CHATHAM-KENT — The founder of Canada’s biggest brussels sprouts farm has been fined $200,000 for building a dike on wetland along the shore of Lake St. Clair.
Jean Marie Laprise, a 2012 inductee into the Chatham-Kent agricultural hall of fame, pleaded guilty Dec. 7 in Chatham court to damaging the habitat of an endangered turtle species and two other threatened species. His fine will go to Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Laprise owned the involved 300-acre wetland property. The court heard that he built a dike system around January 2015 that eliminated approximately 3 acres of marshland. The work “impacted” the endangered Spotted Turtle, as well as the threatened Blanding’s turtle and Least Bittern, a threatened bird species, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The provincial charges were laid in June 2018 after a multi-year investigation. Laprise hosted the International Plowing Match at his Pain Court farm that same year.