Parker Lands developer threatens legal action
The owner of the Parker Lands is accusing Winnipeg’s public service of partly defying a court order to hold hearings on development applications for the site.
And developer Gem
Equities lawyer, Dave Hill, said additional legal action could be taken against the city, if that’s not addressed.
Gem previously won a court order that forces the city to hold hearings on the proposal at the Nov. 13 City Centre Community Committee meeting. Hill said that order dictates the process follow a non-statutory, policy-based approach but said the city instead prepared to consider it through a bylaw process.
Hill said that bylaw process would require a first reading of the plan by council, which creates an additional hurdle.
“The (current city) report ... requires this secondary plan to go through first reading and, if you don’t get first reading, that’s the end,” said Hill.
If the city doesn’t change the approval process before it reaches a full council vote, Hill said he expects his client would fight the process in court.
“It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to recognize that if ... they don’t comply, the victim would go to court,” said Hill.
Gem Equities has long accused the city of deliberately delaying its proposal to develop the Parker Lands into a residential area known as Fulton Grove. The proposed development would add houses, apartments and townhouses to 47 acres of land surrounded by the CNR Rivers railway and the second phase of the Southwest Transitway.
Last month, Gem launched a $30-million lawsuit against the City of Winnipeg and four of its staff, officials it accuses of abusing their power and acting in “bad faith.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Previously, the city has alleged the development plan lacks important details and failed to fulfil a public pledge to protect a forested area on the site, which has since been removed.
In an email Friday, city spokesperson Kalen Qually said the city believes it has “fully complied” with the court order.
Mayor Brian Bowman declined to comment on the proposal itself Friday but stressed he wants to see the land developed.
“It’s obviously important real estate that we can make better use of,” he said.
Bowman said he’d like to see further collaboration between the city and developers, in general, but said the legal battles have complicated that work on this particular land.
“We want to continue to see the city administration work collaboratively with the development community. At the same time, the actions of this particular developer have made that relationship very difficult,” he said.
Andrew Marquess, owner of Gem Equities, left, listens to his lawyer, Dave Hill, speak at a news conference yesterday.