April 14, 2014 - 6:12 PM
KAMLOOPS — A part owner of the Dallas Stars, his father and their business were back in court today answering to charges they damaged Kamloops Lake when renovating and altering their property between 2010 and 2011.
Tom (Robert) Gaglardi and his father Robert J. Gaglardi face two charges of altering a fish habitat after Department of Fisheries and Oceans received a complaint about the expansion of the Gaglardi family property in Savona.
Both father and son are owners of Northland Properties Corporation, parent company of the Sandman hotel chain, and Denny’s, Moxie’s and Shark Club restaurants. Tom is also part owner of the Kamloops Blazers and the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
The Gaglardis renovated an existing house on one of several lakeside properties owned by the family. The original plans for the property included a dock and a boat launch.
Landscaping included removing trees along with a significant portion of an orchard.
Tom Gaglardi, president of the Northland Properties Corporation, oversaw the project and took the stand earlier today. He said the lots on Kamloops Lake have been part of his family for generations, with members taking turns using the property for summer vacations.
Tom hired Jim Parks, who worked indirectly for Northland, to manage the construction. Tom met Parks when Northland was constructing a steakhouse in Kelowna in past years.
Tom alleged there was no discussion between him and Parks on the landscaping of the area except on removing the trees that he claims threatened the house. He said when he found out Parks cut down a significant portion of the orchard which paralleled the property, he was “apoplectic.”
“I just went crazy,” Tom said after talking about his personal ties to the orchard. He recalled picking apricots with his grandmother as a child and hoped to share the same experience with his family.
Fisheries received a complaint about the Gaglardi property in January of 2011 and determined that the removed vegetation and addition of riprap, or large rocks on the shoreline, could disrupt the fishery habitat.
Tom says he did not give direction to Parks to add riprap.
“I didn’t even know what riprap was,” Tom said.
Dr. Marvin L. Rosenau is an instructor at BCIT specializing in fish, wildlife, and recreation. He told the court earlier about human-caused effects that can change or damage fish habitats. Outside court today, he said less vegetation indirectly impacts food production for fish, which lowers productivity and overall can impact the eco-system at large. Kamloops Lake has mainly trout, char, and several species of salmon.
“There’s more and more indication that when you remove these large and small rooted vegetation both alive and dead, it can have a profound effect on the aquatic ecosystem along the shoreline and so the little fish are negatively affected,” Rosenau said.
Tom says once fisheries became involved that he and his family cooperated to “make it right.”
Making it “right” included investing around $80,000 in restoring the property, and replanting four trees for every tree removed.
The trial for the Gaglardis and the Northland Properties Corporation is set to continue this week.
Kamloops Lake Drive, where the addition and expansion took place.
Image Credit: Source: Google Maps
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— Headline corrected at 7:53 p.m. An earlier version said Tom Gaglardi Sr. testified today.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014