Endangered Species Charges Against Bracebridge And Its Officials Dropped


Today, a federal Crown for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General concluded that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction for any of the private charges brought against the Town of Bracebridge; former Mayor Graydon Smith; Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Rettie; or Director of Public Works Geoff Carleton by Michael Opara. Accordingly, the Crown has intervened in the prosecution and, pursuant to s.32 of the Provincial Offences Act, has withdrawn all charges.

On June 21, 2022, Opara filed a private information against the Town of Bracebridge, former mayor and heads of staff accusing them of the mistreatment of Blanding’s turtles, an at-risk species, by performing routine grading work on Peace Valley Road in 2021.

The Ontario Ministry for the Attorney General conducted an investigation to review Opara’s allegations and found that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. It was determined that it could not be proven that the Town’s road grading activities harmed a species at risk or its habitat. Furthermore, the Ministry determined that there was insufficient evidence that Blanding’s turtles were present in this area.

The Town is committed to environmental stewardship and protecting the beauty of Muskoka while keeping our roads safe. The Town’s innocence was shown by the intervention of the Crown and withdrawal of these unsubstantiated charges.


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