UBC appeals $1.2 million fine for Federal Fisheries Act violations

UBC is still stuck in a fishy situation with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

After the university was fined $1.2 million dollars for violating four Federal Fisheries Act violations, UBC announced it will be appealing the case.

On September 12, 2014, UBC and their contracting company CIMCO Refrigeration released a liquid that contained ammonia into a storm sewer that flowed into a Fraser River tributary and killed 70 fish.

The discharge occurred while CIMCO was repairing a chiller used to maintain the ice rink at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. The ammonia substance made its way through the storm sewers and into Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Park, a fish bearing stream.

On June 22, 2019 UBC was found guilty of committing offences related to polluting waters frequented by fish. The university was also convicted of failing to report the incident in a timely manner.

Since the sentencing, UBC has been added to the Federal Environmental Offenders Registry and now has to have their storm-water quality monitored for the next five years.

According to the Government of Canada, the money collected from the fine will go towards the Environmental Damages Fund, which aims “to support community-based, non-profit organizations, and other eligible organizations for projects that have measurable and positive impact on the environment.”

“UBC Counsel is currently reviewing the decision of the Provincial Court to determine possible next steps in this case. We will not be commenting further,” said UBC Senior Director of Media Relations Kurt Heinrich in a statement.

In an email to The Ubyssey, a representative from CIMCO refrigeration wrote, “CIMCO does not have any thoughts nor do we have a statement regarding the UBC appeal.”