Red Hill Parkway lawsuit has cost all taxpayers more than $5M

The Red Hill Valley Parkway lawsuit between the city and Ottawa has cost the federal government about $2.4 million so far. Combined with the city's legal bill, that means taxpayers have forked over more than $5 million for the lawsuit.
The group Citizens at City Hall, helmed by activist Don McLean, asked MP Chris Charlton to request how much the federal government has spent on the Red Hill Valley Parkway lawsuit with the city. The answer is $2.4 million, which means taxpayers have spent more than $5 million. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The Red Hill Valley Parkway lawsuit between the city and Ottawa has cost the federal government about $2.4 million so far, which means taxpayers have spent more than $5 million on the battle.

As of Dec. 3, the government has spent $2,390,600.61 over the last decade defending itself in a lawsuit with the city. Chris Charlton, MP for Hamilton Mountain, got the dollar figure at the request of the Hamilton group Citizens at City Hall (CATCH).

That means overall, taxpayers have paid $5.3 million into the lawsuit over the highway. The city charges that government bureaucrats acted improperly in applying the Environmental Assessment Act to the highway project, thus delaying construction.

The highway opened in 2007.

The lawsuit is “currently at the oral discovery stage,” says the document from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General. The plaintiff — which is the city — has examined 11 defendants.

CATCH filed a provincial Freedom of Information Act request that prompted city council on Monday to release what it’s spent. That total is $2,665,313 in legal fees to the outside law firm of lawyer David Estrin, a court-ordered cost award of $309,885 and $32,864 in GST.

Coun. Brian McHattie of Ward 1, a known opponent of the highway, cancelled his plan to move on Monday that the city drop the lawsuit.

McHattie dropped the motion, he said, because Estrin advised councillors that dropping the lawsuit would expose the city to paying the federal government’s legal costs.

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