THUNDER BAY, ON - February 24, 2010 - Eight men have been fined a total of $3,100 for offenses related to an illegal camp on Crown land. Otto Klassen, John Loewen, Peter Schaan, Garry Loewen, John Rempel, Ozzie Rempel and Reinhardt Penner of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Peter Hamm of Calgary, Alberta all pleaded guilty and were charged under the Trespass to Property Act for illegally setting up a camp on Crown land north of Werner Lake in Kenora District. Each man was fined $150. In addition, Klassen, Penner and John Loewen were fined $500 each under the Public Lands Act for disobeying a posted sign. Hamm and John Rempel were fined $200 each under the Ontario Fishery Regulations for fishing without a licence. The group must remove the camp and all of their belongings by the end of June, 2010.
Court heard that on September 5, 2009, conservation officers contacted the group while investigating a tip about an illegal camp in the area. Upon investigation, officers determined that a large metal structure and shed on Crown land had been in place for ten years. They found camping supplies on site. Officers confirmed that three members of the group had travelled the closed Werner Lake Road to access the site and two members of the group, using the site as their base, were fishing without licences.
Justice of the Peace Robert McNally heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Kenora, February 9, 2010.
The ministry reminds the public that Canadian residents may camp free of charge on Crown land for up to 21 days at one site, except where posted otherwise. After this time, camping units must be moved a minimum distance of 100 metres from the original site.
To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry officer during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).