Former Kelowna councillor takes Lake Country to court over rail trail compensation
A former Kelowna city councillor is not happy with the amount of compensation he received when Lake Country expropriated some of his land to build the rail trail between Kelowna and Coldstream.
So Colin Day is taking the District of Lake Country to court.
The future location of the rail trail, which is along the former CN rail corridor, runs right by the Lake Country home Day shares with his wife Moira. After the railway stopped running down the corridor, the couple bought the rail property near their house on the shore of Wood Lake.
“We purchased the land because we had the right to purchase it from the rail road,” explained Day. “We traded land with the rail road and we obtained the right of first refusal.”
However, according to court documents, the District of Lake Country expropriated a 20 meter wide section of the former rail corridor from the Days for use in the rail trail.
The district paid the couple $286,500 and gave them an additional $7,000 to install a fence and shrubs to lessen the impact of the trail.
“They paid appraised value. Bear in mind that that is their appraiser and often a municipal appraiser is somewhat low,” said Day.
In response to Day’s suggestion that the appraiser may have provided a low estimate, the district said the appraiser they used was accredited.
“[The appraiser is] certainly a highly regarded individual and something that we rely on,” said the district’s director of community services Mark Koch.
The Days have now launched legal action. They argue they haven’t been fairly compensated for the land, pointing out the trail will mean a loss of privacy and losing the land will impact how they can use their remaining property.
“There were three acres of non ALR land which at some point probably could be development land and you know what lakeshore lots are worth,” said Day.
Day is a former Kelowna city councillor and understands why the district needs the land. However, the father of seven and grandfather of 18 argued he is trying to make sure his family is treated fairly.
“We are protecting the right of our family. Not only our present family but our grandkids too. Somehow they’ve got to get an education and we’ve got to make sure that we are in a position to help them with that education,” said Day.
The District of Lake Country is not saying much, other than that the case will be dealt with through the courts.
“The next step will be for our legal council to respond to the notice of claim and we’ll be doing that within the time frame set by the courts,” said Koch.
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