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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alberta Court of Appeal upholds landowner's right to terminate easement

In January of this year, I posted a blog about an interesting case in Alberta concerning the right of a landowner to terminate a utility easement agreement (Alberta Court Rules in Favour of Landowner).  The land in question had been owned originally by the CPR, which had a right to terminate the right of way of the utility.  The lands were transferred to the current owner, who then gave notice of termination to the utility.  The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench decided that the right to terminate could be assigned to the new landowner and that the right could be exercised.

In a recent decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal has agreed.  The Court of Appeal agreed that the agreements were not personal contracts, and were validly assigned to the new owner (Remington Development) including the right to terminate.  The Court rejected the utility's argument that the easements were actually only licenses that could not be assigned; it found that even if the agreements were licenses, they could be assigned. 

With the decision, the utility has no land rights to maintain its power transmission operation on the lands in question.  It will either have to obtain a further agreement from the landowner or attempt to expropriate the rights through the applicable regulatory process.

Read the decision at: Remington Development Corp. v. Enmax Power.