I urge you, family and friends to cut and past, the below letter and email directly to the Honourable Doug Donaldson Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development at [email protected] and voice your concern regarding “gated roads.”
Honourable Doug Donaldson
Crown land is land (or land covered by water like rivers or lakes) that is owned by the provincial government. This type of land is available to the public for many different purposes – from industry to recreation and research.
I am writing in regards to Public Road Allowance under Section 79 and 80, Land Act; Companies are gating Crown Land and Private Roads pursuant to section 2.2 Private Roads Act; “Private roads may be authorized only if there are clear physical reasons why access should not be provided to the public, e.g. physical hazards due to industrial traffic, danger from explosives, sour gas, etc.” Many of these gated roads are currently not being used by the landowner at this time and place and have been gated for years.
These gates are clearly infringing on my, and all British Columbia’s rights. Your Ministry supports activities that provide benefits for all British Columbians both economically and environmentally, and facilitates safe public access to a wide range of recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, tourism, ORV and access to British Columbia’s wilderness and backcountry. Among other things, hundreds of kilometres of roads to access lakes stocked at public expense have now been gated off.
In 1962, a BC Special Committee on Public Access to Private Roads considered this issue, and recommended consideration of a Public Access Act. The envisioned Act would have allowed for the making of regulations governing the use of private easements, right of ways etc. The Legislative Committee also recommended the creation of criteria for the expropriation of private roads in the general public interest and that Government consider reserving the right to designate a right-of-way over land in all future Crown grants. However, the Committee’s work was shelved when forest companies freely granted recreational access to their Crown and privately held properties.
Unfortunately, over the intervening decades a number of companies have withdrawn access. By doing so these companies are in direct violation under section 2.2 Private Roads Act, I urge you Sir to consider the 1962 BC Special Committee on Public Access to Private Roads or find a modern solution to this problem. The public has the right to undertake certain activities on Crown Land without an authorization.
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