‘No choice’: Danny Williams says court action filed against City of St. John’s last resort

Former premier Danny Williams claims he has been “backed into a corner” by the City of St. John’s over stalled building permits for the Galway project, and that’s why he is turning to the courts.

“I have been very hesitant to take this action, but was left with no choice after several months of attempting to negotiate with city staff in good faith,” Williams said in a news release issued Monday. 

Williams has filed an application with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, claiming the city has “exceeded its authority” — specifically that the city is withholding additional building permits until Williams agrees to give up his right to take the city to court if any disputes arise.

Galway water tower

Williams says he has spent almost $100 million out of his own pocket on Galway. (CBC)

“I am not asking for special of preferential treatment, but I simply cannot spend almost $100 million out of my own pocket and give up my right to take legal action forevermore,” said Williams, who is president and CEO of DewCor and the company 10718.

“It would be unconscionable and irresponsible, just as I would never expect the city to give up its right to sue me.”

Williams: Galway project being singled out

Williams, who said he is not seeking any “financial compensation,” said he is being targeted unfairly.

The City of St. John’s requires development agreements (DA) prior to construction. But Williams insists many high-profile projects — like Kelsey Drive and Hebron Way — haven’t been held to that rule and have proceeded with construction with either unsigned DAs or none at all. 

“Yet, the city is demanding 16 DAs alone for the first phase of the Galway development, while producing only 14 signed DAs for the whole city over a 30-year period,” said Williams, who said he obtained some of the information by Access to Information requests.

“Despite protestations that they treat everyone the same, paper trails clearly demonstrate otherwise.”

City Council

Williams says city council gets to have the final say on the wording of development agreements, not city staff. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

In his application, Williams also asked a judge to order that city council — not city staff — make decisions on the granting of Galway development agreements.

On Friday, the City of St. John’s issued a news release saying it was served an application regarding the Galway Development.

The release said lawyers hired by the city will file a detailed defence to the allegations in court.

An email to the City of St. John’s inquiring about other projects and the status of development agreements was not immediately answered on Monday. 

‘No choice’: Danny Williams says court action filed against City of St. John’s last resort

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/danny-williams-galway-court-action-1.4400051?cmp=rss
Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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