New GVLA sounds call for people to take rightful ownership of their land

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by admin on December 23, 2010

Low resident Steve Connolly is telling the government to "back off" with this sign on his property. He's one of 60 members of the Gatineau Valley Landowners Association, who's worried government laws and bylaws are encroaching on the basic rights of landowners.

Low resident Steve Connolly is telling the government to "back off" with this sign on his property.

This land is my land, this land is not your land. It might not have the same ring as the Woody Guthrie tune, but that was the message heard at a Gatineau Valley Landowners Association (GVLA) meeting Dec. 16.

About 200 people from all over West Quebec filed into the Kazabazua Community Centre to learn about their rights as landowners.

The message from the GVLA and its sister organization the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA): “This land is our land. Back off government.”

“It’s about your fundamental rights to do as you choose on your property,” said Deborah Madill, president of the OLA. “We are being stripped of those rights.”

The concern for both groups is that bylaws and laws are encroaching on basic landowners’ rights. Madill and fellow members of the Landowners Association groups urged people to apply for the Crown Land Patent Grant (CLPG), an agreement outlining the rights you have as a landowner. According to the OLA website, they are “the original contract with the Crown when land grants were issued to the first settlers.” The agreements overrule legislation and every landowner has one.

Low councillor Albert Kealey started the GVLA chapter a month ago because he’s concerned that municipal bylaws restricting agricultural land are illegal.

“The municipality of Low is stymied by all these rules and regulations,” he told the Low Down. “All these other municipalities are growing and we’re not because we don’t have any land to build houses on.”

With a CLPG, most landowners don’t have to comply with mandatory septic-pumping rules, they don’t have to follow painting bylaws and they can tell government personnel to get off their property.

“There’s something wrong when a building inspector has more power than the police,” said Kealey.

Before the Dec. 16 meeting, the GVLA had 25 members. The number grew to 56 by the end of the night.

According to the OLA website, its organization has 15,000 members and over 22 chapters, but it’s “spreading to other areas of Canada.”

“They’re fed up,” Kealey said.

“We’ve got a group of people who are very passionate about their property rights,” added GVLA member Peter Mulrooney who said he had a problem in 2008 when a municipal inspector told him he had too many trailers on his property.

Kealey said another GVLA meeting has yet to be planned, but is encouraging people to write letters to their mayors about their rights as landowners. The OLA’s website states that many lawyers do not know about the CLPG, but it’s recognized in court.

“You have to inform the different levels of government about the Crown Land Patent Grant,” added Madill. “Then you have to stand up for your rights.”

To apply for a CLPG, you can phone Quebec’s Ministry of Justice at 1-800-465-4949. You can also access the form at www.justice.gouv.qc.ca , under “forms” and “letters patent for land.” The CLPG costs $5 and Connolly says you should receive it in about a week.