Meadowbrook-CSL case on way to Quebec Court of Appeal

The Quebec Court of Appeal has granted the owner of the Meadowbrook Golf Course — Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific — and a promoter permission to appeal a Quebec Superior Court judgment that reduced the amount of damages it was claiming from the City of Côte St. Luc.

Groupe Pacific asked for permission to appeal May 8, and that permission was granted in a July 30 Quebec Court of Appeal ruling. The appeal hearing is set to take place Nov. 27.

As reported earlier this year, landowner’s Groupe Pacific changed its claim against Côte St. Luc from $20 million to $32 million — $19 million of which was to force the city to basically buy the part of the land in its territory — Meadowbrook is also located in Lachine and a small part of Montreal West.

As part of its revised lawsuit, the company argued that Côte St. Luc had conducted a “disguised expropriation” of the site when it passed a bylaw changing the zoning from residential to recreational and commercial in 2000, thus preventing development for housing. Developers have sought to develop the course for housing for more than 25 years.

The remaining $12 million — reduced by the Superior Court from the original $20 million — is for damages, the developer and promoter’s claimed loss of profits for the time the land could not be developed.

But a Quebec Superior Court ruling found that the revised case was a “new recourse” not allowed by the Code of Procedure, and did not allow the company to pursue the $19 million claim.

The court also found Groupe Pacific to be the cause of the original lawsuit being in limbo for some 13 years.

Councillor Dida Berku, in a phone interview, pointed out to The Suburban that the aspect of the developer’s lawsuit involving the $19 million transfer of the land to Côte St. Luc is no longer a part of the case.

“Now, [the developer and promoter] want the right to sue for more than the $12 million in damages,” she pointed out. “The city could agree to allow the developer and promoter to sue for more or the court could decide that.”

Berku said the fundamental issues are whether Côte St. Luc’s original 2000 bylaw change for the land from residential to recreational and commercial was fair and legal, whether damages should be awarded and if the suit can be for more than $12 million.

“Whether or not they’re entitled to claim more than $12 million, it doesn’t change our defense,” the councillor added. “We still claim the bylaw is legal and that they suffered no damages. If the bylaw would be declared illegal, they would go back to the original zoning and have the right to build. But had they [pursued a case to declare the bylaw illegal] within a reasonable delay, it would have been done in 2002, and they could have had the right to build and wouldn’t have incurred damages. The damages they’re claiming are the result of their unreasonable delay and the time lapse. They allowed 15 years to lapse and the case to drag on.”

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