Cavanagh Construction pleads guilty of wetland alterations

CARLETON PLACE – Cavanagh Construction pleaded guilty to two charges for placing and removing material and site grading on protected wetlands.

Unlawful development within a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) has resulted in an area construction company pleading guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice on Sept. 18.

Cavanagh Construction plead guilty to two charges under provincial law for illegally placing and removing material and carrying out site grading within and adjacent to the Goulbourn PSW Complex west of Stittsville.

The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) is responsible for issuing permits under Ontario Regulation 153/06 that regulates development and interference within floodplains, wetlands, shorelines and watercourses.

“The provincial regulations are in place to safeguard the public and development against the risks associated with naturally occurring hazards such as flooding, and ensure sustainability of their ecological values and services,” the MVCA released in a statement today (Oct. 2). “Written permission is required from the conservation authority prior to conducting work in a regulated area.”

With the guilty pleas, Cavanagh Construction has been ordered by the Ontario Court of Justice to remove the illegally placed fill and to rehabilitate the damage within the regulated area, and to pay the maximum fine of $10,000 for each charge. The order also includes a donation of $50,000 in each of the years 2020 and 2021 to the Mississippi Valley Conservation Foundation that is to be used for the “conservation and protection of wetlands.”

Property owners, developers and contractors are encouraged to contact the MVCA prior to conducting development or site alteration in or around seasonally wet, wet, and near-shore areas to determine how the regulations may apply. The regulations are in place to ensure safe and sustainable development.

Every person found guilty of an offence that contravenes a regulation or the terms and conditions of a permit issued by a Conservation Authority is liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months. Additionally, the court may order the removal of the development, at that person’s expense, or rehabilitation of a wetland or watercourse.