Local Government Officials and the Duty of Care: The BC Court of Appeal Reverses the BC Supreme Court Decision in Wu v. Vancouver (City)

Introduction

By its  January 21, 2019 decision in Wu. V. Vancouver (City), 2019 BCCA 23, the BC Court of Appeal has overturned the 2017 decision of the BC Supreme Court in the case of Wu v. Vancouver (City), 2017 BCSC 2072 and has made important findings as it relates to the limits of legal duties owed by public bodies such as local governments, and the liability to which they may be exposed. (more…)

Local Government Leadership Academy

Stewart McDannold Stuart will be participating in the upcoming 2019 Local Government Leadership Academy’s Elected Officials Seminars. On January 16 and 17,  Peter Johnson will be presenting a session on “Current Legal Issues” at the seminar for LGLA members, in Richmond. On February 13 and 14, Kathryn Stuart and Ryan Bortolin will be presenting sessions on “Current Legal Issues” (Kathryn) and “Local Government Law 101” (Ryan) at the seminar for AVICC members, in Parksville.

 

The Latest Chapter in the Development of “Occupation” Law

In two recent decisions, Saanich (District) v Brett, 2018 BCSC 1648 (“Saanich”) and Nanaimo (City) v Courtoreille, 2018 BCSC 1629 (“Nanaimo”), the BC Supreme Court considered local government applications to the Court for pre-trial injunctions to terminate unauthorized homeless encampments.  Generally, these cases represent examples of the Court undertaking a balancing of the homeless population’s need for shelter and against the nature of these encampments within the context of the duties and authority of public authorities to reasonably manage lands falling within their jurisdiction.  (more…)

Season’s Greetings from Stewart McDannold Stuart

From all of the lawyers and support staff at Stewart McDannold Stuart, we wish you all the best for the holiday season and a happy and prosperous New Year.

In lieu of sending greeting cards this year, we have made a donation to the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC).

Property Maintenance Bylaw Upheld as Valid

The Village of Chase recently defeated a challenge to the validity of its Property Maintenance Bylaw by local business owners in Chase Discount Auto Sales Ltd. v Waugh, 2018 BCSC 2014. Mr. Justice Grauer of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the judicial review petition of the business owners and helpfully summarized the relationship between the bylaw powers and remedial action requirement authority of local governments provided by the Community Charter, SBC 2003, c. 26.  (more…)

Ryan Bortolin Joins Partnership of Stewart McDannold Stuart

Stewart McDannold Stuart is happy to announce that Ryan Bortolin will become a partner at the firm starting January 1st 2019. Ryan began at SMS as an articled student in 2010 and has shown himself to be a talented lawyer with outstanding legal skills and is a highly valued member of the SMS team. Ryan will continue to focus on solicitors’ work and we are more than pleased to be welcoming him to the partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty-One Great Years! What’s Next Now?

As some already know, I will be retiring from the partnership with Stewart McDannold Stuart after 31 years in the practice of law and 30 years since the founding of the firm of Wilson Staples McDannold & Marley, that evolved over time into Stewart McDannold Stuart.

It has been a terrific 3 decades.  I was so fortunate at the outset to have had the mentorship of some outstanding “municipal law instructors” such as Galt Wilson, Q.C. (who passed away in 2012)  and Lorena Staples Q.C. both of whom I met when they taught the municipal law course at UVic, and who then provided so much guidance and knowledge when I was an articled student and young lawyer.

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Right or Reasonable: Judicial Review of the Decisions of Bylaw Adjudicators

In Romegioli v. Langley (Township) 2018 BCSC 1867, the B.C. Supreme Court recently had opportunity to judicially review the decision of a bylaw adjudicator upholding over 500 bylaw infraction notices (with associated fees and costs of approximately $270,000) that had been issued to the petitioner, Mr. Romegioli, relating to the operation of a cannabis dispensary. The dispensary caught the attention of Langley for breaches of multiple bylaws relating to operations, renovations and signage.

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BC Courts Deferential to Local Government Decisions Granting or Denying DVPs

In 1139652 B.C. Ltd. v Whistler (Resort Municipality), 2018 BCSC 1806, the B.C. Supreme Court recently reviewed a decision of the resort municipality of Whistler denying a property owner’s application for a Development Variance Permit (DVP). The Court upheld the decision, finding that it was reasonable.

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The Building Inspector’s Toolkit: The Geotechnical Covenant

In Compagna v. Nanaimo (City), 2018 BCCA 396, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has confirmed an earlier B.C. Supreme Court decision that recognized a building inspector’s discretion to request additional geotechnical reports following subdivision approval, at the building permit stage, as being consistent with the intent of section 56 of the Community Charter. Section 56 is a mechanism that local government building inspectors can use to require a geotechnical engineering report when a building or structure is proposed on hazardous lands, for example land at risk of landslide or flooding. The purpose of requiring such a report is to determine the suitability of the lands for the proposed building or structure and to obtain professional  recommendations for conditions necessary to ensure the safe use of the land.

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