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Shuswap Candidate Charged Under Fisheries Act in 2010

Company assessed $375,000 penalty for clearing legally protected habitat.

By Andrew MacLeod 22 Apr 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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Shuswap Liberal candidate Greg Kyllo was an owner of a project penalized $375,000 under the Fisheries Act in 2010. Photo: Twitter.

The British Columbia Liberal Party candidate in Shuswap, Greg Kyllo, had an ownership stake in a project that in 2010 garnered a $375,000 penalty under the Fisheries Act for harming sensitive fish habitat.

"If someone has had a company that was convicted of destroying fish habitat, how is that person deemed to have the qualifications to become an MLA?" asked Jim Cooperman, the president of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society. "Someone should be looking at this."

"A company I had ownership in took responsibility for the issue, and it was widely reported at the time," Kyllo said in an email to The Tyee, which had tried to reach him by phone and email.

"We undertook nearly $275K in restoration to fix this issue, and are currently monitoring those results," he said.

Kyllo added he has since been elected to the council for the District of Sicamous "and I continue to lead one of the most successful businesses in the riding." His businesses include the Twin Anchors Marine Group and TA Structures.

The case circles around the Old Town Bay development on Shuswap Lake at the mouth of the Eagle River near Sicamous.

Despite consulting with habitat biologists and other experts from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in 2007 the company went ahead and cleared areas near the shore that were permanently protected under both federal and provincial law, according to a 2010 DFO news release.

"In early 2009, after a lengthy and extensive investigation, the Corporation was charged with clearing forest and vegetation from seven hectares of a relatively rare landform in the Eagle River delta area on Shuswap Lake," the release said.

"Delta areas like the one involved in this case are of particular importance to juvenile salmonids as they represent safe areas that are rich in food for juvenile fish," it said. "The Eagle River and Shuswap Lake are habitat for sockeye, chinook, coho and pink salmon, rainbow trout, steelhead, lake char and a variety of other fish, and support commercial, recreational and First Nations fisheries."

Kyllo wanted 'vindication'

According to an April 13, 2010 report by Lachlan Labere in the Sicamous Eagle Valley News, Clint Caisin and Stan Pappus, developers representing numbered company 0702905 B.C. Ltd., pleaded guilty to charges of making harmful alterations to fish habitat.

At the same time charges against developers Kyllo, his brother Todd Kyllo and Jack Irwin were stayed, meaning they were neither cleared nor found guilty.

A 2009 Sicamous Eagle Valley News story had quoted Greg Kyllo saying, "We are looking forward to presenting our side of the case and looking for full vindication of any wrong doing."

The penalty to the company Kyllo owned included a $5,000 fine, $70,000 for the Fraser Basin Council "to support conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat in the Shuswap Lake area," and $300,000 to pay for remediation of the damaged site.

According to DFO's release, the development proposal included plans for residential properties, a marina and other recreational facilities.

The Kyllo brothers reportedly divested themselves of their majority interest in the Old Town Bay project in 2011.

Shuswap has been represented by the BC Liberal's George Abbott since 1996. Kyllo faces the NDP's Steve Gunner, BC Conservative Tom Birch and the Green Party's Chris George.  [Tyee]

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