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North Bay builder fined for damaging turtle habitat

The court has ordered the company to pay $200,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The money is earmarked for conservation work and the future betterment of Blanding’s Turtles

NORTH BAY - Consolidated Homes Limited of North Bay, one of the largest builders in the city, has been found guilty of damaging the habitat of Blanding’s Turtle, a threatened species in Ontario.

The court has ordered the company to pay $200,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The money is earmarked for conservation work and the future betterment of Blanding’s Turtles.

The court heard that during the summer of 2018 the company used heavy equipment to remove vegetation from a property adjacent to Circle Lake in North Bay, causing damage to turtle habitat.

Staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry had previously warned the company about the existence of Blanding’s Turtles around Circle Lake and the need to obtain a permit before proceeding with any alterations to the species’ habitat. Conservation officers used a ministry-owned drone to map the extent of the damage.

In sentencing the company, Justice of the Peace Paula Nichols considered the prior warnings from the ministry, as well as other similar convictions under the Endangered Species Act to assess sentencing.

The case was heard over multiple days in the spring of 2022 and a decision was delivered on October 12.

Activities that impact species at risk and protected habitat can be reported by calling 1-866-MOE-TIPS (663-8477) or through the online reporting tool.