May 16, 2005

$90K in penalties levied against turf supplier for offences in Ontario, Alberta

Violations of environmental laws in Ontario and Alberta have cost the Manderley Corporation a total of $90,000 in penalties.

In Brantford, Ontario recently, the company pleaded guilty to a charge under Ontario's Pesticides Act and was fined $15,000, plus victim fine surcharge. Manderley operates 17 farms in Brant County, supplying turfgrass products for lawns, sport fields and golf courses.

In June 2003, a Manderley employee who was not licensed to apply pesticides sprayed pesticides at one of the company's farms. The following month, a neighbouring tobacco crop showed signs of damage. An investigation linked the damage directly to the spraying operations at Manderley, and the company was charged under section 42(1) of the act with discharging pesticides into the natural environment causing damage to plant life.

Following conviction, Manderley was given 90 days to pay the fine. The company has also resolved a civil suit with the neighbour whose crops were affected, and made full payment of the damages.

In Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manderley received a $75,000 penalty in provincial court after pleading guilty to failing to report the release of a hazardous substance, as required by the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Company manager Arnold Van De Ligt was also fined $7,500 for failing to provide information as required under the act.

In June 2003, Alberta Environment responded to complaints of a petrochemical sheen and odour on the North Saskatchewan River, north of Fort Saskatchewan. Manderley, which runs a turf grass operation adjacent to the river, was found to have leaked between 1,500 and 1,750 litres of diesel fuel into the soils of the riverbank. The leak, whose origin was determined to be a ruptured fuel line on a water pump, was not reported by the on-site manager upon discovery.

The $75,000 penalty included a fine of $20,284.50 plus four creative sentencing orders for sod, valued at a total of $54,715.50. These sod orders will be directed over the next several weeks to projects with high community impact, including: $24,948 (10,130 metres of soil) for 59 Habitat for Humanity homes across the province; $15,307.50 (8,152 square metres) for Strathcona County's Salisbury Composite Athletic Field "B"; $10,500 (5,183 square metres) for Fort Saskatchewan's Mowat Park Soccer Pitch; and $3,960 (2,007 square metres) for the village of Andrew Centennial Park.

Alberta Environment uses creative sentencing to make penalties more meaningful and result in clear benefits for the environment. These sentences typically direct the offender to remedy or prevent harm to the environment or perform a community service. Creative sentencing orders have been an option under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act since 1993.

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