Saturday, December 07, 2019

City of Winnipeg found in contempt of court order over Parker Lands process

As reported in the Winnipeg Sun, the City of Winnipeg and one of its committees has been found in contempt of a court order, due to the way it considered a hotly debated development proposal.

The city could also face financial penalties related to that decision, if a court deems that appropriate.

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The Aug. 6 written decision finds the city and its City Centre Community Committee are in contempt of the order because they considered a proposal to develop the Parker Lands through a bylaw process, instead of the policy-based one she had previously ordered them to follow.

The decision also states that the Nov. 13, 2018 community committee’s rejection of the development proposal is now “set aside” so the matter can be considered again.

Lawyer Dave Hill, who represents developer Gem Equities in the matter, welcomed the decision on Thursday.

“The significance of the decision is that no one’s above the law, no one can flout the law, not even the senior administrators at the City of Winnipeg and not even a committee of the City of Winnipeg. Basically, when a judge makes an order, it has to be obeyed,” said Hill.

Hill has long argued the bylaw process created an additional hurdle because it required a first reading of the plan by council that a policy process would not require.

The lawyer said the contempt finding appears relatively rare, since his own research turned up just two previous cases where a Canadian municipality was found in contempt of court. Hill said his clients would like to see the development considered again by the community committee in September.

Keep reading in the Winnipeg Sun

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