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Man’s ‘art project’ results in $2,000 fine

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

A Toronto man must pay $2,000 for altering an area of Georgian Bay shoreline as part of “large waterfront art project.”

John Paul Adamovsky, of Etobicoke, was found guilty in Barrie court under the Public Lands Act for deliberately creating breakwater-like structures and a small island near his parents’ cottage in Tiny Township, just off Concession Road 18 West.

During sentencing June 1, Justice of the Peace Carol Seglins fined Adamovsky $1,000 for unlawfully filling shore lands and an additional $1,000 for failing to comply with a stop-work order.

He was also ordered not to be within 100 metres of the unlawfully constructed island for a period of 10 years and to arrange for the removal of a crane that was left at the construction site.

During a three-day trial, court heard conservation officers attended a site near Adamovsky’s parents’ cottage Oct. 9, 2015, and determined Adamovsky was unlawfully constructing an island in front of a neighbour’s Georgian Bay cottage, using boulders from an adjacent beach.

Adamovsky argued the work did not require permits because it was part of his personal, large waterfront art project. He was given a stop-work order Oct. 27, 2015, but did not comply with the order.

“We received a few complaints about the work,” said Rick Maw, a staff sergeant with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Midhurst enforcement unit, noting besides constructing the island, Adamovsky created nearby groynes (walls built into the water).

“There were different parts to it,” Maw said, pointing out permits are required for any work on shore land since it is considered Crown land.

“(The groynes) were in front of his parents’ property. The island he built was in front of his parents’ neighbour’s property.”

But while Adamovsky must remove the crane created to haul and move boulders for the project, Seglins’s order doesn’t involve any sort of restoration work at the site, meaning the rock structures created by Adamovsky could remain.

“He was taking the material off all of the local beaches,” Maw said, adding the rocks serve a purpose since they help stabilize the area and help prevent erosion. “Whether it’s going to stay like that, I’m not sure.”

Adamovsky could not be reached for comment, but on a website, he described the project and outlined his efforts.

On the site, he pointed out he “dreamed up a paradise beach area for the community, where a squalid and neglected shoreline used to be, then I rolled up my sleeves to build it with my bare hands.”

Adamovsky recounted how the initiative took “seven full-time years of focused creative effort” and included “tens of thousands of hours” custom-building the crane used to haul and move the boulders.

“Was this transformation a criminal undertaking, or is it a work of art which ought to be completed?” he asked. “You do the math.”

Maw, meanwhile, said his department is kept busy throughout the summer responding to shoreline issues, especially since a permit is required whenever someone wants to fill or dredge a water-prone area.

“We do get a fair number of complaints about people doing work in the water or near the water,” he said.

To report a natural resources violation, call the ministry’s tip line at 877-847-7667.

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