June 02, 2015 - 4:39 PM
KAMLOOPS - The case against Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi and the Northland Properties Corporation is not over yet as a Crown prosecutor argued the two should pay more for causing extensive environmental damage to a fish habitat.
Crown prosecutor Digby Kier argued in Kamloops Supreme Court today, June 2, that the court impose a minimum $150,000 fine on both defendants based on the home and lakeside property renovations near Kamloops Lake in Savona. In his December 2014 decision, Kamloops Provincial Court Judge Stephen Harrison sentenced both defendants to each pay $20,000 in court fines along with a $60,000 penalty for adding rip-rap and removing vegetation to the site, which consequently altered a salmon feeding ground for decades to come.
Kier said the character, conduct and attitude of the defendants shows cause for a greater fine. He argued the company’s failure to obtain a building permit and subsequent attempts to destroy evidence showed a lack of remorse. Harrison gave little weight to Gaglardi’s testimony along with his draftsman Scott Harwood’s testimony, Kier said.
“There was no remorse whatsoever by these two respondents at trial,” Kier said. The Crown pointed to a situation where Harwood asked site manager Jim Parks to remove a logo from a drafted blueprint. “That should be taken in consideration by the court as an aggravating matter. Not only did they blame Parks, they told him 'take off our name so no one will know.'"
Defence counsel Rob Bruneau argued his clients complied with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after they halted construction.
"They did cooperate with respect to remediation immediately,” Bruneau said. He pointed to the $80,000 to $85,000 his clients paid in remediation costs before trial.
While Gaglardi and the company both faced charges, Bruneau said Northland Properties did not profit from the project.
“This is one project undertaken by the Gaglardi family using the company as a tool to do so,” he said.
Bruneau said his clients should be treated the same as others with similar charges and not face an increased fine because of their wealth. Kier called the original sentence a “pittance” and a “slap on the wrist” in terms of deterrence.
The maximum sentence for harmfully altering a fish habitat is $300,000. The B.C. Conservation Foundation is expected to put the money from the penalty towards restructuring fish habitats.
Justice Susan Griffin reserved her decision for a later date.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015