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Sabo v AltaLink, 2022 ABCA 233

Link to Decision Summarized

Permission to Appeal – Electricity

In this decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal (“ABCA”) granted permission to appeal to AltaLink Management Ltd. (the “Applicant”). The Applicant applied for permission to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (“ABQB”) in Sabo v AltaLink, 2022 ABQB 156, which arose from appeals of a number of compensation orders granted by the Surface Rights Board.

The Applicant argued that historically the Surface Rights Board only awarded compensation for injurious affection arising from structures located on the lands covered by a right of entry order. Compensation for injurious affection was not awarded arising from structures located on adjacent lands, for example on road allowances. The Applicant submitted this interpretation of the statute was confirmed in Voermans v Alberta (Surface Rights Board) (1988), 58 Alta LR (2d) 277, 87 AR 58 (QB) (“Voermans”).

The Applicant argued that the challenged ABQB decision departed from the traditional approach by awarding compensation for injurious affection caused by parts of the power transmission structures constructed on adjacent road allowances. The parties disagreed on whether the challenged decision is consistent with the Voermans decision, which was not discussed or distinguished in the reasons even though it was binding on the Surface Rights Board and the trial court.

The ABCA was of the view that there are now possibly conflicting decisions of the ABQB on the same issue. The ABCA found that underlying issues are of significant general importance to many landowners and utilities operating in Alberta. Accordingly, the ABCA granted permission to appeal to the Applicant.

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