Wednesday morning, Marc David Hyndman (aka Rochefort) did what he claims is his "fiduciary duty," to his family and business and towed his commercial ice hut onto Lake Nipissing at Sunset Point.
After the hut had been towed onto the lake, Hyndman, in an exclusive interview with BayToday, expressed that he is worried about being arrested for the act of defiance, adding that his wife is "freaking out."
He is defying a warning from the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) that Hyndman claims upon conviction, carries up to two years in jail and a $25,000 fine for operating without the proper commercial ice hut licences.
"It's our legal right to do so," said Hyndman, "Our number one reason is safety. Lake Nosbonsing never froze up right. We have 12 inches of good ice out here (on Lake Nipissing).
"My number one legal argument to the MNRF is that I will never be pressured on where to put my huts. I will always go where I feel safest," said Hyndman.
The controversial ice hut rental owner, who has gained national scorn for his racially insensitive advertisement, as well as his stance on Indigenous fishing practices, says that he has been excluded from the "old boy's club," of commercial fishing operators, and has been unable to secure a commercial ice hut licence for Lake Nipissing.
Hyndman says that in his opinion, the licencing of commercial huts was enacted to protect business interests from competition, not for the health of the lake. "I haven't even had a customer out. We're not even targeting walleye where I'm going, we're targeting perch, and there are millions of them," said Hyndman.
According to Hyndman, there is a moratorium on those types of licences, and are being held for a king's ransom by outfitters who have gone out of business, with one former south shore operator's asking price being $120,000 for the business with the licence attached.
"There are multiple operators who have gone out of business in the last five years who are hoarding their licences," said Hyndman.
Hyndman pointed out that since he does not have any customers, that he is not technically operating commercially on Lake Nipissing yet.
In retrospect, Hyndman says that he regrets the entire Kijiji ad affair. "It's impossible to run a business after that. My wife had to change our phone number. We got 1,000 phone calls in one day. Twenty death threats, a dozen arson threats. People threatening my son," said Hyndman, choking back tears.
Asked if he thinks his business can become solvent once more, Hyndman responded, "Absolutely. Everyone knows Icehutrentals. I haven't had a customer yet, but everyone knows Icehutrentals."
Hyndman reiterated that the other operators are concerned about competition. "All the other operators are worried about me and I haven't even made a dollar yet."
Asked if he can follow the ministry's rules and survive, Hyndman responded, "When faced with man's rules or God's rules, I will always choose God's rules."
Asked to clarify, Hyndman offered that he believes that "by being proactive and defending my legal right to be here, I will prevail."