Friday, October 5, 2012

Sacred Burial Site Found, Development Canceled

Friend of the blog, Nick Blomley, passes along this property story from Vancouver:

The [British Columbia] government on Friday cancelled all development on the Marpole Midden site considered sacred by the Musqueam Indian band. The Century Group were planning a five-storey condo development on the site, near the Arthur Laing Bridge in South Vancouver, until the discovery of human remains earlier this year halted work.

The land must now be returned to its original condition, the government said in a statement Friday, which cancelled the two permits concerning work on the site. The decision will cost the developer “literally millions of dollars” as no compensation is planned, spokesman Bob Ransford said.

The short piece implicates a lot of property concepts: respect for the property rights of Native groups, regulatory takings, economic values v. human values, the reliance interest in land use disputes, and the importance of clear rules for developers. If you're curious about regulatory takings law in Canada, check out this article by Brian Schwartz and Melanie Bueckert.  Schwartz and Bueckert argue, in a nutshell, that Canada law does not offer private property owners the same robust protections as U.S. law.

Steve Clowney

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