Legal Wit — Moving the Goalposts

Legal Wit — Moving the Goalposts
It is difficult to overstate the degree of the applicants' frustration at the never-ending movement of the target that the [Rural Municipality] set for them with respect to the acquisition of the highly coveted building permit that they were seeking. Every time the applicants asked about the building permit or their progress in obtaining one, they received a bewildering array of contradictory responses.

After receiving initial positive responses that the building permit application would be simple and their proposal was "ideal" the applicants can hardly be blamed for being shocked when the requirements moved from the simple installation of a culvert to the need for a variance on a parcel under twenty acres and then finally to an eighty acre minimum requirement. After things could not seemingly get worse they received a letter from legal counsel for the [Rural Municipality] which, as stated earlier, made reference to a different parcel of land and was clearly issued in error.

The applicant's perception that the [Rural Municipality] and the [district] seemed to be making up the building permit rules as they went along is entirely reasonable in the circumstances. The evidentiary record is replete with the ever-changing positions and responses issued by persons of authority at the [Rural Municipality] and the [district]. It is beyond doubt that the left hand of government had no idea what the right hand was doing when it came to the rules pertaining to the issuance of building permits in the [Rural Municipality].

Bourgouin v. Rosser (Rural Municipality )  (Westlaw Canada)
2013 CarswellMan 488   (westlaw Canada)
Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench
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