Local sues RCMP, gov't

A former provincial and mayoral candidate in Kelowna is suing the RCMP and the B.C. government over a land dispute near 100 Mile House.

In a notice of civil claim filed Tuesday, Charles (Chuck) Hardy alleges he has been “intimidated and harassed” by RCMP and employees of the Ministry of Transportation over the past three years, since buying a property just west of 100 Mile House.

Shortly after purchasing the property in October 2015, Hardy, who still lives primarily in Kelowna, installed fences and a gate where an unmaintained road enters and exits his property, but he soon found they had been removed.

Hardy says he contacted 100 Mile House RCMP, but an officer told him he wasn't allowed to restrict access to the property.

“The RCMP told Mr. Hardy that any locks and chains would be cut and the gates removed as the road was a highway going through the property,” the notice of civil claim states.

“Further, the Staff Sergeant even asserted that members of the public had the right to hunt on the property, and he himself had already done so.”

Hardy claims the RCMP provided no evidence to support the claims, and the officer threatened to throw him in jail if he put the gates and fences back up.

Despite this, Hardy says he put the gates back up and contacted the ministry, which told him the RCMP were correct, and the road was an “MTI right-of-way,” registered as a public highway.

“Over approximately two years of communication, the MTI never produced any documentation supporting their position,” Hardy's suit claims. “In dealing with both the RCMP and the MTI, Mr. Hardy has been bullied, intimidated and had his property rights violated.”

Hardy says the ministry has had his gates and fences removed on several occasions, while other members of the public have cut through his fencing. He says he has driven out to the property from Kelowna every week to fix the damage.

Hardy claims he received a letter from the ministry in March 2018, stating it would “no longer be pursuing the matter of the road being public.”

Despite this, Hardy says he's suffered “significant damage” as a result of the dispute, to the tune of $28,110 for property damage, labour, travel to and from the property and general damages for “stress, anxiety and concern regarding government interference and threats.”

None of Hardy's claims has been tested in court.

In an emailed statement, the ministry says it is “proceeding through the claims process,” but cannot comment on the case. Neither the ministry nor the RCMP has filed a response to the claim at this time.

Hardy unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Kelowna in 2014, followed by a failed bid for MLA of Kelowna-Mission in 2017 under the BC Conservative banner.

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