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13 (1) In a disposition of Crown land under this or a former Act in which a portion of the land is designated as a road in the instrument evidencing the disposition or in a map or plan attached to it, unless there is express provision in the instrument to the contrary, the road is deemed to be,

  • (a) in the case of a disposition made before January 3, 1977, 20.1168 m in width, being 10.0584 m on each side of the centre line of the travelled portion of the road, and
  • (b) in the case of a disposition made after January 2, 1977, 20 m in width, being 10 m on each side of the centre line of the travelled portion of the road.
  • (2) No part of the road referred to in subsection (1) passes to any person under the instrument.



Reversal of Trial Court’s Finding of Exclusion from Crown Grant

In Douglas Lake Cattle Co. v. Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, 2021 BCCA 99, leave to appeal refused 2021 CanLII 91660 (SCC), the plaintiff ranch owner in the 1980s had decommissioned a road leading to two lakes on the Douglas Lake Ranch, preventing members of the defendant fishing club and the general public from accessing the lakes. At trial, pursuant to s. 13(1)(a) of the Land Act and s. 42 of the Transportation Act, the court found a road and a trail on the plaintiff’s land were excluded from the Crown grant in 1895 and held that the public had a right of access. The trial court considered the evidence of “Aboriginal witnesses” and found the trail “was a well-marked and regularly travelled trail from the Douglas Lake reserve to their traditional fishery grounds at Minnie Lake” (at para. 32, citing 2018 BCSC 2167 at para. 247). The plaintiff’s appeal concerned access to and the natural boundaries of the lakes over three district lots. Upon considering the material facts (including the certified surveyor’s maps and field notes), the Crown grants, and the legislative framework created by the Crown Lands Act, S.B.C. 1888, c. 66 (“the 1888 Land Act”) and the Transportation Act, the appellate court found the trial court’s conclusion to be in error and that the plaintiff had the right to control access. The appellate court also reversed an order for special costs against the plaintiff and the Province in favour of the plaintiff public interest litigant.