A landowner in the Rural Municipality of Hanover has been fined after deforesting municipal land. 

According to the municipality, the incident happened earlier this year off Road 24 North, north of Pansy. Hanover Council was told that when their Bylaw Enforcement Officer investigated initially, the trees being cleared were on the landowner's property. 

However, by mid-January, the municipality was receiving phone calls from individuals stating that trees within the government road allowance had now been removed and a second inspection was done. This time, it was evident that tree clearing had happened on municipal property using a bulldozer. A Stop Work Order was issued on site prohibiting any further work being conducted within the road allowance.

Hanover Council has now fined the landowner $4,000. 

"I think it is very important that when we do these and we know that there is an easement or a road allowance, in this case, that they notify Council or maybe the Bylaw Enforcement Officer and get these things checked out and the fining would not have to happen," says Reeve Jim Funk.

Funk says Council wants to make sure that residents and landowners know that these sorts of infractions will not be tolerated. Funk says this is not the first time that a landowner in Hanover has been caught for unauthorized deforestation. Back in 2013, a landowner was fined $10,000 for 1,600 metres of deforestation. That same year, a different landowner was fined $3,000 for a smaller area of unauthorized deforestation. 

The $4,000 fine for this year's infraction near Pansy, came at the recommendation of Administration, and was based on a fine handed down in 2013. Administration used the $3,000 fine and then adjusted it to include 11 years of Cost-of-Living increases to get to $4,000. 

Funk says his guess is that the bush line that was cleared was approximately 400 metres long, by 25 metres wide.