Downtown business Nova Centre compensation fight heats up
Notices of negotiations under the Expropriation Act were served Monday
Seven downtown Halifax businesses are taking the next step in their quest to be compensated for money they say they've lost because of the ongoing construction of the Nova Centre.
On Monday, the three levels of government and the developer behind the project were served with notices of negotiations under the Expropriation Act.
"It's an invitation to the defendants, one or all of them, to sit down and try to come to a reasonable conclusion and resolution of addressing the problems that have been faced by these merchants," said Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner.
Possible UARB involvement
Wagner's law firm is representing Attica, Biscuit General Store, the Carleton, the Economy Shoe Shop, Indochine, Drala Books & Gifts and the Wooden Monkey.
Wagner said the only thing he's heard from any of the defendants is they're not responsible for the activities at the Nova Centre.
"We disagree with that and, if they maintain that position, it's going to be up to the Utility and Review Board to settle that issue," he said.
Wagner said he hopes the matter can be negotiated, instead of going to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
Does expropriation apply?
Wagner said if the defendants decline to negotiate he will ask the board to determine if expropriation applies in these circumstances.
Wagner said there are two kinds of events or circumstances where the act applies.
"One is where you actually take a part of somebody's land and leave them with the remaining part or you can take all your land. There is a mechanism within that to compensate people for the loss of their land or the impact of injurious affection this had upon the remaining piece of land," he said.
The second part applies to when construction is happening.
Higher compensation claims
"It's our position certainly the provincial government and the city have been partners with Rank in construction of the convention centre, more so than responsibilities to regulate bylaws and to approve plans. This is much greater than that," he said.
Wagner cautioned that the longer the matter drags on, the compensation claims his clients will be seeking "will be significantly larger than they are at this time."
A spokesperson for the municipality told CBC News their position is the same as before: that the claim of injurious affection against the municipality under the Expropriation Act has no basis.
Calls to Rank were not immediately returned.
'Getting worse and worse'
Victor Syperek, owner of the Economy Shoe Shop, said while dust and noise has "improved somewhat," construction seems to be "amazingly slow."
The Nova Centre is directly in front of his restaurant.
"It's slowly been getting worse and worse. I don't know if it's any worse this summer than last year, but it's certainly not better. It's the worst in 22 years of being on the street. It's never been this bad," said Syperek, who estimated business is "down by the millions."
Syperek said with the municipality collecting money for the construction work encroaching on the street, the businesses losing out should be compensated.
"I think they should be a little bit sympathetic towards the losses we've incurred," said Syperek.