/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

VIDEO: Popular Lake Country cafe goes through redesign with customers’ help

The Wooden Nickel Cafe has been in operation for nearly 30 years

Rockets hang on to playoff dreams after back to back weekend losses

The Rockets get a break Sunday, but head to Victoria for back to back games Feb. 18

Rockets shut out by Giants

It was Kelowna’s second game in as many days against a top team in the West

Kelowna athletes kick off Canada Winter Games

Saturday is day one of the Games in Red Deer

UBC Okanagan Heat men get first win of season, women fall to Wolfpack

Both the men’s and women’s volleyball squads will finish their season Saturday night against TRU.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Most Read