City of Powell River Council had adopted a resolution approving an application to the provincial government to establish a licence of occupation over a portion of crown land that makes up part of Lindsay Park.
At the August 18 city council meeting, councillors voted to legitimize its occupation of the provincial lands adjacent to Cranberry Lake.
Previously, at the August 16 committee of the whole meeting, city director of properties, development and communication Scott Randolph brought forward a recommendation for council to establish a licence of occupation over a 0.83-hectare portion of crown land that makes up part of Lindsay Park.
“We’ve been occupying crown land at Lindsay Park at Cranberry Lake for well over 60 years without a licence of occupation,” said Randolph. “We’ve searched our records, the province has searched theirs, and no one has been able to find any sort of agreement allowing for the use of the land.
“We are proposing the use of a little more than two acres. We own the adjoining property, which fronts onto Cranberry Street, which is just a little under half an acre. The two acres that we would be applying for, we already have infrastructure on.”
Randolph said there was a storm sewer, as well as water, and there is also the washroom structure at the park, as well as the playground equipment and part of the parking lot.
“We want to try and make this legal, so we’d like to apply to the province,” said Randolph. “We are already preparing everything for a 10- to 30-year licence of occupation. We generally get close to 30, like we did at Mowat Bay when we re-established the licence there.
“In order to proceed with the application, we need a resolution from council approving the application.”
Councillor Rob Southcott asked: “Have we been squatting?”
Randolph answered: “We have been trespassing, yes.”
Councillor Cindy Elliott asked if the city could apply to own the property rather than apply for a licence of occupation.
Randolph said in regard to fee simple ownership, there is a moratorium on disposing of any crown land in southern BC.
“I’m assuming that links back to the treaty process,” said Randolph. “There is no option of buying it from them. I’ve asked crown lands about this in the past and they have said no. A moratorium is a moratorium.”
City council will consider a resolution to get an application in for a licence of occupation.
In a report to council, Randolph said it will cost the city $250 to submit the application, and that it will cost the city approximately $3,000 to have the licence of occupation area surveyed and the plan prepared.