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PEI Farmer Pleads Guilty to Setback Violations

CBC - PEI

Farm pleads guilty to buffer zone violations
Brookfield Gardens had previously pleaded not guilty to three environmental charges

Posted: Jan 20, 2015 10:47 AM AT

Brookfield Gardens has pleaded guilty to farming on land that is too steep in a case connected to a fish kill.

Company vice president Travis Dykerman also pleaded guilty Tuesday to farming in a buffer zone, an area too close to a water course.

The case was in provincial court in Charlottetown Tuesday morning.

Thousands of trout and salmon were found dead along a section of North River in central P.E.I. on Aug. 9. That led to an investigation and three charges against Brookfield Gardens. Two were related to buffer zone violations, and one to farming on land with too steep a slope.

One of the buffer zone charges was stayed.

The actions of the farm have not been directly connected to the fish kill. Prosecutors say an investigation into the cause of the fish kill is still continuing at a federal level.

An agreed statement of facts in the case presented in court Tuesday said Brookfield Gardens was leasing the land in North Milton to grow carrots. Dykerman had ordered the planting of Sudan grass near the watercourse with the intention of stabilizing the soil, but the planting ended up disturbing the soil. The planting was done without a buffer zone activity permit.

In connection with the sloped field, the agreed statement of facts said a survey found 1.31 hectares of land had a slope greater than nine per cent.

Brookfield had pleaded not guilty to the three charges in December.

Brookfield Gardens was fined $310, and Dykerman fined $3,000.