The City of Windsor expropriated the owner’s land for use as a casino. The owner sought to quash the expropriation by arguing that casinos were illegal at the time and it was thus improper for the City to expropriate for that use. The owner also argued that the proposed use did not comply with the “redevelopment” provisions of the Planning Act, or with the applicable City by-law.
BLG defended the City and convinced the Divisional Court that the City’s proposed use of the land was consistent with its stated objectives, and that the use was legitimate. The City’s by-law had envisioned that the area would accommodate “commercial uses other than those that serve a neighbourhood function.” BLG argued that this language was broad enough to accommodate the casino uses proposed by the City. The Court agreed.
The Court also held that the owner could no longer challenge the legality of the casino use because the expropriation had already been approved following a “hearing of necessity.” The owners appealed on seven different grounds, but the Court of Appeal found that the use would be legal and it affirmed the lower court’s decision.
Stephen Waqué, Frank Sperduti and Sean Gosnell are partners at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and members of BLG’s EMER Group (Environmental, Municipal, Expropriation, and Regulatory Law). For more information on any of these professionals, please visit: www.blg.com.