Dauphinee v. White Rock Harbour Board

In Docks Wharves and Marinas on (Updated )

Précis: The BC Supreme Court upheld a bylaw of the harbour board and ordered an assignment of a powerboat slip to the plaintiff.

Facts: The plaintiff sought a petition declaring that the affairs of the respondent were being conducted in a manner oppressive or unfairly prejudicial to him, and, an order directing the Harbour Board to assign him a powerboat moorage slip in place of his sailboat moorage slip at the wharf operated by the Harbour Board. The defendant Harbour Board acts as agent for the City of White Rock in the operation of the Wharf. There are 33 slips at the defendant’s wharf, 4 of which are for powerboats only. The plaintiff was a member of the defendant harbour board and had been allotted a sailboat slip at the Wharf since 2003. In April 2017 the plaintiff submitted a request to the Harbour Board to assign him an available powerboat slip in place of his sailboat slip. Rule 16 of the defendant Harbour Board’s rules allowed an existing Harbour Board member with a minimum of five years occupation of a slip to sell their existing sailboat and purchase a powerboat or sell their existing power boat and purchase a sailboat and change their moorage designation accordingly. Such members who wish to do so would be placed at the head of the waitlist. The Harbour Board refused to assign the plaintiff a powerboat slip and did not want to uphold its own rule.

Decision: Order granted.

Held: Nothing in the agreement with the city, the constitution or the bylaws were inconsistent or prohibited the operation of rule 16. The rule was valid. It was not material what the past or future bylaws and rules would read, as the issue was the situation now and the year that has past since the plaintiff made his request for the slip. The judge found for the plaintiff that it is oppressive and unfairly prejudicial for the Harbour Board to refuse to implement a validly adopted rule.