Injunctions and Stays in Municipal Matters

Posted by Johannes Schenk on November 17th, 2006 — Posted in Municipal Law

Kollen v. Vancouver (City), 2006 BCCA 93, deals with the stay of a summary trial decison pending an appeal of the original decisision. The case concerns the forced removal of a large legal non-conforming roof top billboard by the City of Vancouver.

In the original proceding arguments were put forth as to the suitability of the matter for summary trial. The sign owners lost on all points and were orderd to remove the sign.

The sign owners argued that some of the City of Vancouver councillors had relied on improper considerations in voting on the resolution to force the removal of the billboard. The sign owners opposed the summary trial on the basis that they would have to cross-examine the City of Vancouver councillors on the improper considerations and statements made during the resolution hearing process.

The Court held that cross-examination of the councillors would serve no useful purpose because it would not be possible to guage the openess of a person’s mind.

The sign owners appealed the summary judgement and requested a stay of execution of the original proceeding. The Court of Appeal granted the stay on the basis that the sign owners would suffer greater prejudice in the event that the sign was removed than the City of Vancouver would if the sign were allowed to remain in place pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Court appears to have considered that the damage resulting from the removal of the sign would go beyond mere compensable economic damage that could be rectified by a later monetary award.

Fees for Municipal Infrastructure

Posted by Johannes Schenk on November 3rd, 2006 — Posted in Municipal Law

Ridley Bros. Development Co. Ltd. et al. v. City of Colwood, 2006 BCSC 1141 is an interesting case on cost sharing in relation to the construction of muncipal infrastructure. In this case a sewer system.

Here the petitioners had paid the City of Colwood for the construction of a segment of the municipal sewer system. Other developers who later built on adjacent properties were allowed by the City to connect to the already built municipal sewer system for a fee. The issue turned on whether the fee could be used by the City for purposes other than a contribution to the capital costs of the original sewer installation.

Interestingly, the later developers paid a disproportionately high fee for their sewer system connection. Not surprising considering the value of developed property in the Colwood area. The City claimed that the fee was in the nature of a gift. The Court saw through this argument and found that what the City of Colwood had actually done was sell municipal services and infrastructure for a profit. There was no statutory power to accept fees of this nature and the Court declared that all accepted monies be applied to the capital cost of the original muncipal sewer system.