Just days before the RDEK was set to finalize the purchase of Parr Utilities’ assets, the purchase has been delayed due to a possible historical, unsurveyed road on the property where the water treatment plant is located.
“This is an unanticipated hurdle,” says Area F Director Wendy Booth. “This is an extremely complex process and staff have been working diligently through every step, focused on our May 31st goal. Staff and the property owner have been working on amending the agreements and negotiating the required leases to gain final approvals. Every step of the way, we have remained focused on our agreement timeline.”
With the agreements moving forward, one of the final steps is registering the lease agreement on the Title of Land. This includes checking the original legal documents that defined the existing property. “Through that process, a line on a map from 1893 was discovered indicating a trail or road existed on the property. The road no longer exists; however, if it was a designated road historically, the ownership has to be legally addressed before the lease can be registered,” explains Booth. “In all the years since 1893, the property has not been altered in a way to bring the existence of this road to light.”
The Surveyor General Division is now assessing the legal status of the possible road, which will help define the next steps and timeline. Until the property title is confirmed, the RDEK’s purchase of Parr Utilities’ assets is delayed, so the RDEK will not be taking over operations or utility billing on June 1.
“This development is obviously disappointing for all of us – including the community. Having said that, we need to keep perspective. This is a delay. Once we have more information from the Surveyor General, we will know what steps have to be taken to proceed with the purchase,” stresses Booth. “The project and the East Side Lake Windermere Water Service will continue to move forward, just the timeline will look different than what we had hoped.”
– From the Regional District of East Kootenay