2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Friday, July 10, 2015

Drainage Tribunal orders landowners to pay municipality nearly $50K in costs

The following summary of a recent decision of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal says it all:

"This Drainage Act appeal was unusual. Firstly, the quality of construction of the drainage works was challenged in circumstances where the drain was performing exactly as designed. Secondly, the Appellants’ case lacked any reliable evidence to support their challenge. Thirdly, the Appellants pursued issues that were outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, and did so contrary to the Tribunal’s directions.  Fourthly, the appeal was devoid of merit, and in effect frivolous.  Fifthly, shortcomings and the mounting costs were called to the Appellants’ attention before and during the hearing on more than one occasion. Sixthly, these same Appellants had previously pursued a quality of construction appeal on the same drain that another Tribunal Panel determined was unwarranted and, subsequently ordered these same Appellants to pay costs. Despite all that the Appellants pursued a costly and unsuccessful appeal hearing and want their neighbours or the taxpayers of the Municipality to pay for it.

In the circumstances of this case and for the reasons explained, the Tribunal awards the Municipality the costs of the appeal fixed at $49,536.80."

It's pretty rare that the Tribunal awards any costs, especially in Drainage Act proceedings. This decision demonstrates that there is a line that can be crossed, following which parties to Drainage Act appeals may be liable to pay costs to the successful party.

Read the decision at: Coleman Municipal Drain 2013 (RE).