April 20, 2017 9:20 pm

West Kelowna man sends provincial government hefty bill


Mel Gauthier used to work for the provincial government. The catch is, the government never hired him.

A couple of years ago, the West Kelowna retiree took it upon himself to clear barbed wire from crown land in the Smith Creek area.

“It took me two-and-a-half months,” Gauthier said.

Some of it was several decades old.

Gauthier documented everything because he knew it was going to be a big project.

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Gauthier took out truckloads of it. He said he did it for the animals — especially the deer — some of which became tangled and died.

“One hit the wire so hard it went through its shoulder and got hung up and died. Another one got its foot caught in the wire and of course the animals got it and killed it,” Gauthier said.

For his efforts, Gauthier figures the government owes him.

“Christy Clark owes me — and Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests owes me $35,000 for doing the work,” Gauthier said.

Gauthier sent the provincial government an invoice, including taxes. The government said it has no intention of paying it. He also took the provincial government to small claims court to get his money. The case was thrown out.

But Gauthier says it’s a matter of principal and although he realizes the government won’t be sending any cash his way any time soon, he hopes it will at least get the point.

“This is unacceptable to put barbed wire from tree to tree in the forest of B.C.,” Gauthier said.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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