BC Improves environmental reporting

If you commit an environmental offense, your name, fine amount and infraction information will now be made public via a new database.

If you commit an environmental offense, your name, fine amount and infraction information will now be made public via a new database.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the launch of the new online database should act as a deterrent to those planning on running afoul of B.C.’s environmental rules.

The database makes it easier to keep track of the people, businesses and industries that have been caught and fined.

Environment Minister Terry Lake said, “The searchable database is part of our mission to improve the way we make information available to the public.”

The free database includes a variety of compliance and enforcement actions taken by ministry staff and enforcement officers.

It includes orders, administrative sanctions, tickets and court convictions covering hunting and fishing, open burning, mud bogging, dam safety and pesticide and pollution violations. Users can search by names, dates or types of infractions dating back to 2006.

“One of the benefits of making this information more accessible is that it will serve as an added deterrent and help increase compliance with our regulations,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The database currently shows 67 records for Burns Lake, from 2006 to December 2010, including a range of Wildlife Act and Water Act infractions.

The database revealed a 2008 fine under the Water Act was issued to Lakes District Maintenance for making a change to a stream without lawful entry.

A ticket was issued in the Nechako Lakes/Omineca region between October and December 2010 to the District of Vanderhoof, who were ordered to pay $575 under the Environmental Management Act for introducing waste into the environment by a prescribed activity.

Most notably in December 2010, Smithers residents Tyler Green and Donald Mowatt both entered guilty pleas at the Smithers Provincial Court and were each ordered to pay $3,000 to the Grizzly Bear Trust Fund, as well as an additional $1,200 each in restitution to parties affected by their illegal activities. Green was charged with hunting without a limited entry hunt authorization, while Mowatt was charged with trafficking dead wildlife parts in connection to the illegal killing and selling of grizzly bears in the Hazelton area. Mowatt was also issued with a five year hunting prohibition.

Numerous tickets have been issued to Burns Lake residents for hunting and fishing violations since 2006.

Pinnacle Pellet in Prince George were also issued four $575 tickets in 2009 under the Environmental Management Act for various infractions including failing to comply with the terms of a permit and introducing waste into the environment without a permit or approval.

Environmental violations and human-wildlife conflicts should be reported to the  24 hour conservation office service call centre at 1-877-952-7277.

To view the database or search for the most recent quarterly environmental compliance and enforcement summary at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/main/compliance-reporting.