South Dundas grain terminal opponents ordered to pay $121K

In this May 5, 2015, file photo, the UTI property on Lakeshore Drive in South Dundas sits vacant awaiting a grain terminal project (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SOUTH DUNDAS – Two South Dundas men, who challenged the building permit for a grain storage facility on Lakeshore Drive in South Dundas, have been ordered to pay just over $121,000 in legal costs.

This, after the court ruled in January that a building permit for a ten acre piece of land on the north side of County Road 4, across from the UTI deep water port, was valid.

Morrisburg Dock Expansion Inc. has proposed to build two, 20,000 metric ton bins or silos for grain as part of a new terminal.

In his June 28, 2016 ruling on legal costs, Judge Ronald Laliberte wrote that South Dundas residents Charles Crober and Christopher Rowntree did not meet the high threshold of public interest litigants.

Laliberte believes the concerns raised by both men were personal “by reason of their proximity to the proposed project.”

“There is no question that the Applicants’ conduct, through counsel, was, at times, troubling,” Laliberte wrote. He cited a number of examples of delaying the court process.

“It would seem that the true essence of this Appeal was lost to process,” he wrote.

Crober and Rowntree have retained a new lawyer, Roberto Ghignone, since the January ruling. Ghignone has taken issue with the conduct of their former lawyer, Don Good.

Ghignone plans a separate proceeding to make a claim against Good for a portion of the legal costs.

Because of this development and the amount of the decision ($121,692.23), Laliberte has given the two men until Sept. 30, 2016 to pay.

Judge Laliberte wrote the “significant” cost award was needed to “indemnify, in part, the successful litigant, encourage settlement and sanction inappropriate behaviour.”

The judge also noted that there had been two offers by the defendants to settle the matter that were “made in a timely manner and were found to have been reasonable.”

The award is somewhat less than the claim for costs between $199,000 and $219,000 for Morrisburg Dock Expansion Inc., South Dundas and Chief Building Official Don Lewis – a claim the judge found “excessive” and “does not reflect the nature of such proceedings.”