Kroenke, who is married to Walmart heiress Anne Walton, owns the largest ranch in Canada – a towering mass larger than Metro Vancouver, which entirely surrounds two bodies of water: Stoney and Minnie Lakes. The lakes, each over half a mile long, are both publicly owned in Canada and filled with fish. But the orientation of Kroenke’s property leaves citizens without a road to reach them, forcing would-be hunters and fishermen to take a small dirt trail or unpaved cart road through its lands to access the wilderness it has to offer. their taxpayers maintain.
Kroenke’s ranch, known as the Douglas Lake Cattle Company or Douglas Lake Ranch, blocked access to these roads with locked gates and fences. (Notably, the ranch has two private lakes on the same property, which visitors must pay an undisclosed daily rate to access). So in 2013, the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to managing wildlife in the area, sued the ranch to open the passageways, arguing the trail had historical significance. dating back to its use by an indigenous village. , and that Canadian citizens have the right to access public lands.
In 2018, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge sided with the recreation group, noting that Canadian tax dollars had been used to rehabilitate the historic trail. But Kroenke appealed, and on Friday a higher court overturned the 2018 ruling, barring Canadians from “entering” on both lanes.
“Our whole club and most of the people in the Nicola Valley cannot believe that a court of appeal can, with the stroke of a pen, erase a 20-day delay. [British Columbia] Supreme Court ruling, ”said Rick McGowan, manager of the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club on Monday. “He devoted 10 years of research and work, all for the benefit of a wealthy American.”
The appeal judges confirmed in their decision that the lakes and the fish they contain do not belong to Kroenke’s ranch, but they accepted his lawyers’ argument that a path does not reach the “limit. natural ‘waters and that there was not enough evidence. to link the trail to native roots. In their decision, the judges wrote that the trial judge had “added his voice to the chorus of those who sought to limit the rights of private landowners.”
“The club (Nicola Valley) invites us to recognize a right to cross private land where it is necessary to do so to access a lake on land reserved for the Crown for the benefit of the public,” wrote the judge. Peter Willcock appeal on file. . “In my opinion, while this argument may attract considerable public support, it has no support in our law.”
Evan Cooke, a lawyer representing the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, called Friday’s ruling a “good decision.”
“The DLCC was satisfied from the outset that its position in the litigation was in accordance with British Columbia law,” said Cooke.
Last week’s decision came at a heavy cost for the environmental nonprofit. Judges ruled the organization was not a “public interest litigator,” meaning it will have to pay the billionaire’s legal fees for his appeal, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars owed for theirs. . According to Vancouver Sun, the non-profit organization supports its own legal fund with picnics and raffles. “It will probably be $ 25,000 or $ 30,000 [for Kroenke’s legal expenses]McGowan said. “I don’t think we would fundraise to pay for legal fees, but we are organizing funding to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada on a couple of issues.
Club attorney Christopher Harvey told The Daily Beast in an email that “the central issue in this case concerns public rights of access to public lakes versus the private property rights of landowners around the lakes.
“The law maintains the balance between these two competing rights, but when it comes to water rights, the law has long favored public rights over private rights,” he said in an e- mail. “What is remarkable about this decision is that it flips that equation … Even though the water belongs to the state, no one is now allowed to cross it if the bed under the water is a private property.”
Inside the war between the rich and the super-rich on an English golf course
Kroenke made his fortune through land development: Forbes estimates that he owns around 30 million square feet of real estate – much of it in malls near his in-laws’ megastores – generating a net worth of more than $ 8.2 billion. One of its properties is a large expanse of land in North Texas around Diversion Lake near Wichita Falls. In 2016, Kroenke evicted hundreds of longtime residents from the 35,000-acre ranch, forcing them to leave their homes on less than four months’ notice. According to Dallas News, most residents were elderly or lived on fixed incomes. “We have family members who have had leases here for 50 years,” said Annette McNeil, a longtime resident. Saint-Louis post-expedition at the time.
Kroenke has also funneled some of his fortune into sports teams and owns the NHL Colorado Avalanche, NFL LA Rams, English Premier League Arsenal FC and NBA Denver Nuggets, among others. The NFL does not technically allow team owners to have professional sports properties in competing cities. But Kroenke found a way around the rules: he arranged to put two of the teams under his son’s name, Josh Kroenke, while keeping them in the family.
In 2017, Kroenke got involved in a different kind of sport: an on-demand app called MyOutdoorTV which has been dubbed the “Netflix of the hunting world”. The paid blood sports channel broadcast, among other things, the trophy hunting of endangered animals, including lions and elephants. After MOTV was widely criticized in the press, Kroenke asked it to remove all content related to big game hunting.
Harvey hinted that the legal findings of the ruling left room for another appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada – if the fishing group can afford it. McGowan agreed, noting that the club plan to raise funds to support the effort. “The judge[s] effectively said that water on private land is not navigable for Canadians, ”said McGowan. “That means they just give it to the landowner for free.”
A spokesperson for British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development said it was too early to comment on the decision as the Fish and Game Club may try to bring in the highest court.
The BC Court of Appeal decision is a landmark case that has far-reaching implications for public access to land in an area where many crown-owned waterways are closed by private property. The case is part of a larger international movement on public rights to the wilderness, known as “freedom to move”. There is increasing pressure in British Columbia to establish “right to roam” laws. “It doesn’t make sense to me,” Judge Joel Groves wrote in the original 2018 ruling, “that the Crown would retain ownership of the lakes, only so that there is no access.
“It’s not a happy judgment for public rights,” Harvey said. “The Attorney General has a duty to protect the rights of the public, but in this case, that did not happen. The club is fully autonomous. “
Justice will be served to those who can afford the tab. The head of the head table always gets the best service.
# tuttulik #neverforget
So does this mean there is still hiking access, just not a vehicle road?
Just because the masses want it, doesn't legally, morally, or ethically allow access. Like the constitution of the United States of America reads, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation". Not sure how Canadian law works, but if the public wants it, they can have it for a public use in the USA, as long as just compensation is paid.
This guy owns a LOT of land here in Wyoming.... he won't hesitate to replicate his actions here. So, let's not turn our heads away because it's Canada. It can and will happen here too. My two cents....
But right or wrong, in the end Kroenke will win. Unless a benefactor with as much money and influence will take up the case from the clubs perspective. And that would likely have to be the provincial government and I don't think they're interested.
DiRTY MiKE; that's just stupid.
If it were me, no public access not fishing in the lake, if the lake is controlled by the state, I surely wouldn't stock it. That said, private land ownership wins.
It's a poorly written piece. Does the public have access via trail? If so, what are they upset about?
It's not your father's US of A anymore.
"Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. In a 5–4 decision, " Supreme Court of the United States Argued February 22, 2005 Decided June 23, 2005
To all who keep asking about the trails the answer is right there in the next paragraph. He blocked access to the trails. There is now no access.
I do over all think the government has no business telling someone for the most part what they can or can not doing on their PRIVATE property or who they must allow access to it.
My first question is; can you fish from bank without trespassing or do you have to be floating?
Second question is; why didn't the government get an easement to protect access to the public waters either during a previous ownership or right before sale to the newest ownership?
But I might build a nice road, camping spots and then charge an insane access fee! HA!
The lakes were until recently stocked by the government.
The lakes are now much larger than they were due to earthen impounding by the owner (dams).
The ranch recognized an opportunity to sell the fishing to lodge guests. The "be a real cowboy for a week" people. It truly is beautiful country!
High paying guests don't want the nonpaying guy with a cooler and lawn chair fishing next to him. Especially if the only logo'ed clothing is a beer hat.
Yes, you could legally get dropped off by air and fish all you want.
The issue is not the private property surrounding the lake, it's the access that was once public and now isn't. The issue is, "...was there a public road that has been blocked?"
The fall out for property owners may be a renewed interest and political appetite for a recently proposed "Right to Roam" legislation. Although Kroenke may not care, other private landowners may end up being the victims of having millions of votes from the city over riding their present property rights. It's a David and Goliath scenario where siding with David may mean you can walk through someone's property to drink beer on an otherwise inaccessible beach. If you live in a condo, what's not to like?!?
There's gonna be more than one loser.
The quote you used implies to me that he closed the roads to the public forcing them to now walk down a dirt trail to go fishing. If so, big deal it’s his land and his road. I think this is only an issue because the owner is a billionaire and everyone crying foul would be singing a different tune if a struggling to stay afloat farmer was the owner.
It’s his. Plain and simple. He decides who does or doesn’t get access.
Here in the US, private property rights in relation to bodies of water are very complex and vary tremendously from state to state. In one state I’m familiar with, the state owns up to the high water mark on either side of a navigable waterway and anyone can wade or troll the river where it is bordered by private property, but if someone tries to wade a small river or creek that runs through (or lake surrounded by) someone’s privately owned land they are trespassing.
As long as the ranch doesn’t piss off the local Indian bands, they won’t worry about it.
However, I’m also as big an advocate for private property rights as you’ll find. It begs to be answered why this is public property. There isn’t a shortage of places to be stocked either. The sticker here is this used to be utilized by the public. Was bought by this guy, and is now closed to the public.
You buy things to own them. Owning them means you get to call the shots. Not me. Do, it’d be almost socialists to suggest the guy is doing any wrong. Because this obviously wasn’t public property to begin with.
There was a public road to the public lakes. The ranch raised the level of the lakes by damming and diverting water from elsewhere. The lake then covered part of the old road in two spots. A new road was built around the lake. Now the ranch claims the new road is on private property. Some shenanigans happened with a buddy relationship with some highways administrators that left some paperwork missing. There are photos and eye witness testimony to back this up and documentation for government expense for maintaining the original road and the new road.
Huntcell; the court did make its ruling and the club won. End of story? No. With more lawyer power the ranch won an appeal. Again there is room to go to a higher court but the money won't be there. Justice served?
How many here believe the OJ Simpson killed his wife?
If the present ruling stands, then everyone with private property in BC better worry about new legislation. And we know how good politicians are at getting it right.
Vancouver Sun news opened the can of worms to the public this afternoon.
He wouldn't live forever . properties eventually turn over. Time now to plan ahead.
Each $1 US donation is $1.25 in Loonies. Every bucket is filled with a million drops . Time to get started.