Lake Louise ski resort to appeal $2.1M fine for chopping down endangered trees

Two charges were laid under the Species at Risk Act and the Canada National Parks Act

The Lake Louise Ski Area was fined $2.1 million on November 30 for unlawfully removing and destroying 140 trees, including 39 endangered whitebark pines.

The investigation began in 2014, when Parks Canada park wardens received a report that whitebark pine trees, listed as an endangered species under the Species at Risk Act, had been cut down at the ski area. Their inspection showed that 140 trees, including 39 whitebark pines, had been unlawfully removed and destroyed on the ski area leasehold.

The Lake Louise Ski Area pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of Alberta in December 2017. The Lake Louise Ski Area was convicted for two charges under the Species at Risk Act and the Canada National Parks Act for the removal and destruction of the trees and damage and destruction of flora in a national park without an appropriate permit.

Lake Louise Ski Area brand and communications director Dan Markham said they did not expect the ruling and the hefty fine.

“We were quite surprised with the amount, which seemed considerably higher than precedents,” he said. “We were also very surprised for the reasons for the decision from the judge today.”

In court, Markham says it was clearly defined and acknowledged by the prosecution that there was no impact to the whitebark pine population, and he says the Lake Louise Ski Area will be putting in an application for an appeal as quickly as possible.

“It was determined by our experts and admitted by the prosecution that there was zero impact on the whitebark pine population,” he said.

The $2.1 million the Lake Louise Ski Area has been fined is intended to be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, which is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The fund supports projects led by non-governmental organizations, universities and academic institutions, Indigenous groups, and provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.

The whitebark pine is listed as endangered in the Species at Risk Act, and by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Whitebark pine is an essential tree species in the high elevation forest ecosystems of the Rocky and Columbia Mountain chains. It is found in seven of Canada’s national parks. The survival of the whitebark pine has been threatened by the combined effects of long-term fire suppression, climate change, mountain pine beetle outbreaks, and white pine blister rust, which is a disease.

Just Posted

Vernon Realtors throw party, raise money for local teens

O’Keefe 3 Percent Realty raised $2,475 for Teen Junction

Piper’s swan song at Vernon Remembrance Day ceremony

Founder of Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band hangs his hat

Vernon council to boost speed limit on problematic roadway

Despite crash records, fatalities and opposition from staff and residents, speed limits could rise

Okanagan Symphony celebrates 60 years

Themes and Innovations is the second concert in the milestone season

Experience winter magic in Armstrong the old fashioned way

Horse Drawn Okanagan sleigh rides to run through December

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Advertising restrictions frustrate Salmon Arm cannabis retailers

Retail prices off-putting to some, but businesses finding supportive clientele

New case of vaping-related illness in Quebec brings national total to 8

Quebec health minister considering tightening the rules around vaping products

Greens to vote against Liberal throne speech unless carbon targets toughened: May

Green leader Elizabeth May and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Friday, discussing common ground

Penticton RCMP reviewing sexual assault claims

Thirty-eight per cent of the sexual assault reports in 2018 were deemed “unfounded” by RCMP

Kelowna mayor apologizes for initial reaction to sexual assault statistics

The mayor issued the statement after he came under heavy fire from a sexual assault survivor

First Nations ‘optimistic’ about road upgrades after Horgan visits site of fatal bus crash

Premier travelled Bamfield Main road, where bus flipped last September and two students were killed

Morning Start: The man who invented the Pringles can was buried in one

Your morning start for Friday, November 15, 2019

Most Read