/www.douglaslake.com/ranch

B.C. court orders access to public lake through cattle company lands

Public access to two lakes near Merritt was blocked more than three decades ago

A British Columbia judge has prodded the provincial government for its inaction while he granted public access to two lakes in the Interior nearly three decades after the route was blocked.

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club took the Douglas Lake Cattle Company to court after the company blocked access to Stoney and Minnie lakes near Merritt.

The firm, one of the world’s biggest cattle companies, decommissioned a road leading to the lakes in the early 1990, locking out access to members of the club.

READ MORE: Gear worth thousands stolen from Merritt search and rescue team

In a ruling issued Friday, Justice Joel Groves says the provincial government retained rights to the lake making the fish in the lakes public property, meaning the public would need to access the lakes.

Groves concluded that province breached its obligations to the citizens of B.C. when the cattle company unilaterally closed a public road and “no government official had the wherewithal to insist that the lock on the gate be removed.”

Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club director Rick McGowan said the decision is precedent setting and will mean the people of B.C. have a right to access all public places in the province.

READ MORE: Cows can be pessimistic and it affects their ability to cope with stress

Groves said in his ruling that the province has a duty to maintain the ownership of public lands and roads and to prohibit those who — for their economic or personal benefit — choose to occupy those public lands.

“As such, I am not pointing a finger at any particular government individual but, again, it is most unfortunate that all governments holding the obligation of the public trust have failed to take any actions to prohibit what was an illegal obstruction of a public road by a corporate entity, for its own benefit.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton RCMP want you to Cram the Kennel

RCMP officers, volunteers will be filling kennels with food and pet supplies donations

Two vehicle incident stalls traffic

Accident on Winnipeg Street and Eckhardt Avenue

Stolen Kelowna vehicle located in Penticton, driver facing numerous charges

The accused attempted to flee from police, ramming fences and police vehicles in the process

Rikhi family donates $60,000 to Penticton Regional Hospital expansion

Donation made in memory of Raksha Rikhi, a nurse from Summerland

Bobsleigh on display in Summerland

Used sleigh set up in honour of Olympic gold medal athlete Justin Kripps

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

Women charged with stealing money from Okanagan hospice return to court

Susan Steen and Melanie Gray are charged with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

Most Read