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City of Winnipeg appeals court decision that awarded Parker lands developer $5M

The City of Winnipeg is appealing a court decision that found two planning officials deliberately slowed the progress of a residential development in Fort Garry.

In July, Court of King’s Bench Justice Shauna McCarthy ruled that former chief Winnipeg planner Braden Smith and senior city planner Michael Robinson were “liable for misfeasance in public office.”

They took actions that stymied efforts by developer Andrew Marquess to build approximately 1,900 homes, condos and apartments in an area known as the Parker lands, McCarthy’s decision said.

The judge also found the city liable for the planners’ actions and awarded Marquess $5 million.

In a document filed Thursday, city solicitor Doug Brown asks Manitoba’s Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment, arguing McCarthy erred in finding the city liable, misunderstood how the city’s development process works and awarded damages that are “inordinately and unjustifiably high.”

Brown also argues McCarthy did not take into account other reasons for a delay in the Parker development, including the city’s expropriation of land for the second phase of the Southwest Transitway corridor and what he described as the developer’s failure to hold public engagement sessions about his plans to build housing.

A map showing the location of the Parker lands.
The City of Winnipeg has appealed a judge’s decision that two of its planners slowed the development of the Parker lands. (CBC News Graphics)

David Hill, Marquess’s lawyer, said he was disappointed by the appeal.

“I hope it’s not just a delay tactic,” he said.

Hill also said he found it interesting the city claimed the damages are too high.

“We were asking in court for $17 million. Five million dollars is a lot of money, but’s it’s less than a third of what we wanted,” he said.

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