Former Sask. minister Bill Boyd hit with $35K fine for environmental charges

1 / 2

Premier Moe reviewed Bill Boyd's irrigation project, later declared illegal, sometime in 2017

Premier Moe reviewed Bill Boyd's irrigation project, later declared illegal, sometime in 2017

Former Saskatchewan minister of the economy and retired Kindersley MLA Bill Boyd has been fined a total $35,000 after pleading guilty in February to two violations of wildlife habitat protection and environmental management laws.

Boyd was not present Tuesday morning when the sentence was handed down in Kindersley, Sask., because weather conditions prevented his travel to the location.

Boyd was fined $5,000 plus a $2,000 surcharge for cultivating an area of native grassland near Eston, Sask., between April 1 and May 3.

For the second charge, which related to modifying a riverbank, he was sentenced to a $20,000 fine plus an $8,000 surcharge.

The charges were laid in 2017.

Surveying error

According to the judge's written decision, the 2017 charges arose from a proposed irrigation project adjacent to the South Saskatchewan River.

The area is owned by a corporation in which Boyd's son has shares — although Boyd took responsibility "as the directing mind of the irrigation project."

The decision says Boyd accidentally and illegally cultivated about six acres of protected grasslands, for which he ultimately received the lesser fine.

The breach was put down to a surveying error in which Boyd was relying on his tractor's GPS and a handheld surveyor's wheel.

Irrigation project reported by canoeist

Boyd also built irrigation infrastructure into the river without obtaining the proper licensing permits, which led to the second charge.

That breach was discovered by officials after a recreational canoeist saw the infrastructure and lodged a complaint.

The decision stated that the irrigation project would have greatly enhanced the value of the land, but that it would not have been approved had Boyd obeyed the law by applying for the appropriate permits.

"Any fine, accordingly, must be of sufficient magnitude to deter like-minded individuals or corporations from believing they can expedite or circumvent the licensing process and simply pay later as a cost of doing business," said the judge's written decision.

Boyd has 90 days to pay the fine.

Two other charges under the Environmental Management and Protection Act were dropped at a previous court appearance.