/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

KFD, COSAR rescue injured hiker in Kelowna

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail after woman injured her leg

Firefighter spring training comes to Lake Country

From LNG to breaking down doors, firefighters get training from industry pros

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Free GolfBC Championship hits Kelowna golf course

Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club hosts the Mackenzie Tour June 13

Okanagan FC kicks off regular season Saturday night

OKFC starts their inaugural season of the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) in Penticton

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Most Read