District obtains legal right of way to reservoir

No documentation was found related to Agassiz' right-of-way to the water reservoir

District of Kent staff are drinking in the relief of finally owning the right of way to the water reservoir. Residents can raise a glass to toast Clair Lee, director of corporate services, who worked hard to ensure the statutory right of way was signed over to the district.

According to a staff report submitted to Council, a licence of occupation was granted by Canada to the District in 2005 in order to construct the new water reservoir as well as pipeline and road access modifications. The water reservoir, located partway up Green Mountain behind the research station, was finished by mid-2007 after a request for extension to complete it was sent to the government. In that request, the District also asked for more permanent access to the reservoir by way of either an easement or statutory right of way.

Staff discovered in June, 2011 that the District did not have legal access to its water reservoir site. No documentation could be found from the government that provided the District with the legal right-of-way in spite of the request made back in 2007.

“Both organizations (Canada and the District) have experienced staff turnover during this period, which unfortunately resulted in a loss of corporate knowledge,” Lee’s report to Council states.

She adds there were never issues of physical access since the reservoir was completed. However, on paper, there were no legal rights. The concern was that the lands, owned by the government of Canada, could be sold and the District might be unable to access the reservoir.

Since the omission was realized in June, 2011, District staff have been in negotiations with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as well as the ministry of Justice to obtain legal access to the District’s water reservoir.

Last March, District staff sought the service of its solicitors to provide advice on the multiple statutory right of ways already registered on the lands and hired Eaton Land Surveying to provide a statutory right of way plan. Finally, on December 3, the District was formally granted the statutory right of way with a document registered at the Land Title Office.

In the District of Kent Council meeting January 12, Mayor John Van Laerhoven thanked Lee for all her hard work in making this happen.

“Thank you for taking care of that requirement for making sure we have access to that property,” Van Laerhoven said.

Chief Administrative Office Wallace Mah included in the report a statement that emphasized the purpose of this information was not to cast blame on previous administration, but to point out that projects not completed properly can have serious implications and consequences to the District.

“Ms. Lee was assigned this project and has immersed herself on this assignment for more than three years,” states Mah.