Group of Dundas Place businesses look into legal options over construction disruptions

While many business owners have suggested Dundas Place will be worth it in the long run, a handful are beginning to look at legal options for recuperating losses due to disruption.

The lengthy construction was divided into two phases — from Talbot to Richmond last year and Richmond to Wellington this year — and involves transforming the street to allow it to be easily converted to a pedestrian-only area for festivals as well as upgrading aging infrastructure.

Laura Glithero, a partner at Cohen Highley LLP, confirmed she’s in talks with about six businesses to look at whether or not they have a case under the province’s Expropriations Act.

“When government actors engage in construction or public works that are for the public good, these might have substantial and unreasonable interferences with property owners that are adjacent to that construction,” she explained.

“The government has provided a mechanism called Injurious Affection, but essentially it’s a claim for the nuisance.”

Glittero says after being approached by a handful of business owners, the law firm sent a letter to other businesses along Dundas Place.

“Phase II is still ongoing so those businesses won’t really know the full impact of the construction until it’s complete. For businesses that were impacted by Phase I, there is a one-year limitation period under the Expropriations Act to give notice to the city.”

In an email to 980 CFPL, the city says it was “aware of the letter” but that “[b]ecause it references potential claims against the City, we wouldn’t comment on it.”

However, the city’s manager of downtown projects and business relations, Jim Yanchula, stressed that the city took extensive measures to “engage and assist Dundas Place businesses throughout this process” including, but not limited to:

  • meeting with business and property owners “to troubleshoot issues and offer solutions”
  • maintaining pedestrian access to open businesses
  • posting updated pedestrian maps at key entrances to the construction area
  • providing short-term parking in a municipal lot accessible from Queens Ave to make up for the loss of street parking
  • placing “open-for-business” banners on construction fences and the Wellington Street railway overpass
  • working with Downtown London to create radio ads encouraging visits to the core
  • scheduling service disruptions at times that would provide the least impact to businesses

Yanchula added that many measures were put in place “at the request of businesses and other property owners.”

No legal action has been taken at this time.

Construction on Phase II of Dundas Place is expected to wrap up in winter of 2019.

Source: Read Full Article