September 13, 2002

Moncton Times and Transcript

Pollution case adjourned again

It will be another three months before the City of Moncton enters a plea on charges it polluted the Petitcodiac River.

Charges were laid in February, after a year-long investigation, against the city, Moncton’s commissioner of Engineering and Public Works Geoff Greenough, Gemtec, the local engineering consulting firm the city hired in 1993 to develop a closure plan for the old landfill on the banks of the Petitcodiac River and Gemtec employee Robert Lutes.

Environment Canada is accusing the city of unlawfully depositing a deleterious substance in water inhabited by fish in relation to the old landfill located on the banks of the Petitcodiac River. Leachate forms when rainwater passes through the landfill and becomes contaminated. The alleged violation occurs when it seeps out of the landfill and into Jonathon Creek and the river.

Pleas were originally scheduled to be heard in April but the case was adjourned until May at the request of the defence lawyers because there was a substantial amount of technical and scientific documents to sift through. At the hearing in May, the case was once again adjourned for the same reason.

That was the situation again yesterday. Marc-Antoine Chiasson, representing the city and Greenough, and speaking for Lutes and Gemtec on this day, requested more time from Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman. He said they have received more disclosure last week and this week, meaning there are more documents to go through.

“We’re not in a position to enter a plea and seek a further adjournment,” said Chiasson.

Dugas-Horsman granted the adjournment, scheduling a plea for Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m.

But she wasn’t happy that it will take four court appearances to enter a plea.

“This matter has been before the courts since April and we still haven’t heard a plea,” said the judge. “In December it will have to be extraordinary circumstances for the court not to hear a plea, I’ll tell you that.”