Husband of P.E.I. cabinet minister charged with violating buffer zone law
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2012 12:07PM ADT
CHARLOTTETOWN -- The husband of a Prince Edward Island cabinet minister is facing charges he violated laws that prohibit planting crops within 200 metres of waterways or wetlands.
Documents filed in provincial court last week say Alex Docherty, the owner of Skye View Farms in Elmwood, was charged under the buffer zone rules in the Environmental Protection Act.
The seed potato farmer says he is considering contesting the alleged summary offence, and the matter is with his lawyer.
Docherty is married to Community Services and Seniors Minister Valerie Docherty.
The issue of buffer zone violation around waterways has been a sensitive one in P.E.I.
Hundreds of fish were killed in the Trout River for the second year in a row earlier this summer.
After the fish kill in the same river last year, Mount Royal farmer Warren Ellis was charged under the same section of the Environmental Protection Act as Docherty.
Ellis' charges were later dismissed.
But the provincial government has said it wants to take action on the continuous problem with fish kills in P.E.I. waterways.
During a news conference announcing a new action committee to work on the issue last week, Agriculture Minister George Webster said buffer zone legislation is the bare minimum in protecting Island waterways from runoff events.
Documents filed in provincial court this week say Docherty's violation is alleged to have occurred at 9:35 a.m. on July 16 and pictures and potato plant samples were seized as evidence.
Docherty's company was issued a $10,000 summary offence ticket.
The farmer has until August 29 to decide whether to pay the fine or contest the charge in court.