Book highlights Oak Bay homeowners’ $700K headache

Fraser Institute author, Mark Milke, argues against government “expropriation” of private land

The case of Oak Bay homeowners who spent $700,000 on a government-ordered archeological dig is among those included in a new book that argues properties are devalued by government regulation.

“If government wants something for a public end, whether its to protect archeological artifacts or to put a highway through … there’s a case to be made for compensation, especially when it gets to such an egregiously high levels as it has in Oak Bay,” said Mark Milke, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and author of Stealth Confiscation: How Governments Regulate, Freeze, and Devalue Private Property – Without Compensation.

Milke discusses the 2007 situation that saw Oak Bay residents Wendi Mackay and her husband Robert Edwards pay $200,000 for an archaeological dig after having discovered remains during redevelopment of their property. The couple claims to have spent a total of $700,000 after all the fees and legal costs were tallied – a cost they managed to afford, Milke said, but one other property owners would find an insurmountable hurdle to development.

“These sorts of regulatory actions, when they start to cost that much money, we’re not talking about buying a parking permit for your street… It really becomes akin to expropriation. If it’s designated as public good – and this idea of archaeological preservation is – then there has to be some attention given to the possibility of compensation, otherwise there are a lot of people who won’t be able to do anything with their properties.”

Also covered in the book: the remains discovered on private property near the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, a find which halted plans to build a $1-million home and sparked a police probe into allegations that the property’s owners violated the Heritage Conservation Act.

“The common link between all the cases is that governments increasingly avoid expropriation directly and instead regulate the property for some public purpose,” Mark added. “Governments are increasingly using regulation in the same way, except there’s no compensation attached.”

Milke will be discussing these cases during a Fraser Institute policy briefing at the Union Club on Jan. 29. Tickets to the talk are $40, available through fraserinstitute.org.

 

Just Posted

Victoria mayor preparing to tour Alberta oil sands

Lisa Helps heads to Alberta after an invitation came from Calgary councillor Ward Sutherland

Canadian Premier League announces media partnership with international broadcaster

Langford Mayor Stew Young said partnership is a “big deal” for Langford

UPDATE: Saanich Police respond to weapons incident on Veron Avenue

Police are asking the public to avoid 800-block until further notice

Canada’s first home game in the America Rugby Championships comes this Friday

It’s Canada versus Chile Feb. 22 at Westhills Stadium in Langford

Canadians spent more than $8 billion on pet-related items in 2017

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadian households own pets

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Most Read