Radium Resort enters guilty pleas to toxic fire charges

Plea made in court August 13

On Monday, August 13th, Radium Resort pled guilty to two charges related to a toxic fire on their property in February 2016.

The fire started with permission from the BC Wildfire Service as a controlled burn of two wood piles. But when Radium Resort left the fire unattended, it spread to a contentious pile of construction waste.

The pile of construction material had been the subject of a complaint a year earlier. Both the Conservation Officer Service and the environmental protection division advised Radium Resort that the waste, which was in violation of the Environmental Management Act, needed to be taken to an authorized waste disposal facility.

Two months before the fire began, the Ministry of Environment again advised Radium Resort that the construction waste needed to be dealt with immediately.

However, the material remained on site and went up in smoke in a fire that burned for a week and was so severe that Interior Health issued an air quality advisory for the Village of Radium Hot Springs.

Norm Macdonald, then the Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA, expressed frustration at the time.

“It’s a dramatic case of environmental damage being caused by regulations not being followed,” he said.

Following a lengthy Conservation Officer Service investigation, Radium Resort pled guilty to two charges related to causing pollution and burning prohibited material.

On Thursday, August 23rd provincial court Judge Grant Sheard ordered Radium Resort to pay $10,000 in fines for the violations. He also ordered Radium

Resort to pay $190,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for fish, wildlife and habitat initiatives in the Valley.

Steve Haggard, general manager of the Radium Golf Group, which is owned by Radium Resort said:

“Obviously we regret that this happened because it caused a massive disturbance from what I understand.”

Mr. Haggard started his position after the fire, but said he knows that “there was a lot of heavy smoke in the area and it did cause some concerns for residents.”

While “nobody is going to be happy” about the solution, he said he is pleased there has been a form of resolution and that the resort’s mandatory environmental donation will go toward projects within the Valley.

“Obviously the nature in our area is an extremely important part of who we are and tourism and all the businesses around here as well,” he said.

To date the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has channelled $1.3 million in court-ordered funding into environmental projects across the province.

Kerrie Mortin, the foundation’s acting CEO, said “the circumstances are not ideal for anyone or for the environment out there” but that any court-ordered investment in conservation makes the most of an unfortunate situation.

Judge Sheard also ordered Radium Resort to publish the facts related to their offences in the Pioneer.

-With Pioneer files

Just Posted

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Robbery with a hammer at Invermere Dairy Queen

Robber makes off with undisclosed amount of cash.

Talking valley politics

Local politicians offered an update on their communities and progess.

Who should own James Chabot park?

Invermere asks for James Chabot park back from province

January precipitation deepens snowpack in B.C.’s mountains

Most of the province now has higher-than-normal snowpack levels

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

B.C. men arrested after theft of heavy equipment leads to highway blockade

One man surrendered to police while the other was taken into custody the next morning, RCMP say

PHOTOS: Trans Mountain hosts mock oil spill response practice in Kamloops

Practice comes after an excavator accidentally struck the pipeline near Jacko Lake in mid-February

Federal Indigenous services minister meets First Nation at rail blockade

Blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory near Belleville, Ont., is in its 10th day

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

Most Read