Rights of Way
A utilities corridor or right of way is a strip of land adjacent to a residential property that protects buried underground services such as water, sewer and storm drains. The ownership of the land may lie with the property owner, but there are rules about how the land can be used.
The District has the right to enter the right of way at any time to perform work on the underground utility services. From time to time, District staff or a contractor working on behalf of the District will make routine inspections of the rights of way to maintain the infrastructure within the right of way.
Although it may be tempting to landscape or build over these strips of land, doing so leads to expensive problems:
- if you have landscaped or built structures to “improve” a utilities right of way, be aware that any future municipal service work will likely damage your improvements and that you will not be reimbursed for your expenses
- landscaping on utility corridors can also directly cause damage to the underground pipes carrying water, sewer or stormwater
- pipes damaged by roots of trees, bushes or other landscaping are repaired or replaced using tax dollars, which costs us all money
Before making decisions about landscaping, make sure you know your property details and the location of underground utilities.
A Statutory Right of Way (SRW) is accompanied by a plan and/or a written description of the right of way area, and is registered at the New Westminster Land Title Office. The SRW does not reduce the size of the owner’s property but does place specific limitations on how a landowner can make use of the land covered by the SRW agreement. The SRW is binding on all existing and future owners of the property.
Prior to any work being undertaken on a District SRW, Engineering and Land Development must be notified.