – to see if any parts of their property are regulated [ and therefore under the authority of the GRCA- CP] .

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