A Gull Lake resident accused of spraying herbicide on shoreline reeds denied the accusation in Red Deer provincial court on Friday.
Dale Andrew Mather, 61, is charged under Section 142 province’s Water Act of illegally removing vegetation from the shoreline in front of his home.
The charges stem from a series of incidents in August and September of 2009, during which it is alleged that Mather had a herbicide sprayed on reeds growing on the shoreline and then hired a backhoe to scrape the dead reeds and organic matter from the area.
“I don’t know if they were sprayed or not. I certainly hadn’t done it,” said Mather about the spraying of the reeds.
He said if weeds were sprayed it was done by someone else in the village trying to cause problems for him and his family.
He told the court he hired contractor Wayne Adrian to do some working, including pulling up weeds on the beach in front of his home. Weeds removed were a foot away from the water.
Mather said other property owners along the beach pull weeds and rake the sand.
He said Adrian got approval to remove the weeds from the village foreman. Mather said he also spoke with the foreman to ensure it was allowed.
Crown prosecutor Susan McRory asked Mather if he knew that the area to be cleared was provincial land.
“(Adrian) was satisfied he had the approvals to work down there. I was satisfied he had the proper approvals,” Mather said.
This is the first time charges under the Water Act have gone to trial.
Crown and defence will submit their final arguments in writing to Judge Gordon Deck.
Deck will announce his decision on Sept. 25.
The accused is not to be confused with Dale Peter Mather, former Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Innisfail.