Tom Gaglardi, Northland fined $140,000 for altering fish habitat on Kamloops Lake

The fine is less than half of what the Crown had been seeking for environmental offences

Tom Gaglardi arriving at the Kamloops Law Courts in January 2014.

Tom Gaglardi arriving at the Kamloops Law Courts in January 2014.

By Tim Petruk

Kamloops This Week

The owner of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and the company he runs have been fined $140,000.

The fine is less than half of what the Crown had been seeking for environmental offences resulting from work ordered by Tom Gaglardi on his family’s Kamloops Lake vacation home in 2010.

The 47-year-old, who also heads up Northland Properties — which owns the Sandman Hotel, Denny’s, Moxies, Shark Club and Rockford Grill chains — had earlier been found guilty in Kamloops provincial court of two counts of harmful alteration of a fish habitat.

Northland was also convicted on the same charges, while Robert Gaglardi, Tom’s father, was found not guilty.

During the trial earlier this year, court heard the Gaglardi family home — known as “Tom’s Shack,” according to several Crown witnesses — was undergoing extensive renovations in 2010.

The charges stem from riprap destroyed by workers taking orders from Gaglardi in the construction of a boat ramp and shoreline trees Gaglardi ordered removed from the property.

“There was an element of wilfulness here — a desire to get the job done and seek forgiveness later,” Kamloops provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison said in handing down his sentence.

Harrison also quoted an expert in salmon habitats who testified at trial that the work changed the shoreline on Gaglardi’s property “from a very good fish habitat to a moonscape.”

During the trial, former Northland employee and star Crown witness Jim Parks said he was ordered to destroy documents and throw his computer hard drive “in the lake” when federal investigators began looking into alleged environmental improprieties at Tom’s Shack.

Gaglardi wrote in his notebook throughout the trial, alternating between notes on the proceedings, Northland business and what appeared to be line combinations for the Dallas Stars. He also had to be told repeatedly by sheriffs to turn off his iPhone, which, at one point, he concealed in a book.

Court heard it will take more than 40 years to restore the salmon habitat that was destroyed by Gaglardi.

In court, Gaglardi said he was sorry.

“I wanted to express my apologies for what transpired,” he said.

Gaglardi refused comment after sentencing. Rob Toor, lawyer for Northland Properties, said it’s too early to say whether an appeal is in the works.

“We’re just going to review the decision and look at our options,” he said.

Harrison’s sentence was broken down so that Gaglardi was fined a total of $10,000. Northland was also fined $10,000. In addition, both Gaglardi and Northland were ordered to pay $60,000 each to the B.C. Conservation Foundation.

The Crown had been seeking a fine of $300,000 — the maximum penalty — while defence lawyer Rob Bruneau asked for a fine in the range of $50,000 to $75,000, arguing anything higher would effectively be punishing Gaglardi for being wealthy.