July 14, 2020

Winnipeg
13° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this
Winnipeg Free Press

ABOVE THE FOLD

Subscribe

Judge dismisses city's Parker land appeal

A judge has ordered the long-beleaguered Parker lands project be brought before the City of Winnipeg’s standing policy committee "without delay."

The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, however, leaves a big question mark hanging over when that might be.

"Many people in Winnipeg are in isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and generally speaking, business is not being conducted as usual," Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Candace Grammond wrote in a 29-page decision released Monday.

"Under normal circumstances, I would have imposed a deadline or a time frame by which the meeting must take place, but it is not appropriate to do so in the current climate."

Andrew Marquess wants to develop the 1,900-unit project on 47 acres west of Pembina Highway and south of CN Rail’s River line.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Andrew Marquess wants to develop the 1,900-unit project on 47 acres west of Pembina Highway and south of CN Rail’s River line.

Last summer, Grammond found Winnipeg and its city centre community committee were in contempt of an earlier order when it failed to properly consider developer Andrew Marquess’ secondary plan for the Fulton Grove project on the Parker lands property during a public meeting the previous fall.

Marquess wants to develop the 1,900-unit project on 47 acres west of Pembina Highway and south of CN Rail’s River line.

In her decision Monday, Grammond rejected a motion by the city to reverse her contempt finding, ruling it had no merit.

"I am not satisfied that I should exercise my discretion to set aside the contempt finding," the judge said. "There are no exceptional circumstances such as compelling new evidence or argument, and there is no other basis upon which to overturn the contempt finding."

Marquess had urged Grammond to fine the city $2.5 million, arguing it had multiple opportunities to "purge" or remedy the contempt, but made no effort to do so.

Fulton Grove is the proposed residential development on the Parker lands by Gem Equities, a development company owned by Marquess.

FULTONGROVE.CA

Fulton Grove is the proposed residential development on the Parker lands by Gem Equities, a development company owned by Marquess.

Grammond ordered the city pay Marquess’ court costs, but declined to impose a fine, ruling taxpayers should not bear the financial burden.

"There is no support in the case law for the amount of the fine requested by the applicants, and this case is not so extraordinary that a precedent should be set," Grammond said. "Taking all factors into account, and in accordance with the case law, I have determined that the respondents need not pay a fine to obtain compliance and to restore the court’s authority."

Marquess’ lawyer, Dave Hill, said he was "somewhat disappointed" in the result.

A "significant fine" would deliver a message to the city’s senior planners "that you can’t just flout or disregard a court order," Hill said.

"(A fine would) tell these planners that you can’t just sit back in your ivory towers and make decisions and advice the city centre community committee to do something a certain way which was totally contrary to the court order."

Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), who chairs the property and development committee, said he believed appealing the original contempt ruling was the right move. Now that the judge has released her decision, it is time to move ahead on the approval process, he said.

"Whenever we’re next meeting... it’s time to get this thing moving… I just feel this has been hanging over the city."

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

Read full biography

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.