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Organizations with easements across reserve land should look at B.C. appeal decision, lawyer says – The Lawyer’s Daily

by ahnationtalk on September 23, 2021111 Views

September 23, 2021

The B.C. Court of Appeal has put a time limit on the possible redevelopment of a disused railway line running across the reserve of a Vancouver Island First Nation, with a lawyer involved in the case shows the extent to which courts are prepared to intervene and review certainty of title when it comes to takings on reserve lands.

The conflict in the case surrounds a right of way through Snaw-Naw-As First Nation (SFN)’s reserve lands which had been granted by Canada to E&N Railway in 1912. Now owned by the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), the railway has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years and the two parties went to court to determine whether the land on the right of way continue to be “actually required for railway purposes,” as required by the federal government’s grant for the easement, or whether they should be returned to SFN as reserve lands or revert to Canada to be held in trust for the First Nation. The Snaw-Naw-As was unsuccessful at the B.C. Supreme Court (Snaw-Naw-As First Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) 2020 BCSC 979).

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