North Okanagan farmer fails to overturn environment fine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan farmer fails to overturn environment fine

Richard Yntema has farmed fallow deer since 1991.

A North Okanagan farmer, previously convicted for multiple violations at his Enderby slaughterhouse, has failed in his attempt to overturn a fine handed out for breaking provincial environmental laws.

Enderby farmer Richard Yntema was fined $6,300 in November 2020 for failing to produce records to an inspector among other infractions but contested the fine through the Environmental Appeal Board.

According to a Nov. 29 Environmental Appeal Board decision, Yntema ignored multiple written, emailed, and in-person requests for paperwork dating back years.

The records involve the amount of wastewater Yntema's slaughterhouse produces as well as the weight of live animals killed each year.

In the decision, Yntema argues his facility does not discharge waste and he does not understand why he's being made to record it. He says that other abattoir owners of his size do not submit records of their waste volumes and it isn't documented.

"He maintains that he is being singled out from other abattoir operators and is being treated in a harsh and unfair manner," the decision says.

Yntema also argues paying a $6,300 penalty "makes no sense," because his facility still will not be in compliance and he wants to work on a mutually agreeable solution.

While it's not clear whether the two matters are connected, in November 2020 Yntema was charged with failing to give "reasonable assistance" or "relevant information" to health inspectors regarding unidentified or untagged animals which arrived for slaughter at his property.

The case is still moving through the courts and records show Yntema plans to plead guilty to some or all of the charges in February next year.

Yntema has had issues with the authorities dating back years.

In 2016 conservation officers obtained a warrant and shot a herd of fallow deer on his property after he failed to prevent the animals from escaping. Conservation officers say they'd tried to catch the animals but failed and roughly 30 deer were shot.

The Environmental Appeal Board decision shows a long history of Yntema's involvement with provincial regulators dating back to 2010.

"Mr. Yntema has been uncooperative with Inspecting Officers by refusing to answer questions and provide records required," reads the decision. "He has evaded contact with the Inspecting Officers by refusing to respond to inspection records sent by email and failing to claim inspection records sent by registered mail. Mr. Yntema has also attempted to refuse an inspection record and warning hand-delivered by the (Conservation Officer Service)."

The Environmental Appeal Board found the contravention to be minor because there was no evidence that it had actual or potential adverse effects on the environment.

Ultimately, the Environment Appeal Board found that the Yntema had not contravened the Environmental Management Act and wiped the $6,300 fine.

However, it found his farming practices contravened the Code of Practice for the Slaughter and Poultry Processing Industries and levied a fine of $3,525 instead.

READ MORE: North Okanagan farmer charged for obstructing health inspectors

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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