A successful Manitoba developer has been ordered to back off by provincial and federal officials after digging a 1.68-kilometre channel without approvals, a significant part of which is on land he doesn’t own, CBC News reported.

Gilles Gauthier is the developer and one of several investors in the Granite Hills Golf Club & Estates and campground in the Rural Municipality (RM) of Lac du Bonnet, which boasts a scenic golf course, restaurant, cottages and a recreation park.

​A significant part of the unauthorized dredging happened on Crown land with treaty entitlements belonging to the Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation.

Provincial officials believe the channel was dredged as a waterway for campers and cottagers with small boats.

According to officials, the work was illegal and Gauthier could face up to $300,000 in fines or could be ordered to restore the area “to its preconstruction condition.”

When the province asked Gauthier why he did not apply for licences, “He indicated that he wasn’t aware that he needed the permits,” Reimer said.

Gauthier showed up at an RM of Lac du Bonnet council meeting last year, seeking approval for the second phase of his campground development. When councillors requested that he take additional steps, Gauthier expressed frustration.

“I don’t know what’s happening around here, but it better pick up because I’m closing the golf course, I’m closing the campground, and there’ll be nothing left in there,” Gauthier said. “I’ll burn it down if I have to,” he said.

Last month, the RM of Lac du Bonnet council approved the second phase of the campground Gauthier had requested, subject to his getting all the necessary approvals from government agencies.

The council also imposed conditions, including one that Gauthier pay fees and penalties. Meeting minutes noted that the campground had “been occupied since 2013 without authorization from council,” and there were 26 trailers on site at the Granite Hills Recreational Seasonal RV Park.

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