City of Winnipeg found in contempt of judicial order
The City of Winnipeg has been found in contempt of a judicial order, and Justice Candace Grammond has taken the relatively rare step of setting aside a committee decision.
It all centers around a dispute over the Fulton Grove development in the Parker Lands.
In 2018, city planners said the project lacked details and told councilors not to consider it, but the court ordered them to.
In November of 2018, the City Centre Community Committee met, and denied a rezoning application.
In a ruling dated August 6th of this year, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Candace Grammond ordered the decisions of the committee be set aside.
"It's nice to see that no one’s above the law," said Dave Hill, the lawyer representing the developers.
The Fulton Grove project will build hundreds of housing units on 47 acres along the South Winnipeg BRT line.
In her ruling Justice Grammond wrote:
"The respondents neither complied with the letter and the spirit of the order nor exercised every diligence in their approach to the secondary plan application. They cannot now finesse their actions or hide behind a restrictive interpretation of the order."
"It's not what we expected," said Michael Jack, the City of Winnipeg Chief Corporate Services Officer.
"We were obviously proceeding administratively as we thought was most appropriate and most legal."
Michael Jack says the city's legal department is looking closely at the ruling to see if there are grounds for appeal.
Still, he said it's open to meeting with the developer, and wants to get back to the table.
"We'd like to see the Parker Lands developed," said Jack.
“We're hopeful the city will rethink their position, and grant this development and let it go through," said Dave Hill. "Because it's truly a transit ordered development."
In her ruling, Justice Grammond did not prohibit the committee from conducting business until the contempt is purged by redoing the meeting properly.
No specific time frame has been set up to so.