Stock Markets
Daily Stock Markets News

Court fines B.C. companies $545K for habitat destruction

A B.C. ranching company and a contractor it hired have been fined a combined total of $545,000 for causing “major habitat destruction” along two rivers in the central Interior, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The fines against Altherr & Schellenberg Cattle Co. Ltd. and Bayliff Enterprises Ltd. were imposed in three separate court cases, the most recent of which concluded last month, according to a news release issued by the DFO on Thursday.

The federal agency referred to the situation as “a complex, six-year-investigation into major habitat destruction along the Chilcotin and Kleena Kleene rivers.”

According to the DFO, the cases involved “the removal of riparian habitat vegetation, infilling of side channels, fish passage obstructions, stream diversion, unauthorized changes in a stream and unauthorized works on Crown lands,” which occurred between 2017 and 2020.

“The purpose of the work was to increase available land to be used for agricultural purposes,” the DFO release reads.

“None of this work had Fisheries Act or provincial authorizations.”

Altherr & Schellenberg pleaded guilty in the first trial of the case in October 2022 and was fined $280,000 for Fisheries Act violations.

Less than a year later, in February 2023, the company pleaded guilty in the second trial. This time, it was fined $175,000 for more Fisheries Act violations, as well as provincial offences under the Water Sustainability Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act, according to the DFO.

The most recent case concluded on May 28, when Bayliff Enterprises – which Altherr & Schellenberg hired to perform work along the Kleena Kleene River – pleaded guilty to federal and provincial violations.

The contractor was fined $90,000, with half of that total imposed specifically “to discourage companies or individuals from earning money when performing unauthorized activities,” the DFO said.

Of the $545,000 in total fines, $440,000 was ordered to be held in trust with the Environmental Damages Fund for conservation, protection and restoration of salmon and salmon habitat in the Chilcotin region.

“The court further ordered the company to provide a total of $1,250,000 in bond to remediate the impacted sites along both the Chilcotin and Kleena Kleene rivers within two years, and provide four reports comprehensively documenting work done and survival rates of plantings on riparian land adjacent to the rivers for the next decade,” the release reads. 

Read More: Court fines B.C. companies $545K for habitat destruction

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.