MNRF Lays Second Charge Against TSBP For Damaging Piping Plover Habitat (Craig’s 8-3)

In April 2016 Sauble Beach habitat of the endangered piping plover was extensively groomed by a company registered to Deputy Mayor Jay Kirkland under contract to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.  Council did not authorize the grooming of habitat, and was not informed that the grooming would be done.  The grooming was clearly in violation of the applicable town policy.  No charges were laid.

In April 2017 Sauble Beach habitat of the endangered piping plover was again extensively groomed, this time by a numbered company under contract to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, that numbered company being registered to James Ray Kirkland, brother of Deputy Mayor Jay Kirkland.  Council did not authorize the grooming of habitat, and was not informed that the grooming would be done.  The grooming was clearly in violation of the applicable town policy.

On March 21, 2018, following a nine month investigation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry  charged the town with contravention of the Endangered Species Act, alleging that the April 2017 grooming damaged piping plover habitat.

In August and September 2017 plover habitat was again extensively groomed, this time including bulldozing of habitat, this time by town staff.  Council was warned beforehand that the grooming would be unlawful.  Once again, council did not authorize the grooming of habitat.

On July 25, 2018 the MNRF laid a second charge against the town, alleging that the August/ September 2017 grooming damaged habitat in contravention of the Act.

With the two charges, the town is facing up to $3,000,000 in fines if convicted.

And there could be more charges.

Because the taxpayers are already paying the Town’s hefty legal fees ($176,085 to date and increasing rapidly), and because any fines will be paid by taxpayers, it is incumbent upon the town to be open and transparent and honest about this matter.

Yet there has been no word from the town regarding the most recent charge. And the legal fees, which have not been authorized by council, are also being kept from the public.

Habitat is defined at Sauble Beach as 500 meters each way North and South of a nest, from Lakeshore Blvd. in the East to the edge of Lake Huron in the West.  An area that was habitat while a nest is present continues to be habitat for at least one year , and as many as five years, after the birds have left the nest.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits damage or destruction of piping plover habitat. Since November 2012 TSBP policy also clearly prohibits mechanical grooming of habitat.

Council has never authorized, by resolution, grooming of piping plover habitat.  Janice Jackson, Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson were warned in the special council meeting of August 11, 2017 that what they were considering was illegal and could bring serious consequences.

There is indication that Janice Jackson, using authority she does not legitimately possess, sanctioned the grooming of plover habitat spring 2016, spring 2017, and fall 2017.  There is indication she had support from Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson.

There is indication that Janice Jackson, using authority she does not legitimately possess, sanctioned the grooming of plover habitat spring 2016, spring 2017, and fall 2017.  There is indication she had support from Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson.

Some residents are saying that Janice Jackson directed the impugned grooming and is trying to hide her brash actions and the consequences of her brash actions out of fear that public knowledge of her role in the affair and the charges and the legal costs will harm her re-election prospects.

Some say she is trying to hide her actions out of fear that she will be personally charged, or will be personally held accountable for the town’s contravention.

The town appears in court next on August 29, 2018 for an attempt at resolution (for example a guilty plea).  If the matter cannot be resolved, a trial date will be set.   Many are watching closely.

 

Craig Gammie

Squabble Beach

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8 Responses to MNRF Lays Second Charge Against TSBP For Damaging Piping Plover Habitat (Craig’s 8-3)

  1. yabder4 says:

    Come on Craig, a vast majority of those legal fees have been to defend against your frivolous attacks on Council and it’s members. You make it sound like those fees were for the plover situation. FAKE News.

    • cgammie says:

      yabder4. The $176,085 to date came from the TSBP chief financial officer and it was clearly specified as legal fees related to the beach raking issue and is mostly fees paid to the law firm Lisus Gotleib… The town was charged twice and served a cease-and-desist order, and is vigorously fighting all three. Do you imagine that is free. The $176,085 has nothing to do with any legal matters that I was involved in. You need to check your facts before you accuse someone of fake news. As an aside no legal proceeding of mine has ever been deemed frivolous by a competent authority. And councils are accountable for any any legal fees the town has paid related to my proceedings (see https://craiggammieblog.com/2018/04/23/craig-responds-to-allegations-regarding-legal-costs/).

      • Zebra1 says:

        “no legal proceeding of mine has ever been deemed frivolous ” Really?? Seems to me your suit against Councillor Jackson was.

        • cgammie says:

          You can claim anything you want. But claiming something does not make it fact.
          There was no lawsuit. There was an “application”. Which is completety different. If my application re Matt Jackson were “deemed frivolous” by the court, it would have to be in writing. .Please produce that court finding in writing. Or retract.

  2. Zebra1 says:

    Here is what was reported Craig, per
    https://www.pressreader.com/canada/wiarton-echo/20180731/281513636958222

    “About a year after being accused of a conflict of interest case as per the Municipal Act by former Councillor, Craig Gammie, Councillor Matt Jackson has been vindicated” … “Cynthia Peterson, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, had dismissed the case “without even hearing my lawyer’s defence arguments” … “”Now that my name is cleared, my priority is protecting the taxpayers” he said, adding the case cost over $45,000 to defend to date”

    • cgammie says:

      Zebra1: You said my proceeding against Jackson was “deemed frivolous by the court”, I challenged you to support that. You did not and cannot. Retract you comment please.

      • Zebra1 says:

        Wrong again Craig, I never said it was “deemed frivolous by the court”, Contrary to what your “quotes” indicate, I said it “seems to me” that it was frivolous. Me, not the court.. Quit putting words in my mouth. You said ” no legal proceeding of mine has ever been deemed frivolous by a competent authority”, no mention of a court. I consider myself a competent authority.
        In my opinion, the fact the judge didn’t even need to hear the testimony of the defense, after you spent 3 hours orating, speaks volumes to the lack of credibility of your case, in my humble opinion.

        • cgammie says:

          I said “no legal proceeding of mine has ever been deemed frivolous by a competent authority”. That is my claim. Your claim is clearly that some proceeding of mine has been deemed frivolous by a competent authority. Prefacing your claim by “It seems to me..” does not make it any less a claim. Your claim, as I understand it, is false.

          In this context, a competent authority means someone who can find a proceeding frivolous or vexatious according to the rules of civil procedure and can act accordingly.

          You are clearly not such a “competent authority”.

          The judge did not require the respondent to argue at the hearing. But arguments from both sides had to be submitted, and were submitted, much earlier, and were read by the judge before the hearing. If the judge had considered my application frivolous, she would have said so, at the beginning of the hearing. She did not. Nor did the respondent lawyer claim that my application was frivolous. I can conclude with confidence that the competent authority did not find, conclude, or deem my application frivolous.

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