City of St. John's speaks on Danny Williams court action, mayor stands by regulations

The mayor of St. John's is defending his council and staff in the face of court action from one of the most well-known men in the province.

Mayor Danny Breen said Galway development is important but taxpayers come first

St. John's Mayor Danny Breen addresses the legal action filed by Danny Williams following the Monday meeting of council. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The mayor of St. John's is defending his council and staff in the face of court action from one of the most well-known men in the province. 

Danny Breen spoke to the CBC following Monday's weekly council meeting about the dispute.

"The issue of the development agreements is being discussed in the court action," he said. "The development agreements are an important part of the regulatory regime that the city has."

Former premier, and current Galway developer, Danny Williams filed an application with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, claiming the city of St. John's has "exceeded its authority" by withholding additional building permits.

Danny Williams, right, and his lawyer Jerome Kennedy will have to wait until December to have their day in court. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

In an interview with the CBC earlier this month, Williams said he was being targeted unfairly

"We have to go to court and try and break this impasse, which is something I reluctantly do," he said.

"I mean, you know, we can't fight city hall — they control the future and everything else — but I got no choice."

Williams says too much red tape 

The City of St. John's requires development agreements prior to construction. But Williams insists other high-profile projects like Hebron Way and Kelsey Drive weren't held to that same rule. 

Williams said city staff members are demanding 16 development agreements for the first phase of Galway alone, and Access to Information requests filed by Williams have produced only 14 similar agreements for the whole city over 30 years.

Former Premier Danny Williams (left) and PC candidate Danny Breen campaign together in the 2014 Virginia Waters byelection. (CBC)

Not too long ago Danny Williams hit the campaign trail with Danny Breen, with the latter Danny seeking to win the PC's a seat in the 2014 Virginia Waters byelection. 

Breen said he, like many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, supported Williams when he was premier. 

"My responsibility is to the citizens of St. John's and to ensure that we have a proper regulatory environment for development and that the interests of the residents of the city are protected," Breen said. 

Despite the legal action, Breen insists that the Galway development is very important to the city. 

"It's a major development," he said. "One that is very significant and one that we need to make sure that we get moving and that it's successful. We also have to make sure that it's done according to our regulations."

The matter is scheduled to be back in court on Dec. 19.