• Lothar Vollmer v. Muhammed A. Sabur, Regional Hydrologist

    Decision Date:


    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    James McKitrick, Participant


    Decision Date: September 18, 2015

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Water Act – ss. 88(1)(d) and (e); order; foreshore; lake; unauthorized changes in and about a stream; remediation; consent order

    Lothar Vollmer appealed an order issued by the Regional Hydrologist, Cariboo Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, who was acting in his capacity as an engineer under the Water Act.

    Mr. Vollmer owns lakefront land on Bowron Lake. For many years, a lodge has operated on Mr. Vollmer’s property. A canoe rental business is operated out of the lodge. In or about October 2012, Mr. Vollmer had contractors conduct work on the foreshore in front of his property. A retaining wall was built, the foreshore was backfilled and topped with gravel, and a canoe storage rack was installed.

    In September 2013, the Regional Hydrologist issued the order under sections 88(1)(d) and (e) of the Water Act. The Regional Hydrologist determined that the retaining wall was built below the natural boundary of Bowron Lake, and constituted an unauthorized change in and about a stream. The order required Mr. Vollmer to remove the retaining wall and fill from the foreshore of Bowron Lake, and restore the foreshore to a natural state, by the end of November 2013.

    In October 2013, Mr. Vollmer appealed the order. He submitted that the retaining wall was necessary to protect his land and ensure safe access to the lake. He requested that the retaining wall be allowed to remain in place. Shortly after the appeal was filed, the Regional Hydrologist consented to a voluntary stay of the order, pending the Board’s decision on the appeal.

    After the order was issued under the Water Act, a survey of the retaining wall resulted in the issuance of further orders under other provincial legislation. In February 2014, the Ministry of Environment issued an order under the Park Act requiring Mr. Vollmer remove a portion of the retaining wall that was within the boundaries of Bowron Lake Provincial Park. In March 2014, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued an order under the Transportation Act requiring him to remove the canoe rack and the portion of the retaining wall that was within a public road right-of-way.

    In May 2014, the Regional Hydrologist requested that the appeal hearing relating to the Water Act order be delayed, pending Mr. Vollmer’s compliance with the other orders. Subsequently, parts of the retaining wall were removed.

    Before the appeal was heard by the Board, the parties negotiated an agreement to resolve the matter. By consent of the parties, the Board reversed the order and issued a new order requiring Mr. Vollmer to plant native tree species in parts of his land to stabilize a bank above the foreshore.

    Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, by consent.