Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes Be Reasonable

In the recent case of Montreal (City) v. Montreal Port Authority, 2010 SCC 14, the Supreme Court of Canada set down some guidelines for the application of federal legislation concerning payments in lieu of taxes (“PILTs”) by the federal Crown and federal Crown corporations. Such payments are governed by the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act (the “PILT Act”) and the Crown Corporation Payments Regulations (the “Regulations”). (more…)

Reserve Land – Tenures Available to Local Governments

Every so often, a local government may require an interest in a First Nation’s reserve lands, be it for highway/road access purposes, or to construct and operate a sewer or water line or outfall. This article identifies the interests that are available to local governments under the Indian Act on reserve lands of a First Nation that has not adopted a Land Code under the First Nations Land Management Act (“FNLMA”). This article does not address interests on reserve lands that are subject to a Land Code. The nuances under the Land Code regime will be the subject of a future article. The main difference between the two regimes is that under the FNLMA the local government deals with the First Nation directly whereas Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (“INAC”) acts on behalf of the First Nation in respect of interests granted on a reserve that is not subject to a Land Code. In addition, this article does not deal with interests granted by First Nation members that hold a certificate of possession on a reserve. (more…)

Court of Appeal Confirms Mayor Had No Conflict

The Court of Appeal has ruled against the Appellants in the decision of Fairbrass v. Hansma 2010 BCCA 319, upholding the lower court’s decision that the Mayor of the Township of Spallumcheen did not have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in relation to a proposed amendment of the Township’s Official Community Plan. (more…)

Riparian Area Regulations Reviewed

The Supreme Court of British Columbia recently released the first decision of that court to consider the Riparian Area Regulations (“RAR”) under the Fish Protection Act (British Columbia).

In Yanke v. Salmon Arm (City) the petitioner owned a residential lot near the shore of Shuswap Lake. The lot did not immediately adjoin the natural boundary of the lake – it was separated from the natural boundary by 36 meters, including a 30 meter strip held by the Nature Trust of British Columbia. The petitioners wished to construct a residential dwelling on their lot on an area that was 15 meters from the average annual high water mark of the lake. The proposed building site was within a 26 meter streamside protection and enhancement area (“SPEA”) identified by a qualified environmental professional using the assessment methods under RAR. (more…)

Pucci v. City of North Vancouver: Be Careful What You Wish For

A recent decision resulting in a successful challenge to a City of North Vancouver zoning bylaw, Pucci v. North Vancouver (City) 2010 BCSC 743, highlights a possible ground for challenging decisions, even in the absence of having to provide actual reasons.

Pucci involved a challenge to a rezoning bylaw that would have had the effect of legalizing the suites in an unlawful fourplex. There had been a long history of non-compliance with the zoning bylaw, dating back a couple of decades. This history had included at least two temporary moratoria on enforcement and a lengthy period of time when no enforcement action had been taken. The rezoning application stirred a considerable amount of controversy in the community, and this controversy had generated a series of emails to members of Council from neighbours upset at the thought that the rezoning would legalize and essentially reward the consistently unlawful behaviour of the owners. (more…)

Bail for Vicious Dogs

On its face, section 49 of the Community Charter provides a powerful tool to municipalities and regional districts to seek humane destruction of vicious dogs in their jurisdictions. However, the Provincial Court of British Columbia has recently indicated that section 49 does not necessarily operate as a reliable tool to keep vicious dogs out of the community, pending a judicial Order for their destruction. (more…)

Tendering Law: Mandatory Means Mandatory

A recent Supreme Court of British Columbia decision has confirmed that when a tender requires bidders to attend a mandatory site meeting, failure to attend will most likely render a bid non-compliant, and incapable of acceptance.

In Admiral Roofing Ltd. v. The Board of Education of School District No. 57, 2010 BCSC 1394, the tender at issue was for the re-roofing of two buildings owned by the School District. A mandatory site meeting, involving inspections of both buildings, was required by the invitation to tender. The invitation to tender included the statement that “failure to attend and register will lead to the non-acceptance of the tender by the owner”. (more…)

Public Meetings and the Duty to Make Documents Available

A recent BC Supreme Court decision provides guidance on the documents municipalities must make available to the public before holding a public meeting prior to adopting a zoning bylaw.

In Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network v. Langford (City), 2010 BCSC 1357, the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network (“VICFAN”) petitioned for an order quashing a rezoning bylaw. VICFAN claimed that the City’s public hearings, held prior to adopting the bylaw, were not procedurally fair because, among other reasons, the City did not make adequate disclosure of documents prior to the meeting. (more…)

Park Dedication or Cash in Lieu – Whose choice is it?

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has recently ruled that there is a relatively low threshold for determining whether a local government has the choice, under section 941(2) of the Local Government Act, of requiring dedication of park land, or payment of cash in lieu, at the time of subdivision. In Basin Construction Ltd. v. Columbia Shuswap Regional District, a decision released February 8, 2011, the court suggested that the property owner will have the option of choosing dedication of land or payment of money only where the local government has failed to consider parks in its official community plan. (more…)

Allegation That Municipal Official Authorized Unlawful Use is No Defence to Zoning Bylaw Enforcement

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently reconfirmed that local government enforcement of zoning bylaws cannot be curtailed in circumstances where unlawful use might have been authorized by a municipal official and was, at the very least, known to the municipality at the time the unlawful use commenced. (more…)