$1.5 million and counting to defend waterfront master plan at OMB
By the end of the year, Brantford is expected to have paid about $1.5 million in legal and planning costs to defend Brantford’s waterfront master plan at an ongoing Ontario Municipal Board hearing into development in the Hardy Road area.
To date, the city has incurred $939,000 in costs, draining the waterfront master plan reserve fund, which since 2010 has received $350,000 in casino money every year.
The city must dip into its reserve contingency fund to cover a projected 2012 shortfall of $543,000.
The 2013 contribution of $350,000 to the reserve fund will pay for roughly six weeks of litigation, said city treasurer Cathy Brubacher.
As the hearing is expected to last at least until March 14, additional funds would have to be found to have lawyer Ian Lord and his team continue to defend the city’s case.
Brubacher warned that the contingency fund could not be counted on to cover future legal costs, as the remaining balance is needed in case the city does not eliminate its 2012 deficit.
“At the point in time that the (Waterfront Master Plan) reserve is depleted, a further long-term view of the financing of this litigation will be required and it may prove to be an impact on the operating budget,” Brubacher wrote in a report on the issue.
The OMB hearing pits the city against developers, including Sifton Properties Ltd. and Grandview Ravines Inc., who plan to build a
combined total of 1,200 homes in the city’s northwest.