Bill Graveland, Canadian Press
Posted Friday, November 30, 2018 4:32 AM EST
CALGARY – Judge today condemns the world famous Alberta ski resort to reduce threatened trees five years ago.
The Lake Louise resort at Banff National Park has pleaded guilty last December to stop trees, including some white pine forests, with a ski run in 2013.
The resort will be sentenced to two charges in the Calgary courtroom – one under the Law on Types of Risk and the other under the Canada National Park Act.
A total of 132 trees have been removed, but the actual number of endangered white pines is disputed. Crown was originally said to have removed 39, but the defense said the number was considerably lower.
The maximum fine in accordance with the Law on Types of Risks for each destroyed tree is $ 300,000 and the maximum per tree is $ 250,000 according to the National Park Act.
"We will be released when we finally finish," said Dan Markham, communications director for Lake Louise ski resort.
"Lake Louise wants to move forward and launch a rehabilitation plan that we have worked with in Parks Canada."
Long-lasting, five-needle blueberries are natural at high altitudes and are endangered by invasive disease, fire and climate change. It is considered crucial because it provides food and animal habitat and helps stabilize steep subalpine trails.
The tree exists at high altitude in Western North America at or near the treeline. It has grown to 100,000 years on the continent and can grow between 500 and 1,000 years.
The contractual statement states that a crew of six employees, including a supervisor, began to hold in the summer of 2013 at Ptarmigan Ridge on the ski slope. The work involved cleaning, repairing and lifting the fence, and cutting and removing some trees.
The paper says that by the end of September of that same year the workers reduced the number of trees, including the endangered whites, without permission.
The fact statement says it was not until August 12, 2014 that Parks Canada and tourism staff assessing the location for a new hiking trail discovered that the threatened tree was cut off.
The DNA analysis confirmed that the trees were white. The case was handed over to Parks Canada for investigation and prosecution.
The court document says that Lake Louise was an associate during the investigation and took steps to prevent similar occurrences. He said the resort also spent money on white pines initiatives, including a large mapping of that tree in the area.