Supreme Court of Canada clears way for developer's lawsuit against HRM
Annapolis Group launched lawsuit against municipality in 2017
A Nova Scotia developer has won the right to take a land dispute with the Halifax Regional Municipality to court.
A 5-4 ruling Friday by the Supreme Court of Canada opens the door to a $119-million lawsuit launched by the Annapolis Group against the city.
The dispute is over a 390-hectare block of land in the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes area, west of Halifax.
The Annapolis Group has been trying for several years to develop the property, but the city has refused to give its approval. That prompted the company to launch its lawsuit in 2017.
However, the city was successful in persuading Nova Scotia courts to reject the lawsuit on grounds there was no realistic prospect of it succeeding.
The argument centred on whether, by refusing to permit development, the city had effectively expropriated the land. Lawyers for the city had argued that it did not gain anything from its development decision so it could not be considered an expropriation.
The company had countered by saying that the city was denying Annapolis Group the full use of its land while it considered whether to put a park in the area.
"This disputed fact is material because, if proven, it may arguably support Annapolis' claim that it has lost all reasonable uses of its property," the Supreme Court noted in its decision.
"This would leave Annapolis to shoulder the burden of holding the Lands as a public park indefinitely, while Halifax enjoys the advantage of having the Lands reserved for its own purposes without having to pay compensation."
Robert Gillis, company vice-chair, applauded the ruling.
"We look forward to the trial of our claim, which will be focused on HRM's frustration of this vital residential development in a housing market where adequate supply is not available," Gillis said in a statement.
HRM issued a statement on the decision later Friday.
"While disappointed with the Court's split decision today, the municipality's position that Annapolis Group has no reasonable likelihood of success at trial has not changed," said spokesperson Ryan Nearing.
- Transit Cape Breton can't deal with soaring number of bus passengers, leaves riders stranded on the street
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?