Douglas Lake case re-opened for short time with new evidence

By Chad Klassen
September 8, 2017 - 6:05pm

KAMLOOPS — A battle over two public lakes in the Nicola Valley resumed on Friday at B.C. Supreme Court, more than three months after the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club toured the Douglas Lake area with the cattle company and Justice Joel Groves.

The club is the defendant in the case over public access to Minnie and Stonie Lakes, and on Friday had eight photos accepted as new evidence in the trial. The club took the photos while walking around the Douglas Lake property on May 25, two days after the official tour.  

On the initial tour, staged on May 23, Joe Gardner, general manager of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, toured the group to a diversion on the property. He claims the diversion, which the cattle company built, runs into Stoney Lake.

However, the fish and game club objects that notion, and two days later took the pictures to show that, in fact, there are natural creeks that run into Stoney Lake.

"iMapsBC shows two definite creeks running into Stoney Lake, and we followed up on that and walked down through the area," said club member Ed Hendricks, who was called as a witness on Friday. "We took some pictures of running water, ponds, and actually two creeks, as shown on iMaps, were running water into Stoney Lake. Neither one of them were the ones that Joe Gardner showed the court."

Douglas Lake Cattle Company had argued the evidence should not be included in the case, arguing the photos don't pass as new information.

"The fishing club would like to say more about the known facts," said plantiff lawyer Evan Cooke. "It would be inappropriate for the trial to re-open."

Cooke argued "the ranch is not trying to suppress evidence to gain an unfair advantage."

However, Justice Groves agreed the evidence should be accepted, arguing the photos couldn't have been taken before the official tour on May 23. 

"This is not evidence the club could've had," said Groves, doubting a pre-trial viewing would have been allowed by Gardner. 

Groves is giving each party until October 14 to complete submissions and rebuttals before he will hand down a decision, which is not known.


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