FOCA Presents Road Issues
FOCA puts out a regular publication called Report to the FOCA Membership. One of the mandates of the Minnicock Newsletter is to present material from these reports. Road concerns generate a lot of requests to FOCA for clarification. The Summer 1999 issue highlights roads and liability.
- If one person maintains a road then he/she is liable.
- If a few people maintain a road, each one of them is liable.
- If an unincorporated organization maintains a road, each of its members is liable.
- If an incorporated organization maintains a road, the organization is liable.
Not contributing to the maintenance of a road when this is an expected part of access does not absolve one from liability. One cottage association won a court case against a cottager who refused to contribute to the building and maintenance of a road. The judge decided this was a case of ‘undue enrichment". See page 144 of the September/October issue of Cottage Life. FOCA recommends that associations purchase liability insurance through FOCA recommended sources or from other agents.
A letter to Don Payne, chair of the Roads Advisory Group of FOCA sought clarification on what protection was afforded by posting a sign with wording such as “Unassumed private road. Use at your own risk.” Payne replied that businesses and municipalities post these signs as reminders but are covered by liability. His advice is for associations to purchase liability insurance or have a locked gate on private roads.