A Whitehorse business owner who left unsecured cooking grease out on a MacRae automobile junkyard in 2018, attracting multiple bears to the area, has been fined $65,000.
Joszef Suska and 535802 Yukon Inc., which does business as Budget Towing & Auto Services, pleaded guilty to five charges related to the incident in territorial court on Feb. 25.
According to an Environment Yukon press release, the charges included two counts of releasing special waste and one charge of failing to mitigate a spill, violations of the Environment Act, and two charges of causing dangerous wildlife to become a nuisance, a violation of the Wildlife Act. A sixth charge against Suska was stayed.
The court ordered Suska and his company to pay a $35,000 fine for the Environment Act charges and $30,000 for the Wildlife Act charges by Sept. 1, 2021. They must also remove “all scrap vehicles, tires, tanks, containers, drums, pails, and other physical debris from the property as well as any debris belonging to them in the area adjacent to the property,” the press release says, and remediate all contamination by Oct. 31 of this year.
Should Suska and his company fail to comply, they will have to pay $450,000 to the Yukon government to complete the clean-up.
The 2018 incident saw both black and grizzly bears attracted to the junkyard to fed on the grease. Conservation officers had to kill three black bears in July 2018 that had become habituated to the food source and relocate two grizzlies.
Another man and his business were also charged in relation to the incident. Michele Palma and Dawson Group of Companies Ltd., of Dawson City, are facing two charges each of failing to comply with dangerous wildlife protection orders issued July 17, 2018 and Aug. 22, 2018.
They’ve pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear in court next later this month.
Contact Jackie Hong at email@example.com