Developer files lawsuit against federal government

The B.C. Supreme Court civil claim seeks host of damages

Carhoun and Sons Enterprises Ltd. (CSE) is taking the federal government to court over a lengthy delay in plans to develop about 33 acres at the corner of Lougheed Highway and Wren Street.

The civil claim, which seeks general, special, punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages, plus interest, was filed in B.C. Supreme Court last Friday.

It took the company nearly three years to receive the necessary environmental approvals to proceed with the project, which has forced CSE to put the property up in a court-ordered sale.

CSE says in the claim that the delays were excessive, unreasonable and unlawful, and accuses Fisheries and Oceans Canada (FOC) of exhibiting bias, bad faith, and malfeasance which adversely impacted the financial position of CSE as well as its associated companies and shareholders.

CSE began acquiring property in the area in 1987 and by 2009, owned six contiguous parcels, totalling 33.48 acres. The company’s intentions to build a large commercial development in the area was supported by the municipality, but needed environmental approval because two ravines, which were created by storm water discharge from the district, are on the property.

Because the ravines had to be filled, environmental assessments had to be undertaken and approvals from FOC obtained.

CSE began the process in 2009 and received FOC approval in 2012. The document filed in court gives examples of delays and notes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act screening, which on average took 88.7 days to complete in the years 2004, 2005, and 2006, took 546 days for the CSE file.

The defendant has 21 days to file a response in court. None of the allegations have been proven in court.