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Dispute Over Road Use Holding Back Land Sale

A family is facing challenges trying to sell their home and move on to retirement.

The Whitings have lived on an acreage bought from Kirk and Kent Thompson in the RM of Britannia for the past 13 years. While the only road to access their land is still owned by the Thompsons, they came to an agreement at the time of purchase that allowed them to use it.

Fast forward 11 years to 2014 and the Whitings say they are ready to move on and had plans to build their dream home at Brightsand Lake.

“We always planned on retiring up at Brightsands because that’s where all of my husband’s family is; that’s where he grew up. We graduated in St. Walburg. We just always knew we were going to move up there,” says Cris Whiting.

They began to prepare their house for sale so they could move.

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“We did more renovations, fixed it all up, got it ready for sale and then I called [Kirk’s wife] Heather Thompson in the summer of 2015. It was like September, I guess, and let her know we were putting [the house up for sale] as a courtesy because it is going across their land.”

Whiting says there was no indication at the time that there would be any problems selling the land.

“There was for sale signs up there and everything and not at any point of time did either of the Thompsons come up to us and say that we need to get a road built.”

The Whitings got an offer to buy the house in January and that’s when they allege their trouble began. Kent reportedly contacted the realtor to say he wouldn’t let the new owner use the road.

That’s when she turned to the RM of Britannia, which told her it would be about $250,000 to build the road.

“They were very sympathetic to me and all they kept saying was their hands are tied; they stopped building roads for acreages a few years ago, that now it’s at the expense of the land owner.”

Reeve John Light explains that the RM act states that people can petition to have a road built.

“People would be charged with a portion or all of the road build, and nobody has formally asked us to do that. We would have to send engineers out to take a look at it and give us their estimate on the road build.”

In the meantime, the Whitings say they lost a potential buyer because of the road issue.  That’s when Whiting says Kirk Thompson made her an offer.

“Kirk felt bad about the situation we were in [and said], ‘how about I just take it off your hands. I’ll offer you $110,000 and then you don’t have to deal with this road thing. I don’t need this house but I’m going to do you this favour.'”

The Whitings declined and say they are now at a standstill.

“I feel that there could be a simple solution and I just don’t understand how between the RM or the Thompsons we can’t come to some kind of mutual understanding.”

“I was just hoping either the RM would reach out and help us build a road or the Thompsons. If they don’t want anybody else on the road, that’s fine; I respect that but then could they just make us a reasonable offer.”

She says their property has been appraised at $350,000.

Goat News has made several unsuccessful attempts to get a comment from the Thompsons.

RE/MAX broker Michael Dewing explains that if realtors are used in a transaction like this, one of the first things they do is look at the property’s title to see if there are any registered easements or caveats.  

“In this case, if you have a driveway that you access, or even a water well that is on land not owned by you, there needs to be a registered interest on title to say that you and the next owners, whoever they may be, have the same access that you do to the property.”

Whiting posted her story on Facebook and says the response has been positive.

“I can’t believe that complete strangers are being so helpful and so thoughtful. People have offered to build us a road. It’s amazing the support that we’ve gotten and even some of the negative comments, they weren’t that bad. They were just sticking up for their friends and that’s what good friends do.”

She adds, “I do respect the fact that it is the Thompsons’ land and yes I do appreciate the fact that they’ve let us use the road for 13 years… At this point I just want it to be over.”

Story contributed to by Chris Roach. 

 

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