The Ontario Government is safeguarding waterways and shoreline ecosystems by prohibiting shoreline dredging and filling.
High Falls Resort Inc. (1387881 Ontario Inc.) and its president Brian Coldin of Bracebridge were convicted of violations under the Public Lands Act. Coldin and the resort were each convicted of 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.
High Falls Resort Inc. was fined a total of $140,000. Coldin was fined $40,000 in total. The court also imposed a surcharge of $35,000 to the company and $10,000 against Coldin.
In addition to the fines, both the company and its president were issued probation orders prohibiting continued unauthorized shoreline work.
The court heard that between May of 2018 and July of 2019, Coldin conducted unauthorized shoreline work fronting the waterpark of the resort property which is situated along the North Branch of the Muskoka River in the Town of Bracebridge. The work that had taken place included dredging and filling the shoreline with several loads of sand and graded it to create a beach for the resort users. In 2018, Coldin was served a stop-work order to prohibit further filling of shorelands. He again filled shorelands in contravention of the order. The deposited sand subsequently washed away when the water levels rose in the spring.
In determining a sentence, the court relied on the compliance history of Coldin and the High Falls Resort; in 2011, the resort had been convicted for unlawfully filling shorelands and was issued a probation order at that time.
Justice of the Peace Carolyn Noordegraaf heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on September 27, 2022.
To report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.