Legal Opinion about the Chaudiere Islands as lands reserved for Public Purpose
April 5, 2020
This is a legal opinion by lawyer Douglas R. Adams concerning the Chaudière Islands as lands reserved for public purposes. Adams bases his opinion on federal law and precedents.
On the question of the Chaudière Islands, Adams concludes that because of the immeasurable value to the people of Canada, of the sacred lands and waters that are the Chaudière, it can be argued that to transfer this land to Windmill (now Zibi, controlled by Dream Corp. of Toronto), and to then transfer this property to twelve hundred transient, private condo owners and other individual private owners, “is a proposition that cannot be defended”.
In his opinion paper, Douglas Adams describes the legal history of the area. Research indicates that sometime before August 1854 the area, which was then under the jurisdiction of the Province of Canada, was “reserved for Public Purposes.” An Order-in-Council signed on August 25th 1854 stipulates that 25 islands in the Ottawa River, including the Chaudière, Albert and Victoria Islands, be set aside and placed under the control of the Department of Public Works for “Public Purposes”. This designation was upheld in the BNA Act of 1867. And, as stated further in the opinion paper: “Also worth noting is a statute passed in 1870 and still in force today referred to as ‘An Act respecting certain Works on the Ottawa River’.” These laws have never been rescinded.
One cannot state strongly enough the importance of public lands and what that means. In giving his opinion, Douglas R. Adams discusses the difference between private and public ownership, private business and public business. As he says, “a public purpose or public business has for its objective the promotion of the general welfare of all inhabitants or residents within a given political division, as, for example a state, the sovereignty and sovereign powers of which are exercised to promote the public health, safety, morals, general welfare, security, prosperity, contentment, and equality before the law of all the citizens of the state.”
Examples of legal cases where “public trust” was upheld are given by the author in this document.
Document: legal opinion of Douglas R. Adams.