A Cornwall farmer was handed a lower-end fine on Tuesday in Charlottetown provincial court for an incident in October involving pesticides from his farm equipment ending up in Hyde Creek.
Judge Nancy Orr explained that Edwin Scott was negligent and acted carelessly but did not deliberately discharge the pesticide into the creek. As a result, she sentenced Scott to a $5,000 fine for contravening the Pesticides Control Act.
The Crown prosecution was seeking a fine in the range of $30,000 to $50,000, while Scott’s lawyer was seeking a fine between $3,000 and $5,000.
Scott entered a guilty plea on April 16 on the charge.
Orr said that Scott didn’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions with respect to cleaning the equipment.
On Oct. 10, children playing along the creek discovered 120 dead fish – 115 brook trout and five Stickleback. Two weeks prior on Sept. 22, Scott performed the last pesticide spray of the season on his farm and was cleaning his equipment at a farm access roadway to be put away for the winter. Conservation officers investigating the fish kills discovered a yellow substance on the farm access road near Scott’s property and the creek. Scott co-operated with the officers and admitted he had been cleaning his equipment at that spot.
Court also heard that the area received heavy rain, about 24 millimetres on Oct. 9 and 10 likely resulting in runoff into the creek.
Samples from the creek confirmed the presence of the chemical Diquat while a necropsy performed on nine of the fish could not determine the primary cause of death.