Repeal squatters rights

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I recently read an article in the Edmonton Journal, which has considerable relevance to the Cochrane and surrounding area communities.

The MLAs of Alberta have unanimously agreed to amend the adverse possession laws of Alberta, also known as Squatters Rights. Alberta is one of two provinces in Canada that continues to have this law on the books.

In simplicity, if someone uses a piece of your property continually for a period of 10 years or more they can bring an action in the Court of Queens Bench to now be the owner of that property. This could result from a fence, shed, driveway etc. Being built in the incorrect location. Generally, the error is unintentional, however the rightful owner would lose the property.

Without this law, the two parties would have to come to another agreement, which would be sale of the piece of land in question, an easement or moving the fence, shed, etc. This law is archaic and no longer required, given modern surveys. However, this exact issue was being dealt with in the legislature before the election and with a new government in place the amendment to the law was never completed.

I spoke to our MLA, Cam Westhead, on this issue shortly after the election and he advised that the new government was not planning to pick up any of the old bills and concluding them. My grandma and mom are currently being sued on this very issue and an amendment to the law would nullify the lawsuit and prevent future frivolous lawsuits on this topic.

Please let the government know that this is a priority and should be dealt with in a timely manner. Given the number of acreages and farms in the area there are likely many looming lawsuits. All it would take is the sale of a property to launch a dispute.

Miranda Baker

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