SUNDRIDGE, Ont.—The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has quietly agreed to pay $250,000 in fines after one of its contractors allowed sediment to destroy a fish habitat near Algonquin Park.
According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the provincial ministry and construction contractor Carillion Canada Inc. were each handed fines of $250,000 for violations under the federal Fisheries Act.
The violations stem from repeated sediment spills, and the subsequent destruction of fish habitat in Stirling Creek, which is part of the the Magnetawan River watershed near Parry Sound, Ont., during construction work along Highway 11 between Burk’s Falls and Sundridge, Ont., in the spring of 2011.
Carillion had been awarded a contract by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for the expansion of the highway, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
An investigation by federal officials found “repeated deposits of sediment into the Magnetawan River watershed due to insufficient sediment and erosion control measures.”
Both the provincial ministry and its contractor entered guilty pleas in Ontario court to violating both Section 35(1) for “the harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat,” and Section 36(3) for “depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish.”
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation was ordered to pay a fine of $250,000 on Sept. 24, while Carillion was handed the same penalty Nov. 12.
Of the penalty to be paid by Carillion, $225,000 will be directed into the Environmental Damages Fund, with the funds to be disbursed under the direction of the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority and the Greater Nippissing Stewardship Council.