Kyle Falk-Varcoe Joins Stewart McDannold Stuart

Stewart McDannold Stuart is pleased to welcome our newest associate, Kyle Falk-Varcoe. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Victoria and was called to the bar in 2022 before working at a leading national firm in Vancouver. Kyle is relocating back to Vancouver Island and will be working with our solicitors group providing services to our local government clients.

Season’s Greetings from Stewart McDannold Stuart

A branch of rose hips covered in frost, backlit by the sun.From all 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.

Court of Appeal Upholds Ucluelet’s Decision to Downzone a Developer’s Lands

A recent decision of the BC Court of Appeal affirms a local government’s authority to act quickly and in good faith to forestall development via downzoning of lands, and it clarifies the doctrine of “commitment to use” in respect of claims of an owner that it has already established a lawful non-conforming use.

In Onni Wyndansea Holdings Ltd. v. Ucluelet (District), 2023 BCCA 342, the Court dismissed an appeal by a developer, Onni Wyndansea Holdings Ltd. (“Onni”), seeking to quash zoning bylaws made by The District of Uclulet (the “District”) which downzoned its property and impeded its development plans or, in the alternative, seeking a declaration that Onni had a lawful non-conforming use for the property which would cause any downzoning to be inapplicable to its plans.


2023 LGMA Annual Conference

Ryan Bortolin, Jessica Eastwood and Jeff Locke will be presenting at the LGMA conference being held in Nanaimo from June 13 to June 15. Ryan and Jessica will be providing a legal update on June 15, and Jeff will also be presenting on June 15, on the topic “Supporting Your Decisions: Essentials and Strategies for Making and Preserving Local Government Decisions”.

Local Government Leadership Academy

On February 15, 2023 Ryan Bortolin will be presenting on “Local Government Law 101” at the Local Government Leadership Academy in Nanaimo BC.  The basis of his presentation will be the “Guide for Municipal Council Members and Regional District Directors in British Columbia”, a copy of which can be found here.

Pacific Business and Law Institute—Local Government 2023

On March 10, 2023 Peter Johnson will be participating in this year’s PBLI conference on local government law, and will be presenting on the topic: “Provincial Overrides and Strong Mayors: Limits on Municipal Council Powers”.

You can find the PBLI website here.

Season’s Greetings from Stewart McDannold Stuart

From all 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 Cool Aid Society on behalf of Sandy Merriman House.

BC Supreme Court finds that Re-Zoning Approval with Variances did not “Create a New Zone”

Recently, the B.C. Supreme Court denied a judicial review petition challenging the approval of a re-zoning application for an apartment complex. In Penticton Society for Transparent Governance and Responsible Development v Penticton (City), 2022 BCSC 2111, the Petitioner alleged that the City had effectively created a new, non-existent land use zone when it approved an amending bylaw that up-zoned a property to an existing zone but where the City was required to subsequently grant variances for aspects of the property that did not meet the requirements of that pre-existing zone. (more…)

Province Introduces Bill 43, Housing Supply Act – If You Don’t Build It, They Will Come

The BC government has introduced Bill 43 – 2022, the “Housing Supply Act” to the legislature, with the stated intention of providing “a framework for housing targets to be established for specified municipalities, and for the minister or Lieutenant Governor in Council to take certain actions if housing targets are not met.” The proposed legislation represents a significant incursion by the Province into local land use and planning authority, and provides the authority for the Province to directly override the decisions of municipal councils, including the power to enact a bylaw in the name of a municipality (more…)


Annapolis Group Inc. v. Halifax Regional Municipality, 2022 SCC 36

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a decision coming out of the province of Nova Scotia which broadens the basis upon which a local government may be held liable for “constructive taking” of private lands.