Downzoning of $100M of CMHC Land Upheld

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been unsuccessful in challenging District of North Vancouver bylaws that removed the residential designation on over 630 acres of CMHC land and placed the lands in the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Zone in the District’s Zoning Bylaw. On February 22, 2000, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s rejection of CMHC’s allegation that the District had rezoned the lands for an improper purpose. CMHC had argued that under the new bylaws there are no practical private uses available for the lands, which were estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million for residential uses. CMHC also claimed that the purpose of the rezoning was to create a park and that compensation should by paid by the District.

The Court of Appeal found that municipalities in B.C. are empowered to take action to protect the environment and natural amenities of areas under their control. The court also stated that it is legitimate for a municipality to consider preserving large areas as parks or other uses that constitute open space. Finally, the Court of Appeal held that even if the District had intended to place the CMHC lands in a “holding zone”, such an action would have been lawful. As a result, the bylaws were upheld and no compensation was payable to CMHC.

Dan Bennett and Max Collett of Bull, Housser & Tupper acted for the District of North Vancouver and Peter Voith and Simon Wells of Davis & Company acted for CMHC.


Daniel R. Bennett R. Max Collett Simon Robert Wells


DLA Piper (Canada) LLP Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP