This was an appeal of the decision of the Assistant Regional Water Manager, Vancouver Island Region, refusing to issue a water licence on Bonell Creek to the Lantzville Improvement District (“Lantzville”) due to a lack of information in support of its water licence application which was filed in 1988, and held in abeyance until 1999. Lantzville sought an order rescinding the decision of the Assistant Manager and directing him to outline the specific information required to consider Lantzville’s application, and provide a reasonable time within which this information should be provided to the Water Branch.
The Board acknowledged that eleven and a half years was a long time for an application to remain “on the books”, but found that the Water Branch had not asked for additional information from Lantzville, and had allowed this length of time to pass by holding the application in abeyance for all those years without advising Lantzville that this situation was no longer satisfactory. In the unique circumstances of the case, the Board found that in failing to advise Lantzville of the additional information required and failing to provide an opportunity to respond before making his decision, the Assistant Manager did not act reasonably in refusing the application on the basis of lack of information. The appeal was allowed.