The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) injunction on the sale and purchase agreement of the Okanagan Rail corridor was dismissed Monday, June 1, making room for the sale to go through.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Meyers ruled that the OKIB claim does not meet the three-part test that merits an injunction, rejecting it on the grounds that there would be no “irreparable harm” if the injunction were not granted and that the “balance of convenience” does not weigh in favour of an injunction.
Local governments will proceed on closing the sale with CN on the understanding that CN has the legal right to sell the land. “With no injunction in place CN is within its right to sell the corridor lands,” said Doug Gilchrist, divisional director for real estate for the City of Kelowna on behalf of the regional partners, including Lake Country.
Local governments respect and support the OKIB in its claim of reversionary rights on land that falls within IR No. 7 and, as such, those parcels have been excluded from the pending agreement with CN.
“Our understanding is that the specific claim over the Commonage reserve was concluded; however, land claims are ongoing across Canada and the city will respect any final decisions by Canada or the courts,” said Gilchrist. “We hope to continue to work with Okanagan Indian Band for the mutual benefit of all our citizens.”
Being heard is something that the Okanagan Indian Band is stressing as the process moves forward and continues to be litigated.
The OKIB claims that 22 kilometres of the rail line that runs through the Commonage should have reverted to reserve when it ceased to be used for railway purposes.
OKIB Chief Byron Louis won’t say what actions the band may take in the future to further its argument.
See kelowna.ca/OKRailCorridor for more information on the issue.