Warm, spring days may still be at least another month away, but the City is opening the first salvo in what's sure to be another year in the contentious debate about the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
Now I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but this press release was sent to me while I, and numerous other media outlets, were focused on the Farbridge re-election announcement. (Not a big deal for, say, The Mercury, but I'm a one man show.) Anyway, I'll let the press release be read first, and then comment:
City and Belmont Equity take next step in legal action relating to Hanlon Creek Business Park Claim to protect taxpayers from costs 24-Feb-10
GUELPH, ON, February 24, 2010 – As part of the ongoing legal action relating to the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) occupation that took place last summer, the City of Guelph and Belmont Equity have served former occupants of the site with a statement of claim which includes damages in the amount of $5 million. During the occupation, the City obtained an injunction which prevents people from trespassing and interfering with business park construction. Service of the statement of claim is part of the legal process that is necessary for cases involving injunctions.
The claim is intended to ensure that the actual cost of damages incurred to date and potential future damages resulting from protestor activity can be recovered so the business park can move forward without further cost to taxpayers. The City and Belmont Equity are hopeful damages will not reach $5 million.
The City and Belmont Equity are not seeking punitive damages as part of the claim, but hope to recover the actual cost of damages, including damages to the site, resulting from protestor activities, and costs relating to the loss of monitoring equipment. The full extent of damages incurred to date and which may be incurred in the future is not known at this time.
The City and Belmont Equity’s statement of claim alleges conspiracy, interference with economic relations, inducement of breach of contract, trespass, nuisance and intimidation.
So the City of Guelph and Belmont Equity thinks it's going to get $5 million, in Canadian dollars, out of the people that occupied the HCBP last summer? I hope this more deterrent than actual legal action because I can't foresee a lot of those guys having huge depositories filled with gold that they dive into and swim around in a la Scrooge McDuck. Bottom line though, this is probably not the best way to chill the indemnity between the two sides in this debate.