Leisure Valley Park (“the Park”) appealed an order of the Assistant Regional Water Manager to remove gravel and rock rip rap material placed along the left bank of Frosst Creek, and to restore the channel of the stream to its “original natural condition”. The Park had not received a permit under the Water Act for the said works as it believed that an official with the Fish and Wildlife Branch had given her “oral guarantee” that the works could be done provided certain conditions were met. In fact, this official had no authority to issue a permit for the works which constituted a change in and about a stream.
The Panel emphasized the importance of obtaining a permit and ensuring compliance with the Water Act before doing work that alters stream banks. However, the Panel found that the language in the order, “original natural condition”, was unnecessarily extensive and otherwise unclear. The Panel found that the Park acted in good faith, with a reasonable belief that it had official permission to have the work done, and that the work was done expertly and carefully. The Panel accepted the Park’s evidence that the stream channel had changed considerably over time, and that at the time of the hearing it was much wider than it had been in the past. The Panel found that there was no apparent disruption to the stream, and that the works had not created any erosion problems, which was the primary concern of the Water Branch.
The Panel revoked the order and remitted the matter back to the Assistant