Annapolis Group to Commence Legal Proceedings Against HRM Claiming its Lands Have Been Unfairly Expropriated

HALIFAX, Jan. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Annapolis Group, a Nova Scotia company, today gave notice of its intention to commence legal proceedings against Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), claiming approximately $120 Million in damages.

HRM has effectively expropriated – without compensation – Annapolis' Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lake lands.

On September 6, 2016, HRM finally refused Annapolis' request to initiate secondary planning of the Annapolis lands which had been zoned for development since 2006. Annapolis has no other choice than to take legal action.

"Since HRM is not going to allow us to develop our lands, we are simply asking to receive fair compensation from the municipality for the lands that have been effectively expropriated," said Rob Gillis, Vice Chair of Annapolis Group and President of Thornridge Holdings Limited, the parent company of Annapolis. "We don't want to be in this position, but HRM has given us no other choice."

The claim will include the following allegations:

  • that HRM has on a de facto basis expropriated the Annapolis lands without fair compensation;
  • that HRM has abused its authority for the purposes of harming Annapolis including acting in bad faith and discriminating against Annapolis; and
  • that HRM has been unjustly enriched at the expense of Annapolis.

For the past ten years Annapolis has actively tried to negotiate a fair agreement with HRM, consistently attempting to find a reasonable compromise. Annapolis even took part in a facilitated negotiation with HRM. Unfortunately, HRM intentionally dragged out this process for years, ignored the Facilitator's report and refused to allow Annapolis to proceed with its proposed development.

"By treating businesses unfairly, HRM is jeopardizing future investments in the region, economic prosperity and jobs. The municipality should focus on higher priorities such as jobs, tax revenue, services, and infrastructure," said Rob Gillis.

The rejected development would have provided over 300 acres of parkland and public access to a vast wilderness reserve of over 4,000 acres that is already provincially protected.

Backgrounder

  • Annapolis Group, a Nova Scotia company, currently owns 965 acres of land east of the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Reserve and west of Highway 102.
  • The total land zoned for development is 1,308 acres. The land is adjacent to more than 4,000 acres of provincially-protected wilderness reserve.
  • In 1982, the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities approved the City of Halifax's request to annex Annapolis' lands, among others, on the basis that any development would result in a much greater community relationship between residents and the City.
  • Between 2002 and 2006, HRM's Regional Planning Committee and HRM staff sought public input, prepared goals and objectives, and developed the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy.
  • In 2006, following four years of stakeholder and public consultations, HRM designated the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes lands, which includes Annapolis' lands, in its Regional Municipal Planning Strategy for development under the designations of Urban Settlement and Urban Reserve.
  • Annapolis started working to develop its lands in 2007. HRM delayed making a decision on the proposed development until 2016.
  • Annapolis negotiated with HRM to try to get the development off the ground, including a negotiation with an independent Facilitator.  Annapolis offered a compromise that contained over 300 acres of parkland that would have significantly increased public access to a provincially-protected wilderness reserve of over 4,000 acres. The over 300 acres of parkland would be in addition to and provide buffers for the current wilderness reserve. HRM rejected Annapolis' compromise. 
  • A professional valuator has valued Annapolis' lands at over $119 Million.  
  • Annapolis has a history of building conscientious developments that create homes, communities, jobs and generate tax revenue.

 

SOURCE Annapolis Group

For further information: Jamie MacNeil, Vice President, Nova Scotia, m5 Public Affairs, jmacneil@m5.ca, 902-222-7316 ( c )


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