In my opinion, this was a massive case of shoreline destruction occasioned in large part by Mr. Kuzub Sr. who felt it was easier to beg forgiveness from SERM than it was to ask for permission and request the appropriate permissions and permits in which to facilitate the work. He knew from his previous experience with SERM that it was a long complicated process that would not likely have been granted in the form in which he wanted it. In my opinion, he took the law into his own hands, decided that the shore needed “cleaning up” if they were ever going to sell these lots and started out with the intention of removing a few old docks and got carried away with the skid steer. I do not accept the fact that he did not have a future subdivision in mind when he started this project. Anyone in Saskatchewan who owns lakefront property now knows that with the increasing demand for lots from purchasers from other provinces, that they are sitting on property that is extremely valuable. This was his attempt to make that land more valuable, more saleable and no doubt to help his son out, as parents are inclined to do. So he cleaned out the old docks and just kept on going and re-contoured the whole beach, taking out bullrushes, natural vegetation and entering the lake bed with his equipment. It is hard to imagine a more reckless approach to a shoreline especially in this day and age when everyone in this province has been sensitized to environmental interests such as spills, clean ups and on a local basis, the removal of old gas stations and underground storage facilities. In my opinion, the Accused had to have known how difficult it would have been, if not impossible, to get the requisite permits so he decided to proceed without them.Read the decision at: R. v. Kuzub. (Note: the spelling of the last name of the father and son changed between the release of the trial decision and this sentencing decision)
I do have more sympathy for Mr. Kuzub Jr. who was out of province when the whole shoreline was altered by his father. I am satisfied that he was indeed shocked and horrified when he returned to Saskatchewan and discovered what his father had accomplished in his absence. He set out to repair the damage himself, knowing full well that if SERM got involved there would be an extensive investigation. That however in my opinion, compounded his involvement. If he had gone to SERM then and told them what had happened, perhaps this prosecution could have been avoided but he instead sought to remedy the situation himself in the vain hope perhaps that no one would notice. He has paid a significant price for this issue in terms of legal fees, public embarrassment and the costs of the remediation but this does not absolve him from some responsibility in terms of the shoreline destruction. Additionally he does stand to benefit handsomely once these lots are finally sold.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
In March, I reported on the convictions of a Saskatchewan father and son for having altered the shoreline of Round Lake next to the son's property (click here). On June 14, the Provincial Court released its decision on sentencing, imposing a $30,000 fine on the father and a $10,000 fine on the son. The judge wrote: