Developer fined $38,000 in settled case

Quartz Land Developments Ltd., charged under the provincial Water Act with conducting an activity without approval and authorization in the Pheasantback area north of Stettler, was fined $38,000 by the Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court at the end of last month.

According to the reports, the company was fined after pleading guilty to only one charge from among several to receive the fine. Company official Marc MacNaughton is said to have pleaded guilty to the same charge to receive a separate fine of $3,000.

The other charges in the indictment are reported to have been dropped.

Marc MacNaughton said in a brief statement that the outcome was the result of a settlement among the parties involved in the case, he did not give details.

The case came to a conclusion after what appears to be an unexplained process resulting in an accelerated procedure and change of venue.

The case was first brought to the Stettler Provincial Court, where the judge, at the Oct. 9 sitting last year, had set a trial date for August 2010, scheduling five consecutive sessions for Aug. 9, 11, 17, 18 and 25.

How and why the case, which could have resulted with fines reaching up to $1 million against the company, was transferred to Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court was not announced.

Many details of the charges brought against the company have remained a mystery from the very outset as the provincial government, announcing the charge of unapproved and unauthorized activity, refused to give any information about the nature of the activities in question although some media outlets reported that the company had drained some wetlands in the area.