December 17, 2002

Moncton Times and Transcript

City of Moncton, consultant plead not guilty to polluting river

The City of Moncton and a consultant have pleaded not guilty to charges of polluting the Petitcodiac River.

Lawyers for the city, the city’s director of engineering Geoff Greenough, engineering consultant Gemtec and Gemtec employee Robert Lutes entered the plea in provincial court Tuesday.

A trial date will be set during the next court appearance Jan. 13.

Charges under the federal Fisheries Act were laid by Environment Canada last February after an investigation that began more than a year earlier.

The city is accused of unlawfully endangering fish in the river by depositing a “deleterious substance” into it via a landfill located on the river’s banks.

The investigation began late in 2000 after a complaint from Daniel LeBlanc, a director of the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, an environmental group.

Environment Canada has said the “deleterious substance” is leachate created when rainwater passes through the landfill and seeps into the water system.

The city stopped using the dump in 1992 and in 1993 hired Gemtec to develop a closure plan.

If found guilty, the municipal government could face a fine of up to $1 million and also be liable for costs to fix the problem.