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Is there real enforcement of conservation authority regulations? Often, no, but that may be starting to change.

In Lakehead Region Conservation Authority v. DeMichele, the Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a permanent injunction preventing a developer from further dredging and filling in a wetland, without a permit. DeMichele had a history of developing land without a permit, and argued that the Authority cannot enforce its regulations against him because it failed to do so in the past.

The Court agreed that further dredging or placing of fill in the wetland might damage the wetland, and that it was in the public interest to ensure that the unauthorized work on the land ceases.  The LRCA cannot, however, force DeMichele to remediate work he conducted in the past, when the LRCA knew or ought to have known that he was doing it; in fact, it appears to have sanctioned some of the work. The LRCA was also awarded legal costs totalling $22,000, although its actual costs were considerably higher.

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