Landowner seeks compensation for Cornwall bypass expropriation

Brian and Dora MacKinley of Cornwall want a judge to decide what's fair compensation for farm land expropriated from them by the province.

Province says the court action is 'non-adversarial'

Construction on the latest phase of the Cornwall bypass began in the fall of 2017 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

A Cornwall couple wants a judge to decide how much the province should pay for farm land expropriated from them to make way for the Cornwall bypass.

Brian and Dora MacKinley filed the request Monday in Charlottetown Supreme Court. They're seeking more than double the $134,100 paid to them by the province for eight hectares (21 acres) of land on Cornwall Road.

The property, expropriated in October of last year, was part of a larger parcel of farm land still owned by the MacKinleys, according to court documents. In March, they filed notice that they intended to seek further compensation from the Department of Transportation, as allowed under the Expropriation Act.

This file photo shows a section of Brian and Dora MacKinley's farmland in Cornwall that was expropriated by the P.E.I. government. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The Cornwall couple contends that the appraisal for the eight-hectare parcel should have been higher. They also want the province to build an access road for farm equipment to get to their remaining land, and to perform any environmental work needed to repair damage.

Documents filed in court cite a third-party appraisal that places total cost to the MacKinleys for the loss of their land at $340,664. This includes loss of income from renting the land to other farmers, and the loss of a potential building lot on the Cornwall Road.

 The province tells CBC News that court action is "non-adversarial."

The province and the landowners have reached a negotiated settlement, which will be reviewed by a judge, according to Brian Thompson, director of environmental management at the Department of Transportation.

"We agreed to go to court to have an independent review to ensure it's fair and transparent," said Thompson.

When reached by phone Wednesday, Dora MacKinley declined to discuss the matter.

"It's up to the courts and the lawyers," she said.  

The MacKinley property is located across the road from another parcel obtained by the province that was the subject of a court battle. In that case, the courts awarded more money to the land owner.

A hearing on the MacKinley case is slated for Friday in Charlottetown Supreme Court.

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