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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ontario Court orders landowners to stop blocking drainage ditch on their property

Justice Quigley of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ordered Steven and Joan Morrow to stop blocking the flow of water through a drainage ditch on their property in Lanark County.  The County applied to the Court for the injunctive relief after neighbours complained of flooding caused by the damming of a local drainage ditch. 

The County took the position in the case that it was a proper party (even though it was not one of the neighbouring landowners) because the blockage of the ditch created a public nuisance.  Quigley J. agreed.  He found that the attempt to distinguish between a private and public drainage ditch was irrelevant in the circumstances and that the actions of the landowners in blocking the flow of water (with result of flooding of neighbouring lands) "would be actionable even if there were no ditch". 

The Court granted a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the obstruction of or interference with the ditch, and made an order allowing the County to enter the property to remove the obstruction and to grade the ditch.  There was also an order for payment of $1,000 in damages contingent on the costs of the County's work.

Read the decision at: Lanark v. Morrow.