/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

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Severe thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada forecasts thunder, cloud and rain for one more day

Housing provided for women and children fleeing violence in Penticton

Announcement on Friday is part of a provincewide initiative to construct additional housing.

People’s Party of Canada leader talks B.C. trade to Penticton supporters

Maxime Bernier, head of the new federal political party, spoke at Time Winery on Friday

Luke Skywalker makes an appearance in Penticton court

KVR Middle Schoolers get firsthand experience at the Penticton Courthouse

Keremeos council members plant tree to celebrate local government

It is the 100th anniversary of the Local Government Management Association of B.C.

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near Canyon Hot Springs due… Continue reading

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Okanagan woman celebrates 101 years young on the back of a Harley Davidson

Last Saturday Violet Madeline celebrated 101 years. A member of the Lower… Continue reading

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Lake Country joins celebration of local government professionals

The district joined communities across the province by planting a new tree

Most Read