Math and Materiality: Challenging Election Results – Duperron v. School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)

In reasons released January 5, 2017, Justice Rogers of the BC Supreme Court found that a failure by a School District to hold a second advance poll in a school trustee by-election did not materially affect the outcome of the election. (more…)

Navigating the Constitution: Shipping, Navigation and the Right to Moorage

The lakes, rivers and ocean shores of British Columbia are undoubtedly beautiful but the complex regulatory and legal regime that governs these bodies of water can create real uncertainty for local governments seeking to understand the extent to which they may exercise their zoning powers over land covered by water and structures erected within water. (more…)

No “Grandfathering” Out of Requirement for Development Permit

In a recent decision, the BC Supreme Court confirmed that on-going development projects commenced before the enactment of an Official Community Plan are not exempt from the requirements of that OCP, nor will they be protected by the  “legal non-conforming” provisions of the Local Government Act.

The case of Columbia Shuswap (Regional District) v Darnell, 2016 BCSC 1674 (“Darnell”) concerns the developer of a lakefront property. In 2005, the developer undertook a project to restore a field on the property, which entailed placing large amounts of fill within 30 meters of the lake. (more…)

Societies Act

Local governments that are involved in or have incorporated societies should be aware that the new Societies Act, SBC 2015, c. 18 comes into force on November 28, 2016. The new Act modernizes how societies are established and governed, bringing them more closely into line with for-profit business corporations. (more…)

SMS Presents at the VILGMA Annual Conference – November 16-18, 2016

Colin Stewart and Madelaine Campbell will be presenting “Council Codes of Conduct – The Ethical Issues / Legal Update” at this year’s LGMA Vancouver Island Chapter annual conference. This year, the conference will be hosted by Campbell River and held at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre. Colin and Madelaine will present on November 17th at  3:45 pm, and they look forward to seeing you there!

Presentation at the Building Officials Assocation of BC Conference

Michael Hargraves and Ryan Bortolin will be giving two presentations at the Building Officials Association of BC conference in Richmond, BC, on November 17, 2016. The topics of the presentations are “Legal Cases Involving Building Permits and Inspections” and “Regulation of Marihuana Dispensaries”.

LGMA Clerks and Corporate Officers Forum

On October 27, Peter Johnson will be presenting a session on Signing Authority at the LGMA Clerks and Corporate Officers Forum, which is being held this year in Parksville.

The Annual Tax Sale Approaches!

In September 2015 we posted a summary of the tax sale provisions of the Local Government Act. Because of the coming into force of the revised Local Government Act earlier this year, we are reproducing that article in full, with the section references updated to the Local Government Act, S.B.C. 2015, c. 1. 

The tax sale provisions of Part 16, Division 7 of the Local Government Act (“LGA”) provide municipalities with the ultimate property tax collection tool – a forced sale of the property that is subject to tax. As the saying goes, you can’t fight City Hall! (more…)

New Building Act Regulations Shed Further Light on Legislative Scheme

This past June, the provincial government enacted the Building Act General Regulation, B.C. Reg. 131/2016 (the “Building Act Regulation”), providing some clarity with respect to two important elements of the new Building Act, S.B.C. 2015, c.2 (the “Building Act”). (more…)

BC Supreme Court Puts the Kibosh on Marihuana Dispensary

Although the federal government is studying the legalization of marihuana, with the announced intention of introducing legislation sometime in 2017, the sale of cannabis products outside of the framework provided through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations remains illegal under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Even so, storefront cannabis dispensaries continue to pop up in communities across Canada, and the criminal justice system seems ill equipped to do much about it.  As a result, some municipalities such as the City of Vancouver are taking the extraordinary step of actually regulating these illegal cannabis dispensaries. (more…)