John Boonstra, a cattle farmer in Smithers, British Columbia, was sentenced on October 11, 2011, to three days jail time, one day for each charge under section 79.6 of the Fisheries Act. Jailing environmental offenders remains rare, even for repeat offenders, but a three day sentence is conspicuously short. Mr. Boonstra failed to comply with a June 2008 Court Order. Boonstra was first charged by Environment Canada in March 2005, and found guilty in 2008, for having allowed agricultural discharges into the Robin Creek, for having allowed the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, by letting his cattle walk into the creek in 2004, and for having twice failed to pay his penalty and to replant the damaged area with native plants.
Boonstra must pay off his outstanding $17,000 debt to the Environmental Damages Fund and perform remediation work on his property adjacent to Robin Creek. This remediation includes an approved re-introduction of native plant species at or near significant fish habitat which was the subject of his original conviction in 2008. This work must be completed by September 2012. Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans say they will be monitoring the area as well as the success of this reintroduction through 2014.