$115,000 OMB award will stand after council decision
By Mike Williscraft
The appeal of an Ontario Municipal Board decision in favour of Jordan’s Greenhouses by the Town of Grimsby has been dropped.
At a special meeting of council held last Thursday afternoon, council went into closed session to discuss an independent third party legal opinion sought in the case, which has been onging for nearly five years.
In mid-February, NewsNow broke the story that the OMB had awarded Jordan Greenhouses Ltd $115,000 relating to a host of serious problems stemming from a sewer contruction project in front of Jordan’s former Main Street West retail shop in spring 2010.
At a council meeting in February, council had opted to seek independent legal advice about a possible appeal of the decsion.
“We decided that after receiving a second legal opinion, there were definite errors and problematic areas in the judgment but it would not be in the best interests of our taxpayers to continue spending more money to launch an appeal,” said Mayor Bob Bentley in an email communication.
Several councillors were asked for a comment on the outcome, but all deferred to the mayor. All Town officials noted additional steps would be taken – a press release issued and the legal opinion posted to the Town’s website – in the near future.
“We are looking to post the legal second opinion on our Town website for all to read and come to their own conclusions,” said Bentley. Nothing was released by press time.
Jeff Jordan, owner/operator of the greenhouse business, said he hopes the Town will not skirt its responsibility for the issues which arose during the ordeal.
“We continue to hope that the town will finally take responsibility instead of avoiding all accountability. The only way there will be change is through open discussion and review of this case,” said Jordan.
Despite the decision by council, Bentley said he believes there were grounds for appeal.
“There definitely were grounds for appeal, however, the way the decision was worded, would make it very expensive and difficult to appeal with success,” said Bentley, noting additional measures will be taken to communicate the Town’s position.
“We will be issuing a press release in the near future as our side has not been told and needs to be for the record as this is a dangerous precedent setting decision for all municipalities.”
Jordan said he will be interested to see the documents, noting he found it odd the legal opinion was formulated with only partial transcripts from last fall’s OMB hearing.
“I am not sure how a balanced third party opinion/report could be written and now possibly published on the town’s website as only partial transcripts/evidence were provided to Weir-Foulds by the Town,” said Jordan, noting he was informed by the OMB as to what portions of the transcripts were requested.
“This would make it very difficult to understand the full evidence that obviously convinced the OMB. The OMB decision is well-reasoned and is fully supported by the evidence. It is what counts. Not some second guessing PR campaign on the town’s website, which is completely disrespectful of the OMB.”
No press release or additional information was available from the Town at press time. Check newsnowniagara.com for updates. Upon release, any new information will be posted there immediately.