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Judge rejects all claims against condo

Ontario Superior Court Justice Glenn Hainey rejected every argument brought to him against the Bay Beach condominium development agreement.

In his 12-page decision handed down Wednesday afternoon, Hainey also ordered the six plaintiffs to pay $135,000 in costs to the Town of Fort Erie and the Molinaro Group.

He did not rule on the defendants’ submission that the plaintiffs don’t have standing to make a claim against the agreement.

“In view of my findings and my dismissal of all of the plaintiffs’ claims, it is not necessary for me to decide this issue,” Hainey wrote.

Buffalo lawyer John James Keenan brought the lawsuit forward on behalf of Norma Nowak, Patricia Murrett, Derek Crane, Orma Bleeks, Linda Campbell and Bob Lund. A seventh, D&L Property Ltd., was originally a plaintiff but seems to have dropped out.

Keenan contended, basically, that the agreement is beyond the power of the municipality to make and that Molinaro would receive land without “due consideration.”

Hainey wrote the contract is within the scope of the Town’s powers under the Municipal Act.

“The arrangement was negotiated by Town staff at the direction of Town council following an extensive planning and public consultation process and was duly authorized by a bylaw that has been upheld by the Ontario Municipal Board.”

“. . . The overall contractual arrangement between the Town and the Molinaro Group cannot be said to be ‘something for nothing’. When the transaction as a whole is examined there are clearly concomitant obligations from both parties and there is no obvious or undue advantage being conferred upon the Molinaro Group by the Town.”

“. . . There is more than adequate consideration passing from the Molinaro Group to the Town for the bylaw amendment and for the transfer of the property. On the evidentiary record before me I find that in addition to the $3,456,000 of community benefits to be provided by the Molinaro Group, the redevelopment project will also have a significant positive impact on the local economy.”

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