Court Dismisses Appeal Filed By Owner Of High Falls Resort


An Ontario court has dismissed the appeal filed by the owner of High Falls Resort after he and his company were convicted of five violations under the Public Lands Act.

In 2022, the Bracebridge-based High Falls Resort Inc. and its president Brian Coldin were convicted on three counts of filling shorelands without a permit, one count of dredging shorelands without a permit and one count of disobeying a stop-work order. The province issued fines and probation orders to Coldin and the company prohibiting further unauthorized shoreline work. They were initially charged with seven counts under the Public Lands Act, resulting in five convictions and two acquittals

“With respect to the convictions, I find that Her Worship committed no legal errors,” Justice Sarah Tarcza said in the judgment released on March 22. “The verdicts were reasonable. There was no miscarriage of justice. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.”

When Coldin filed his appeal, the Crown filed a cross-appeal on the two acquittals, which was also dismissed. The Crown states that the dredging and filling offences related to the case go back to work performed in 2018 and 2019. 

Coldin communicated with a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) employee in 2013 in person and via email about his desired work and the need for a permit, but according to a statement from Coldin, he believed the “prior correspondence supported his claim of having an open permit to perform the work.” The MNRF did not receive any work permit applications from Coldin or the company during that time. 

Coldin and the High Falls Resort were also convicted for unlawfully filling shorelands in 2011 and issued a probation order at that time, so the court considered their compliance history while determining a sentence. The court fined the resort for $140,000 and Coldin for $40,000, including a surcharge of $35,000 for the company and $10,000 for Coldin.

Justice of the Peace Carolyn Noordegraaf originally heard the case in Bracebridge in September 2022. The appeal was heard on Feb 12, 2024.


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