Water Boundary Questions

Many people wonder about the extent of their ownership of land abutting a body of water such as Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, the Red River or the Assiniboine River.

These boundaries are in some cases referred to as riparian boundaries. They can be fixed or ambulatory (move with the edge of the water).

Questions usually arise when a municipality or government agency tells a landowner to remove a building or other improvement near the water boundary or when a landowner is applying for building permits. People also wonder about the rights they have to access the water and make use of the water, and what rights others have to the use of beach areas in front of the water.

Unfortunately there is no shortage of bad information out there from sometimes well intentioned people trying to exert their “opinion” about what is correct. Speaking from experience, the best advice is to gather all the relevant current and historical information to best determine both the extent of the ownership and the rights a landowner has in a parcel of land adjoining a body of water.

In the case of Lake Winnipeg, many parcels have varying rights and in some cases land parcels in one area have different extents and rights to similar land parcels in the same area.

Speaking from experience, the best advice is to gather all the relevant current and historical information to best determine both the extent of the ownership and the rights a landowner has in a parcel of land adjoining a body of water.


Lake Winnipeg Dike

Many people have had questions about what to do about the dyke in front of their houses and cottages along Lake Winnipeg. This dyke was meant to protect cottage owners and surrounding areas from flooding that fortunately never culminated.

The dyke however blocked vistas and changed the nature of how people enjoy their land and has raised questions about the consequences of removing all or sections of the dyke.

In all cases it is best to consult an expert. If you have any questions, please contact us.