Ottawa whistleblower wins battle against developer

The man who blew the whistle on a development plan in the city's west end has won another battle in his long fight with developers.

City water resources engineer worried about development along Carp River flood plain

Engineer who blew the whistle on a flawed development plan won't have to pay full legal costs in fight with developer. 2:15

The man who blew the whistle on a development plan in the city's west end has won another battle in his long fight with developers.

Ted Cooper, a water resources engineer for the city, says it's unfair for a developer to be seeking $69,000 in legal costs after Cooper filed appeals about a Carp redevelopment project. (CBC)

Ted Cooper is a water resources engineer for the City of Ottawa, but as a citizen, Cooper has complained to authorities several times about what he calls faulty development designs on the flood plains of the Carp River.

"But this time the developer fought back," Cooper said.

Kanata West is a 700-hectare project near Scotiabank Place.

Warned city about problems, taken off project

After studying initial plans, Cooper warned the city about the potential for severe flooding in the future, and he was eventually taken off the project.

It took years, but eventually the city acknowledged there were problems in the modelling for the project. Cooper said that happened in 2008.

"Mayor O'Brien called me into his office to thank me," Cooper said. "He said that employees like myself should be embraced.

"Now this leaves me awful confused about participating in land use decisions. When I have the mayor, who's thanking me for participating in standing up for what might be looked at as being the public interest."

Cooper said he continued to file appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board outlining the project's flood risks.

Richcraft is one of the developers. The company has called Cooper's repeated actions unreasonable.

Richcraft tried to recover $69K in legal costs

During a hearing held Wednesday, Richcraft tried to recover $69,000 from Cooper. Richcraft said the money would cover legal costs for one of Cooper's failed OMB appeals.

"It is somewhat unusual, but this is an appellant that has shown a considerable amount of interest in Kanata West Lands … and has consistently appealed other applications, so there was an interest on Richcraft's part to seek costs," said Miguel Tremblay, a planner contracted by Richcraft.

On Thursday, Ontario Municipal Board adjudicator Marc Denhez ruled that Cooper will not have to pay Richcraft the full $69,000. He plans a written decision in the weeks to come.

Cooper said the current plan will still lead to flooding, and he isn't giving up.

"Really I find it quite heavy handed," Cooper said. "They've tried to make me uncomfortable, and I don't really think it's fair."