A dispute between the city of St. John's and a land owner developing property in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's is heading to court.

Normally, the city has no business telling developers what they can or cannot do in other jurisdictions.

But the city ordered the development stopped as the land falls within the watershed of nearby Windsor Lake, from which St. John's draws its drinking water. 

The town and the city have an agreement which determines what is officially in the Windsor Lake watershed and what is not.


The land developer has a permit from the town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's to put up two houses on large, one-acre lots.

Town manager Chris Milley said according to the town's information — the disputed property is not — so they had no grounds to refuse the developer a permit.

Clearing of the one-acre lots began about three weeks ago.

Since the developer ignored the order and continued to clear and level the property, the city has asked the courts to intervene and issue a stop work order.

A Supreme Court judge will deal with the city's request for the order on Thursday.

Neither the developer nor city officials are commenting.