April 10, 2021
Janice Jackson has been fighting with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) over plover habitat protection since 2011 or earlier. She was repeatedly warned by MNR staff that grooming beyond MNR guidance would probably be considered a chargeable contravention under the Endangered Species Act and could result in charges and fines.
She very publicly indicated in 2017 that she wanted to draw the courts in to settle her dispute with the MNR. This is from the Owen Sound Sun Times July 11, 2017:
“Jackson said she is not afraid of the town being fined. “It’ll give us the ability to appeal and hopefully it will come before a judge who can then make a decision on what we can and can’t do on the beach.””Owen Sound Sun Times
The decisions to groom excessively (spring 2017) and bulldoze (fall 2017) beyond the Endangered Species Act and beyond the town bylaw were not council decisions. The decisions were all or primarily Janice Jackson’s. The 2017 grooming actions appear to challenge the MNR to charge the town.
Ms. Jackson had choices at several points.
In 2017 she could have just obeyed the Endangered Species Act and followed MNR guidance (and followed the Town By-law). There would then have been no charges or legal costs, and the million dollars would still be in the taxpayers’ pockets. Instead, with callous disregard for the taxpayers’ money, Ms. Jackson chose to fight.
When charged for the 2017 maintenance, the town could have admitted fault, and promised to obey the law going forward. A guess is that the crown would have settled the matter for zero costs or possibly a tiny penalty. Cost to taxpayers? Maybe $100,000 maximum. Instead, with callous disregard for the taxpayers’ money, Ms. Jackson or Ms. Jackson and council chose to fight on.
When convicted in October 2019 the town could have paid the fines, declined to appeal, and conformed to the law going forward. Cost to that point would have been about another 5 hundred thousand or more. Instead, with callous disregard for the taxpayers’ money, she or she and council chose to fight on.
An appeal was filed October 11, 2020 and dismissed March 2021. Costs reached over a million by that point. Ms. Jackson could have quit and stopped the drain on the taxpayers. Instead, with callous disregard for the taxpayers’ money, she or she and council chose to fight on.
Notice was filed April 8 2021 for leave to appeal the 2021 appeal decision. The motion was heard May 4, 2021. A decision is expected by May 11 2021.
If leave is granted, and Ms. Jackson prevails, there will be a second appeal. At great cost to the taxpayers.
At every stage the decision maker or makers had choice. She/they chose badly. The costs are on her/ them. The taxpayers should not be forced to pay for Jackson’s war.