Thought of the Day – Horse Fam v. Conservation Authority by Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth Marshall
Elizabeth Marshall

Why is something that, only if you plead guilty, is permissible by the C.A.s, and yet you are charged, and have to go bankrupt to not plead guilty?  That is for you and your elected officials to decide.


In around 2012-13 the Thomas’ decided to put in a sand-ring to exercise their horses, on their 25 acre property.  Shortly thereafter they were charged with “development within a 120 metre (390 feet) set back from an Environmentally protected area,” – a wetland.  And yet the Thomas’ have expressed that they have documents which state this area does not meet the criteria of an EPA to support a 120 metre set-back.


Of course, the Thomas’ knowing they hadn’t done anything wrong started their court battle, which is still going on today.  And of course, all of those who support the Conservation Authority (C.A.) are crying for blood, because how dare these people disturb a wet-land.  They cry “Don’t you know the C.A.s are to protect the environment and they are there to stop climate change.”  And of course, that statement is a fallacy. 


The C.A.s were created to stop flooding and erosion, clean garbage and debris out of the water-ways, build dams and reservoirs for times of drought and, with the permission of the private property owner, to plant trees on the private property owner’s land.  That is it.  But somehow they have morphed into power and money hungry entities that would destroy people, without any thought as to what they are doing or how much it costs – not only in monetary abuses but in how people look at them. 


At one time the C.A.s were entities people would respect – now they are one of the scourges of government, particularly if you are the Gilmors or the Thomas’.  You might think this is a “one off.”  You are incorrect.  Time and time again we hear the horror stories so this is not a limited issue – this is and has been a constant abuse of power for over a decade.  It has become an obsession for these people – almost as if they are addicted to this abusive power.


As for the sand-ring.  The Thomas’ put in the sand right to exercise horses.  When they purchased the property there was a 30-metre set back and somehow that set back grew to 120 metres, without the Thomas’ knowledge or consent.  The C.A. charged the Thomas’ and made accusations about how the Thomas’ are encroaching and ruining a wet-land.  If so, why would the C.A., involved, would make the following offer to the Thomas’?


“Conservation Halton would propose a resolution along the following lines.


1. The plea in this matter would change to “guilty” and a conviction registered (on one of the counts and as against each defendant). We can work out an agreed statement of facts easily enough for the court.


2. There would be an agreed submission to the court as to penalty which would consist of,

a. a fine of $1000 (This could be split $500 per defendant. You might recall that $500 was the contractor’s fine amount.) Note though that there is a “victim surcharge” of $50 each that will be added to each fine by the court office;


b. a charitable contribution in the minimum sum of $1500 (more if you wish) by one or both of your clients (or a business entity of theirs) to a charitable organization involved in environmental/ecological preservation in Canada (not this Authority). (This would result in a charitable donation for tax purposes).


c. no removal order would be sought by this Authority;


d. the result would be effectively no prohibition or restriction on the continued use of the riding ring;


e. permission to the Authority to enter on the lands at a mutually agreed time for the purposes of Authority evaluating and delineating the wetland (results to be provided to your clients as well for their information purposes).


f. An acknowledgement of the Authority’s regulation and a promise not to conduct further development as defined under the CA Act and not interfere with the wetland or related watercourses without the necessary permit from the Authority.”


So only if the Thomas’ plead guilty…but what has already been spent?  According to a Freedom of Information document obtained by the Thomas’ the C.A., as of 2018, has already spent $195,113.70 and the court battle continues on the tax-payers dime – not to mention the Thomas’ dime.  How much longer the Thomas’ can continue, is up to all Canadians…


It’s time to rid Ontario of these redundant entities and these egregious regulations as they are doing nothing for the environment; nothing to protect the water; and nothing to do with protecting the people of Ontario or the people of Canada – considering all Canadians are assisting in subsidizing the C.A.s. 


These C.A. leeches drag this out through the Courts until you are broke and can’t fight them any longer…all on tax-payers money, and for what $1,000.00 in fines – not to save the environment or to protect the water!


Why is something that, only if you plead guilty, is permissible by the C.A.s, and yet you are charged, and have to go bankrupt to not plead guilty?  That is for you and your elected officials to decide.