News
Mark Rendell

Granite Takes City to Court

Developers will appeal decision not to award upwards of $160,000 in damages.

The developer that claimed upwards of $160,000 in damages against the City in December is now taking the issue to court following City Council’s refusal to award the claim.

Granite Ventures, which recently finished building Granite Condos on Franklin Ave., had argued before a development appeals board consisting of City Council, that moves taken by City staff had cost the company a significant amount in extra expenditures and lost revenue. The issue arose after a fire next door to Granite Condos in November led to Do Not Occupy and Fire Watch Orders on the largely finished and partially occupied condo building, which at the time still lacked siding.

In late January, the City released its decision, arguing that “neither the Building By-law, nor the Cities, Towns and Villages Act gives Council the authority to award financial damages to an Appellant.” And further, the issue was moot because the City did not have the legal authority to do anything about the Do Not Occupy and Fire Watch Orders, as both had already been removed by the time of the hearing.

Granite, which is owned in part by Coun. Niels Konge, who had to recuse himself from the December hearing, is now asking an NWT Supreme Court judge to overturn this decision. The company’s lawyers will argue that, “Council failed to observe the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice by deciding the appeal… on the basis of grounds not argued by the parties,” according to the originating notice filed yesterday. And that “Council’s conclusion that it lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal of the Applicant with respect to the Do Not Occupy and Fire Watch Orders constitutes an error in law and an unreasonable interpretation of… the “Building Bylaw”… [and] the Cities, Towns and Villages Act.”

“This appeal raises important issues for any contractor or resident in Yellowknife who deals with the City and may find themselves subject to an order made by City staff,” said Granite director Greg Littlefare, in a press release. “Under the decision made by Council in the Granite Ventures appeal, Council may only hear appeals from orders still in effect on the date the appeal is heard. Since the process of appealing an order to Council is a lengthy one, this decision allows City staff to make decisions that have a significant impact on individuals or businesses and then avoid Council review by pulling the order immediately before the appeal is heard.”

The company’s lawyers will be in court on Feb. 26 to begin the appeal.