Burl’s Creek fined $200K for violations at event grounds
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2015 2:02PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 14, 2015 7:22PM EDT
Burl’s Creek has been fined thousands of dollars after pleading guilty to violations that happened at the Oro-Medonte event grounds.
The Automotive Flea Market draws thousands of car enthusiast to Burl’s Creek every year, but the events ground will now have to pay out $200,000 in fines for violations related to the event.
Township deputy mayor Ralph Hough says it wasn't an easy decision to issue the fines, but it was necessary.
"They knew what they were doing. They had legal notices that we expected them to comply."
The event grounds pleaded guilty to seven violations in court on Wednesday. Two are for holding part of the flea market on land that was only zoned for agriculture and the other five offences are related to construction that happened between March and June to expand and prepare the event grounds.
"The township told them back in January the event was not to proceed on that land and they staged in on the land and lost," says David Reiter, lawyer for Oro-Medonte.
"By doing that it created a lot of vibration, noise, dust, fumes; all which created a nuisance for the residents and that was an obnoxious use of the bylaw and an offence under the planning act," Reiter says.
Only 92 acres are currently zoned for festivals. Lawyer Nicholas Macos represents Burl's Creek and says they acknowledge the violations and want to move forward.
“Burl's Creek has always tried to work cooperatively with the township. We're happy we came to an arrangement today and we want to put the past behind us and work towards getting all the necessary approvals to host the events again."
The township was also investigating two major music and camping festivals that were held at Burl's Creek this summer.
The WayHome Music and Arts Festival and the Boots and Hearts festivals drew tens of thousands of people, but after Wednesday’s guilty plea, the township has decided not to issue any fines for those festivals.
"No other fines because these are probably the most substantial fines that you will probably find anywhere for anything like this," says John Mascarin, a lawyer for the township.
Even with this settlement, this issue is far from over. Burl's Creek has gone to the Ontario Municipal Board to challenge the township's temporary use bylaw. This means council will have no say on any events held on the grounds in the short term.
The company that ran the Automotive Flea Market is also facing a zoning violation. That will be settled in court later this month.
In the meantime, Burl's Creek is already planning events for next year and has recently applied to the township to permanently re-zone the event grounds.