Boundary anomalies can be humorous, confusing

Municipal boundaries can sometimes cause unforeseen confusion for property owners

  • Aug. 14, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Tim Collins

News contributor

Sitting in a coffee shop just outside the boundary of the District of Oak Bay, Nils Jensen chuckles and points to the street that serves as the dividing line between Victoria and Oak Bay.

“I always get a kick out of this building. Did you know that, while the building is located in Victoria, the foundation supports for it extend under the street and into Oak Bay? I always thought that we sort of own part of the building,” laughed the Oak Bay mayor.

It’s the sort of anomaly bound to arise when 13 municipalities exist close to one another. The borders between municipalities have been drawn as well as possible, said Jensen, but it would be impossible to draw a dividing line that didn’t impact some individual properties.

“I got a call from one resident who has just a small portion of his yard in Victoria and the rest of his property in Oak Bay. He was asking why, on his tax bill, he saw a charge for policing from Victoria. He’d checked and found that he was within our policing boundaries and that it was highly unlikely that Victoria police would ever respond to a problem at his address. He joked that if he ever found a dead body on his lawn, he might drag it over to the part of his lawn that was in Victoria and then call them to report the crime,” said Jensen.

“Of course it was just a bit of dark humour, but it did highlight the absurdity of the situation.”

But other, more serious, situations have arisen over the years.

In one case, an Oak Bay resident received an order to remove a carport on his property as the structure did not meet Victoria zoning requirements, Jensen recalled.

“It was only a small corner of the structure that was on the Victoria side of the boundary, but he had the choice of demolishing the whole thing or seeking other remedies through the regulatory process. I seem to recall that the matter was finally resolved and he was allowed to keep his carport,” Jensen said.

Then there was the Granite Street resident who’d undertaken major reconstruction on his Oak Bay property. Part of that involved relocating his sewer lines. To tap into the Oak Bay system, he’d need to install a series of pumps to lift his sewage to the lines. He was not allowed to access the Victoria system, which was also available adjacent to his property, although that feed would not require the pumping of waste, but would flow downhill by gravity.

“We managed to resolve that situation as well, but it shows you that some of the boundary issues are things no one ever anticipated when those boundary lines were drawn,” Jensen said.

Not that Jensen feels that these anomalies make the case for amalgamation. “These are just the little quirks that happen from time to time and we tend to co-operate pretty well in resolving the issues,” he said.

“For a handful of properties it means that they actually live in two jurisdictions, but I doubt that for most of them it ever has any real impact. But of course it can seem pretty strange to someone who isn’t familiar with the history of the region.”

Jensen added that serious issues like fire fighting, policing and medical response are not impacted by municipal boundaries. “Those issues have long ago been resolved and the municipalities have a tremendous level of co-operation and shared resources. The system works.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read