Cape Breton Ski Club ordered to pay $30K in court costs over golf club dispute
Costs arose from failed bid in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to stop sale of adjacent golf course
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ordered the Cape Breton Ski Club to pay $30,000 in costs after it failed in its attempts to block the sale of an adjacent golf club in Ben Eoin.
The club filed an injunction to stop the sale of The Lakes Golf Club to the Ben Eoin Development Group in May, and hoped to make its own purchase offer.
Justice Frank Edwards dismissed the case, calling it "frivolous and vexatious."
In a decision released Tuesday, Edwards awarded $20,000 to the golf club and $10,000 to the development group.
The ski club's vice-president, John Ling, said he has no regrets after going to court earlier this year.
"There's always concerns, but personally, we did what we thought we would have to do at the time and we want to just be a successful ski operation. That's all," he said.
Club prepared to pay
Ling said it's not yet clear what the club's own legal costs will total, but he said it will pay its legal bills and is looking forward to a new season on the slopes.
"There's always concerns about paying bills, but we are confident that we will be able to take care of all of our debts that will occur in the future," Ling said.
Edwards said in his decision on costs that technically, he was only ruling on an interlocutory motion for an injunction, not the ski hill's main court action.
"As a practical matter, however, this litigation is effectively over," the judge said. "It is inconceivable that the ski club would choose to continue."
Board decision needed
Ling would not say if the club would carry on with its legal action.
"We will have to discuss that at the board level, but we want to move forward and co-operate with the Ben Eoin Development Group."
The golf course leases its land from the ski hill, and Ling said the ski club has already started discussions with the new golf course owners to work out the use of shared facilities.
What the judge said
The judge noted that the golf club cited legal fees and other costs amounting to nearly $64,000, and the development group requested costs of more than $24,000.
He said the ski club is a non-profit organization, and the general membership had "no say" in the board of director's decision to go to court.
Had the case involved commercial for-profit enterprises, Edwards said he would have awarded higher costs.
Even so, Edwards said the ski club members will have to shoulder the consequences of the actions of the board of directors to some extent.
With files from Tom Ayers