The Kamloops Land Title Office will not close nor decrease staff when it moves from its current location in the courthouse to new office space downtown, BC Land Title and Survey Authority’s (LTSA) president and CEO has told the city.
Connie Fair, in a letter to Mayor Ken Christian following a meeting on May 24, also stated plans to move were made to improve the work environment for staff.
Council requested a meeting with Fair in light of news the LTSA planned to move documents from its Kamloops office to Victoria. Kamloops North and South Thompson MLAs brought attention to the issue and Coun. Mike O’Reilly took up the cause through council and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
O’Reilly concerns were with the dozen registry agents who rely on original documents for work, a lack of consultation with First Nations and previous renovations made to the local office that protect the documents.
Then came word of the move, which LTSA appears to be saying is a non-issue.
In her letter, Fair said $590,000 worth of renovations to the Kamloops office in 2012 and 2013 were made to downsize space and upgrade storage, with the primary driver being the reduction unnecessary space and cost savings.
“In the six years since the change, the LTSA has more than recovered the renovation investment through savings in lease costs,” the letter states. “While the current facility in the Kamloops Land Title Office does include some features to protect documents, it was not purpose-built to protect documents and does not contain a laboratory with onsite conservators to preserve documents.”
Meanwhile, Fair said the Victoria location is “purpose-built, climate-controlled space with fire suppression technology and protection against potential water damage and includes a laboratory with onsite conservators.”
The LTSA maintains most customers access hardcopy records via a so-called “scan on demand service,” which provides scanned copies of documents. A dozen registry agents access physical records in the Kamloops location, with $30,000 collected from them between March 31, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
In the future, Fair said, the records can be accessed digitally.
“Once the relocation of the historic records is complete, these same people will continue to have access to the records in digital format,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, the LTSA is currently meeting with First Nations. Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band Chief Michael LeBourdais had launched legal action to stop movement of the documents. Fair said in the letter that the LTSA will discuss with First Nations its program for preserving and digitizing historical records.
“The long-term plan is to digitize all LTSA paper records and thus improve the accessibility of all historic records,” the letter states.
LTSA goes digital:
• Average Land Title turnaround times: 37 days in 2003, 4 days in 2019
• Per cent of applications e-filed: 13 per cent in 2004, 94.5 per cent in 2019
• Per cent of applications auto-examined: zero per cent in 2011, 51 per cent in 2019
• Per cent of survey plans e-filed: zero per cent in 2007, 100 per cent in 2019
• Average processing time for applications to surveyor general: 32 days in 2005, 5.5 days in 2019