Keywords:Water Act – s. 23(2)(7); failure to give reasons
The City of Trail (the “City”) appealed an order by the Regional Water Manager (the “Manager”) to cancel one of the City’s water licenses for the Cambridge Creek/Violin Lake water system. The City conceded that it had not used the water system since 1994 as a new water supply system had been completed, but argued that it had been maintaining the works and that the Cambridge system could be used as a backup source of water in the event of an emergency. It also argued that the water may be needed for other purposes which were under active consideration. Finally, the City argued that the Manager’s decision to cancel the licence was without foundation, was done for improper purposes (to facilitate logging), and was arbitrary as no reasons for the decision were provided.
The Panel found that the City had not made beneficial use of the water for at least three years, the system had not been properly maintained, and could not provide an emergency water supply without significant repairs. The Manager therefore had sufficient reason to cancel the licence under the Water Act. The Panel noted that the City may re-apply for a water licence should it be able to provide evidence of a need for a backup system as suggested. Although the Manager did not provide reasons for his decision in the order of cancellation, the Panel found that the City had adequate knowledge of his reasons. However, even if there was a defect, it was corrected on appeal. The appeal was dismissed.