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NWT Supreme Court rules against Inuvik resident searching for minerals
Injunction to stop man from quarrying

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 22, 2011

A supreme Court ruling is putting a stop, at least temporarily, to activities by an Inuvik resident looking for minerals in the Navy Road Quarry.

NNSL photo/graphic

Navy Road Quarry is where an Inuvik resident and the Town of Inuvik have a disagreement over surface versus subsurface rights. - Samantha Stokell/NNSL photo

An injunction, sought by the Town of Inuvik, was granted by Justice Louise Charbonneau Sept. 6.

Todd Shattler, whose wife holds a mineral claim in the quarry, had blocked access to the site on a number of occasions to perform exploration work on the claim in the back half of the quarry.

Justice Louise Charbonneau ruled that Shattler must stop constructing barriers and stop removing sand and gravel from the quarry; cannot interfere with the town's quarrying activities; cannot issue any invoices related to materials removed from the quarry; and must not undertake any blasting.

"What must stop until the matter is decided on the merits are actions by Mr. Shattler which purport to assert an exclusive right to access the site or interfere with the town's operation of the quarry," Charbonneau wrote in the ruling. "(The town) argues that its inability to exercise its jurisdiction over the site is a very significant inconvenience and one that is detrimental to the public interest."

Until a hearing of merits has started, Shattler must not perform any of the mentioned activities.

"We're pleased. It allows contractors who have permits to do what their permits allow them to do and use the fill for the school," said Grant Hood, SAO of the Town of Inuvik. "The town never disputed he had a claim, but he was blocking the action of contractors."

Shattler admits he barred contractors from entering the quarry, but could not get into details because it is part of the lawsuit. Shattler represented himself at the hearing and is in the process of hiring a lawyer for the rest of the case.

"We're just going to continue doing our thing," Shattler said. "The only thing that affects us is the compromise on quarrying issues."

The town initiated the litigation because it says Shattler's activities went far beyond what is permitted by a mineral claim and that he repeatedly breached town bylaws and provisions of the Cities, Towns and Villages Act. The town owns the surface rights, but Shattler owns subsurface rights.

A number of disputes in the case have arisen on both sides regarding safety, access, analysis and expertise, and the Supreme Court has stated that those matters will be discussed further when the case proceeds to trial.

Both the Town of Inuvik and Shattler will need to provide witnesses and evidence for a hearing on merits to see if the case can move forward further.

"We want the situation resolved so we know where everyone stands," Hood said.

The town and Shattler have until Oct. 14, 2011, to advise the court when they will be available for a hearing on the merits.

In related news, the Town of Inuvik put forward a resolution to the NWT Association of Communities that the GNWT contact municipalities before allowing mineral claims within their borders. The NWTAC approved the resolution at its annual general meeting in June.

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