The proposed Canadian Pacific Railway (Stone and Timber) Settlement Act, introduced today, will help implement the settlement agreement by extinguishing Canadian Pacific Railway interests in timber and stone reservations on 145,000 hectares of Crown land and 68,000 hectares of private land.
Under the agreement, Canadian Pacific Railway will receive $19 million in compensation for relinquishing all claims to timber and stone reservations, and to land that was transferred to the province decades ago but incorrectly remains in the title of a historic railway.
The Province granted land to three historic railways between 1892 and 1908 to subsidize railway construction. The rail companies reserved timber and stone on that land when they sold it to third parties in the early 1900s. Reservations are unusual interests that were not recognized in many subsequent land transactions. Many reservations are not registered in the modern land title system. CPR became successor to historic railways and current owner of timber and stone reservations in 1956.
Uncertainty regarding timber and stone reservations raised significant management challenges for the Province, Canadian Pacific Railway, landowners and forest tenure holders once the situation was brought to light in the early 2000s. The Province and Canadian Pacific Railway could not agree on the legal status and characteristics of reservations despite several years of analysis and negotiations.
Clarifying ownership and value of reservations on thousands of land titles through the courts would have been time-consuming and expensive. The settlement agreement and proposed legislation provide certainty for all parties.
Canadian Pacific Railway and the Province will also seek dismissal of the lawsuit that Canadian Pacific Railway filed in May 2013, seeking confirmation of its ownership of reserved timber and stone, and damages for past actions of the Province, landowners and tenure holders.
If passed, the proposed act will enable the adjustment of land titles to recognize extinguished reservations and will validate past actions of the Province. The Province and affected landowners will clearly own previously reserved timber and stone.
Affected landowners will no longer be concerned that Canadian Pacific Railway could develop reserved timber or stone on their land or seek damages for past actions. Forest tenure holders and operators will no longer be concerned that Canadian Pacific Railway could seek damages for past actions.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
“I am pleased that Canadian Pacific Railway and the Province have reached an agreement on this complex situation. This legislation will clear up uncertainty regarding the legal status of Canadian Pacific Railway reservations of timber and stone on Crown and private land.”
- The Province retained ownership of base and precious minerals under the original Crown grants to historic railways.
- Historic railways reserved timber and stone when they sold about 213,000 hectares of granted land to third parties in the early 1900s.