GROUPS WIN PROSECUTION AGAINST ONTARIO MUNICIPALITY:
In a suit brought by a local resident, with assistance of the Environmental Bureau of Investigation and representation by the Sierra Legal Defense Fund, the City of Kingston was convicted on December 11, in an Ontario Provincial Court of violating the Canadian Fisheries Act. The suit was raised alleging that the city of Kingston, located at the head of the St. Lawrence River, was knowingly allowing highly toxic leachate to pour out of a former city waste dump into the Cataraqui River. “City officials knew for years about this site and refused to take any action to prevent it,” stated plaintiff Janet Fletcher, a local resident and panel member on the newly-formed EBI, a group developed to gather evidence for citizen suits.
During the case, SLDF lawyers presented evidence that showed how the toxic discharge from the north shore of the site, which is currently run as a public park and golf course, was so concentrated that all test fish exposed to it were killed almost immediately. “With all the Ontario government cutbacks, it is a tragedy that Ontario’s citizens have to do the governments investigation work for them,” stated SLDF Staff lawyer Jerry DeMarco. Sentencing will occur at a later court date and could carry a fine of up to $1.2 million in addition to the clean-up costs.