2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Property owners discover that neighbour has been taking their metered water for free

In this case before the B.C. Supreme Court, the plaintiffs' water bills were unusually high.  The amounts of water being consumed by Patricia Martin and Barry Bergh were so high that staff from the City of Salmon Arm attended at their home in order to investigate.  This investigation led to the discovery of a standpipe offshoot from the water pipeline servicing the plaintiffs' property that was providing water free of charge to a neighbour, the defendant in the case, primarily to water her garden.  The neighbour claimed that her free use of the water was guaranteed by the terms of an easement agreement that allowed for the pipeline to the plaintiffs' property.  The easement crossed the neighbouring property.

Although the defendant asserted, "I believe that I am being bullied and will not give up my garden hydrant just because Mr. Bergh could not be bothered to read the easement agreement before he bought his property", the Court found that the agreement did not provide the defendant with a right to take water from the plaintiffs' pipeline.  On that basis, the Court required that the offending standpipe be removed and ordered that a payment be made by the defendant to the plaintiffs in respect of the water already consumed for free.  Justice Meiklem also commented: "The defendants' approach to this matter has been stubborn and legally wrong and they certainly should be liable for costs of this proceeding".

Read the decision at: Martin v. Ambrose.