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Expropriation Law Centre Forum

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Protection of drinking water as cause for expropriation?

Has there ever been a case in BC of a local or regional government expropriating, completely or in part, any privately owned land for the purpose of protecting water quality and quantity in a drinking watershed?

Re: Protection of drinking water as cause for expropriation?

See Rella v. Montrose and British Columbia v. Perry Ridge Water Users. Rella involved expropriation to protect a drinking water source and Perry Ridge involved efforts to prevent an expropriated road from being constructed throughout a watershed.

Re: Protection of drinking water as cause for expropriation?

Dear Mr. Melville,
Thank you for your reply. I will try to find those cases through a Google search.

I live on Vancouver Island in that region whose history derives from the E&N land grant--with the result that community watersheds are are entirely on private land owned largely by forest companies. Although massive clearcutting has occurred for a hundred years, by and large companies refrained from (or were not permitted to) harvest along the borders of rivers and streams. Now, under recent and current legislation regarding private forest land, selective logging is permitted right to the water's edge. This is occurring in a number of community watersheds. An example is the Englishman River which provides drinking water to ~10,000 people, not to mention its importance as a salmon river.

We are looking for ways to stop riparian harvesting through the legal system, e.g. a law suit, an action to expropriate the riparian zone, a court injunction, etc.

We are, of course, pursuing the usual channels with our local and provincial governments, but this will take time. Our local government, in particular, is actively pursuing increased protection. However, logging continues in the interim.

Do you think an action to expropriate could bring a quicker cessation of logging in the riparian zone?

Am I right that only a municipality, regional district, or provincial government department can initiate an expropriation action?