EDMONTON -- Three people have been charged with squatting on public land near Whitecourt, according to the Alberta Ministry of Environment.

Claude Parent, Brian Mareck and Jennifer McCallum-Maultauro were charged for occupying the vacant land without permission between Oct. 30 and Nov. 19, 2019.

The environment ministry said the occupation took place on a legal subdivision.

Parent and Mareck are also facing five additional charges under the Public Lands Act related to damaging and accumulating waste on the lands.

They include:

  • Occupying public land without holding a disposition or an authorization.
  • Accumulating waste material, debris, refuse or garbage on public land.
  • Using public land in a way that is likely to result in loss or damage to public land.
  • Causing alterations, such as any structure or excavation on public land, that are undesirable or otherwise in contravention of the Public Lands Act or the regulations.
  • Causing the existence on public land of any condition that may cause loss or damage to the public land.

The ministry said charges have been initiated on the Public Lands Act before, but they're not that common.

All three people will appear in court on Jan. 14.