Parker Lands de­vel­oper threat­ens le­gal ac­tion

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - JOYANNE PURSAGA jpur­saga@post­ Twit­ter: @pur­sagaw­pg­sun

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.

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