The City of Kawartha Lakes, in southeastern Ontario, has agreed to take several measures after a contractor’s drain maintenance work in 2014 released sediment to fatal effect in a fish-bearing waterway.
According to a statement from City officials, the summer maintenance work at the Washington Drain involved the removal of vegetation, silt accumulation, and several beaver dams.
The City admitted its silt controls failed.
“The City regrets any negative impact to the environment and has taken several proactive steps to continue responsible stewardship of our land and water,” stated an official news release from Kawartha Lakes, located about 80 kilometres northwest of Peterborough.
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Entering into a diversion agreement with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada over Fisheries Act charges, the City will voluntarily pay $75,000 into an Environmental Damages Fund. The City has also agreed to update its standard operating procedures for drain works, and publish a notice of the 2014 incident on its municipal website.
Under the agreement, the charges originally laid by Fisheries and Oceans Canada were withdrawn.
“The municipality has also funded Kawartha Conservation’s update to the Drain Maintenance Classification System which will better ensure protection of fisheries by way of more accurate identification,” the news release continued. “It will also work closely with its Conservation Authorities to ensure permits provide additional clarity on sedimentation and erosion control requirements.”
The City’s $75,000 payment will be available for the next five years to support projects within the municipality that focus on environmental restoration, environmental quality improvement, research and development, or education.
Diversion agreements aim to resolve charges outside of traditional judicial proceedings.