Whitehorse Daily Star

Reality TV star faces Waters Act charges

A star from the reality TV series Gold Rush (formerly Gold Rush Alaska) was in territorial court this morning facing charges under Yukon’s Waters Act.

By Emily Blake on April 18, 2017

A star from the reality TV series Gold Rush (formerly Gold Rush Alaska) was in territorial court this morning facing charges under Yukon’s Waters Act.

Anton (Tony) Beets is facing two charges for depositing waste in a water management area and failing to report it to an inspector.

Tamarack Inc. is facing the same charges, as well as two charges for failing to comply with a type B licence. Beets is one of three directors of the mining company.

According to the Waters Act, the latter two offences could result in a fine of up to $15,000, imprisonment for a term of up to six months, or both.

The charges come from an incident shown on the episode “Hundreds of Ounces” from season five of the reality series, which originally aired in February 2015.

In it, gasoline is poured into a pond with a dredge by the Indian River in Dawson City, and lit on fire.

In a 30-second clip from the episode played in court, the narrator explains, “While he waits for the pond to drain, Tony gives the dredge a Viking baptism to change its luck.”

Mark Favron, a welder employed by the company, is shown pouring gasoline from a jerry can into the pond; then another man throws in a lit torch. The flames quickly lick across the surface of the pond and shoot into the air.

Beets then appears on screen with arms outstretched, backed by the high flames.

“I told you guys, ‘come hell or high water,’ didn’t I?” he remarks to the camera crew.

“How do you like that!”

Crown prosecutor Megan Seiling presented three witnesses in the case this morning.

Robert Savard, the Yukon’s chief mining inspector, testified that his office received a complaint in March 2015 from Environment Canada enforcement officers in Yellowknife regarding the incident caught on film.

He said the territorial Department of Energy, Mines and Resources subsequently began an investigation which led to charges.

Tyson Bourgard, a mine inspector from Dawson who was assigned the mine, also testified.

He explained how water flowed from reservoir ponds, to settling ponds and eventually to the Indian River on the mining site.

As well, he explained that the water licence prohibited gasoline from being deposited in the water and that licencees are required to report spills and follow spill contingency plans.

But the Yukon spill line was never contacted about the incident.

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Andre Roothman questioned whether burning the fuel would minimize damage to the environment.

Bourgard responded, “I’m not able to answer that. I simply don’t have that information.

Roothman also noted that despite the incident taking place in the fall of 2014, a water sample was not taken from the site until June 2015 – and was never tested for hydrocarbons.

When asked why, Bourgard responded, “It’s not something that we typically do.”

But on re-direct, he noted that water samples cannot be taken from frozen water and are not a requirement for charging someone with a breach of his or her licence.

Finally, Favron, a Dawson resident whose family has been involved in the mining industry for 25 years, testified about his involvement in the incident.

“We were basically off the clock and a lot of stuff was going on,” he explained.

“At one point, I saw a gas can that had some gas in it and I decided that for fun I would pour some gas on the pond and it would be lit on fire.”

He also testified that he asked Beets if it would be OK for him to do so.

“He told me he didn’t give a f---,” Favron stated.

He said he poured half of the approximately two gallons of gas in the container and a man identified as Brian threw in a lit torch.

He added that he was not aware he was being filmed at the time, and once he saw the cameras, tried to get out of frame.

“At the time, I did not believe it was being filmed,” he said.

“I had no intention of being caught on film.”

Favron was also charged in the incident for which he pleaded guilty and paid a fine of approximately $1,700.

“I felt there was enough evidence stacked against me and it was obvious that I did it,” he said of his guilty plea.

Seiling was to present an expert witness on hydrocarbons this afternoon.

Roothman said in court that he expects the case, which was scheduled for three days, will conclude tomorrow afternoon. He added he doubts the defence will call any evidence or witnesses.

The reality series began airing on the Discovery Channel in 2010 and is now in its seventh season.

Beets, who moved to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1980s, first appeared on the series in season two.

Comments (15)

Up 17 Down 5

spud on Apr 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

I am not a fan of this show or the accused. The lack of common sense and discretion displayed by Government investigators should also be called into question. Tell those other Govt employees in NWT to look after their own people. Dumb investigations like this is the reasons our Policing Costs have exploded. This is an inept investigation and I bet an acquittal is the only answer.

Up 21 Down 3

Frankly... on Apr 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm

... I don't know what the to-do is all about.

Some folks were found in contravention of their water license. They have been charged. It is their right to challenge those charges in the courts and be heard. That is how our judicial system works. Whether the courts find(s) in favour of the defendent(s) or the government is for them to decide. So if Mr Beets is found guilty his case will be disposed of as the court deems fair under the legislation and they we all move on. If he is acquitted then that also brings an end to the proceedings. The end...

Up 17 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:57 am

I suspect the producers of the TV show were involved to some degree as well, yet they seem to avoid any charges. Doesn't seem fair.

Up 14 Down 34

Big style on Apr 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Ban this stupid fake show from the Yukon. Everything is for ratings. The only reputable show up here is Yukon Gold.

Up 25 Down 13

ralpH on Apr 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

@ get a grip I do contribute to the economy and I do live in the real world. I also never was the greenie type. But when You believe you are above the law because you are making a living and make it an excuse for making a fool of yourself plus costing the public money then I call it like it is.

Up 25 Down 3

jean on Apr 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Meanwhile a property owner in Whitehorse with toxic materials on his property leaching into the soil and running of into nearby streams is fined. However the fines are ignored and no charges laid.

Up 33 Down 21

At home in the Yukon on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. I'm pretty sure that 1000 liters of fuel were burned investigating this. The hydrocarbons they released into the air far outweigh the pollution of this little event. Further, I bet one of those vehicles leaks a little oil. I bet it landed in a puddle that ultimately drained into the river. Now the investigator needs to be locked up too.

We need some balance, people.

Up 35 Down 24

Get a grip ralpH... on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

...ah spoken like a true suck off the rest of the world socialist. If you had a real job then perhaps you would be less quick to criticize others. Oh by the way "this wanna be miner" has earned every ounce of his fortune. He has also contributed more to the the Yukon then I expect most. Perhaps you should look at the reclamation work his family has done. But then it is likely you wouldn't understand that...

Up 29 Down 18

ProScience Greenie on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

With all the cameras everywhere on those shows this is a case of being guilty of stupidity, harming the environment not so much. Be glad when the stupid reality TV thing is over and done with in the Yukon.

Up 34 Down 14

Wundering on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

These guys give miners everywhere a bad name, not just the Yukon.

Up 32 Down 17

Yukon Guy on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Irony is its OK for people to let hydrocarbons ooze out of their crappy vehicles on their property in Whitehorse or on the roadsides and boulevards with impunity. Drive around Whitehorse on any given day and you can see puddles of gas and oil under vehicles parked on boulevards and the City of Whitehorse will hand out warnings for a year. But a guy lights up 2 gallons of gas and gets a $1,700 fine. Something wrong with this picture...

Up 28 Down 16

yukon56 on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Garbage TV

Up 24 Down 31

Stanley Miller on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

I like Tony. He acts tough but has a sensitive and vulnerable side.

Lets minimize any fines and cut him some slack.

Up 28 Down 12

Just Sayin' on Apr 18, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I wonder how many other Yukoner's would be fined under the waters act. So many people commit acts against the environment every day, but since it is not documented via TV, it must not count. Check yourself before one starts pointing the finger.

Up 72 Down 25

ralpH on Apr 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Beets feels he is above the law on everything he does. In another episode he is running vehicles off the road to get his barge to the river. Then to top it off he hits the bridge. Where is the RCMP and the DOT when this stuff is going on? Time to keep an eye on this wannabe miner.

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