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City Loses Court Battle With Earls, Judge Said They Delayed The Process

In yet another legal setback, the City of Winnipeg grapples with mounting challenges, raising critical questions about the urgent need for substantial reforms within the Property and Development department.

The recent blow struck on Oct. 27, by Court of King’s Bench Justice Vic Toews reverberates deeply. He ruled that the city has been delaying the sale of a Main Street property, marking a significant victory for Earls Holdings (Main Street) Ltd. This property, a source of contention since its 2012 sale to developer OGGI Investments Ltd., has become the latest battleground in a string of costly lawsuits afflicting our city.

Despite a clause in the initial agreement allowing the city to repurchase the land for its original price of $690,000, the court declared the agreement null and void. Justice Toews stated that the city’s failure to demonstrate readiness and willingness to claim the property promptly had caused years of delay, hindering the development of the downtown area.

The ruling allows Earls Holdings to proceed with the sale of the property, enabling them to invest in a new restaurant venture within Winnipeg.

This ruling adds to a previous ruling finding the city at fault and awarding millions of dollars to the developer of Parker Lands. Let’s not forget the newest multi-million-dollar suit filed against the city regarding the St. James Civic Centre by a contractor involved in the project. These legal challenges spotlight a troubling pattern of neglect in our local government’s resource management.

The financial toll of these legal battles is staggering. Funds intended for essential services like infrastructure, public safety, community programming, and water and waste facilities are funnelled into legal fees, settlements, and court expenses. Every citizen bears the burden of this financial strain. This pressing issue demands accountability from our elected representatives, including Mayor Scott Gillingham and city council members.

These lawsuits tarnish our city’s reputation extensively. Ongoing legal conflicts portray us as disorganized and unreliable, dissuading potential investors and residents and impeding our capacity to attract opportunities vital for our local economy. Winnipeg deserves leaders capable of upholding a positive image and fostering an environment conducive to growth and prosperity.

This article was published by the Winnipeg Sun Thursday, November 1, 2023.


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