Governance of Cultus Lake Park is the direct responsibility of the Park Board, which is accountable for the protection and preservation of the 640 acres of parkland surrounding a small stretch of beach on the eastern shore of the lake. The provision of residential services and the infrastructure necessary to support the local homes and commercial businesses is mandated by the Park Board and funded by its annual capital and operating budgets.
The Board is made up of five elected Commissioners: three elected from the Cultus Lake Park jurisdiction and two elected from the City of Chilliwack jurisdiction. The Park Board is responsible for the long-term planning and vision of the Park, through the annual budget process. Commercial leases and businesses operating in Cultus Lake Park require Park Board approval.
For more information on the Cultus Lake Park Board, please click here.
- CL Park lands are within what is known as the “Railway Belt.”
- The Federal Crown, pursuant to the Terms of Union between Canada and British Columbia (1888) and several provincial statues enacted between 1880 and 1884, acquired title to the Lands from the Province in exchange for Canada’s undertaking to construct a national railway.
- July 12, 1924 the federal government transferred the Lands, by Crown grant, to the City of Chilliwack and the Township of Chilliwack.
- The Lands were granted, subject to certain conditions and reservations, to the City and Township as joint tenants “for park purposes and for no other purpose.”
- The Lands were not within the municipal boundaries of either the City or the Township.
- On September 3, 1925, another Federal Crown Grant was issued to the “Township and City of Chilliwack, their successors and assigns,” transferring more land around Cultus Lake for “park purposes and no other purpose.”
- In 1930, by legislative approval of a memorandum of agreement between Canada and British Columbia, the Provincial Legislature accepted the retransfer to it (subject to a few exceptions) of all and every interest of Canada in the [Railway Belt land].
- In 1932, the City of Chilliwack and the Township of Chilliwack jointly petitioned the Provincial Legislature to pass the governance of Cultus Lake Park, to a board of park Commissioners.
- The Legislature enacted the Cultus Lake Park Act, 1932, S.B.C, c 63, on April 13, 1932.
- The Act was first amended in 1939.
- Permitted additional lands to be added to the park.
- Added the power of the Board to permit it to construct, operate and maintain “improvements, buildings, equipment, facilities, conveniences, amusements and businesses” which the Board considered to be conducive to the use of the park by the public.
- Amended the Board’s ability to spend money. Authorizing the Board to spend money it collected or received by way of grants.
- It also provided the ability to borrow money to a maximum sum of $5,000.00 for a period not exceeding one year.
- Section 19 of the Act was added giving the Board the authority to licence businesses within the park and prohibited the operation of a business without a licence.
- Next amendment came in 1943.
- Section 14 power of the Board was expanded.
- Given the authority to make arrangements for protecting the park from fire.
- To establish a garbage collection system and to incur financial obligations for the provision of education of children of park residents.
- Breach of park bylaw was an offence punishable by a maximum fine of $50.00.
- The Board was given the authority to perform required work at the expense of the person in default and the Board was entitled to bring an action to recover debts owing it.
- The City of Chilliwack and the Township of Chilliwack expropriated approximately 167 acres of land adjacent to Cultus Lake Park for the purpose of expanding the park “for park purposes.”
- On June 8, 1948, four parcels were registered in the names of the City and Township.
- They were the only parcels in the park which were transferred without the “park purpose” restriction.
- In 1926 the Federal Crown sold these four parcels to Westminister Mills Ltd. “for the purpose of a mill site and for mill operations only.”
- These parcels are currently being used within the Park, as a recreation area designated as “Sunnyside Campground.”
- The maximum amount the Board was entitled to borrow was increased from $5,000.00 to $20,000.00.
- Another Provincial Crown Grant transferred more land to the City and the Township for park purposes only.
- The major change was that the Board was entitled to grant concessions and licences for a period of longer than five years with the consent of both the City of Chilliwack and the Township of Chilliwack.
- Board’s powers were also increased by authorizing it to exercise by bylaw with the approval of both the City and Township any and all powers granted under Section 871 of the then applicable Municipal Act. These powers pertained to miscellaneous bylaw matter involving the regulation of the keeping of animals, the growing of mushrooms, firearms, explosives and fireworks, animal pounds and compensation for loss of livestock.
- Remuneration for Board members.
- The City and Township were amalgamated to form the District of Chilliwack.
- The boundaries of the District still did not encompass the Lands, but the joint interest of the City and the Township in the Lands passed to the District upon its incorporation.
- Representation was changed so that five members represented the District and two represented the residents of Cultus Lake.
- Augmented the Board’s powers with respect to leasing building sites for private use.
- Requirement for the lease of private sites was that unless the lot was greater than 7,500 square feet or was properly sewered, the lease was only valid for one year.
- Borrow limit was increased from $20,000.00 to $50,000.00.
1988 and 1989
- A number of housekeeping matters to the Cultus Lake Park Act, which had no impact on, nor did it alter, the Board’s powers.
- The Cultus Lake Park Act was amended and dealt with procedure as opposed to substance. There was no change to the powers of the Board, but the way in in which people were elected to the Board was made consistent with the school board process.
- The Cultus Lake Park Plan was prepared by the Board as a guide to future land use and development within the park. It established formal policies regarding land use and environmental protection and set up a process for considering any major changes in land use.
- City representatives met with officials of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs regarding amendments to the Act to protect the Park. The Ministry felt that governance of Cultus Lake must be resolved first and suggested that a boundary extension might provide the best solution to some of the problems with the existing arrangements.
- Urban Systems was commissioned in 2002 by a joint steering committee of the Cultus Lake Park Board, the City of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley Regional District to examine the unique form of governance by the Park Board. It was determined that considerable discussions were required with provincial and federal representatives, First Nations and local residents.
- It was clear that the City (although the legal owner of the land, did not have any control over the use of improvement of the land) and the Regional District had no jurisdiction over zoning but could enact regulations, such as building bylaws, that did not fall within the Park Board’s powers.
- The City of Chilliwack struck the first Cultus Lake Governance Committee (CLGC). It consisted of members from the City of Chilliwack, the Park Board, the Regional District and representatives from Cultus Lake. This set the stage for a process intended to lead to the resolution of land tenure issues and the repealing of the Cultus Lake Park Act.
- The CLGC commissioned consultants to prepare financial analyses, which were presented to the public in March 2004. Village status or amalgamation with the City of Chilliwack were considered the only economically viable options. Also under discussion as a potential part of that process was the conversion of existing leases in the Park into registered land titles. However, none of those options proceeded. At the end of the process, the Province would not commit to the dissolution of the Cultus Lake Park Act, and the City of Chilliwack was not prepared to enter into a boundary extension and amalgamation agreement.
- Neilson-Welsh was hired to examine a boundary extension initiative once again, but the extension plan fell to the wayside – and to this day, Cultus Lake Park maintains the status quo.
- June 23, 2014 the Act was amended. Section 4 – Membership, which consists of 5 members, 2 of whom shall represent the District of Chilliwack, and 3 of whom shall represent the residents of Cultus Lake Park. BC Reg. 132/14.
- Cultus Lake Park Plan Bylaw No. 1080, 2016 “Plan Cultus” was finalized and is now the document used as the guide to future land use and development in the Park.
- In February the Cultus Lake Park Zoning Bylaw No. 1375, 2016 3 was adopted.
- The Act was amended on 15 June 2018 which added a new section 25 entitled “Other elections and voting.”
- The following was added:
25 (1)Despite section 66 (4) (d) of the Local Government Act, a leaseholder is a registered owner of real property for the purpose of non-resident property electors registering to vote
(a) in an election for electoral area director under Part 3 of the Local Government Act, and
(b) in assent voting within the meaning of Part 4 of the Local Government Act.(2)Despite section 41 (4) (d) of the School Act, a leaseholder is a registered owner of real property for the purpose of non-resident property electors registering to vote in an election for school trustees.
- The following was added: