March 18, 2006
City hauled into court
Waste Management, MOE part of
realtor's $30M lawsuit
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE,
A LOCAL REALTY company is suing the
city, the operator of the Carp Rd. dump and the provincial Ministry
of Environment for $30 million because land it owns near the dump
site is "heavily contaminated."
Documents filed to the Ontario
Superior Court of Justice in November 2002, show Metcalfe Realty Co.
claims that a wide range of contaminants -- including phosphorus,
cyanide, barium, boron and lead -- have leached into about 100 acres
of the realtor's land.
In the statement of claim, the
company states "that the contamination and the resultant damage to
its land were caused solely as a result of the migration of
contamination from the lands owned by the defendant, Canadian Waste
Services Inc. (now WM)."
Metcalfe Realty purchased the land
in 1959 -- two years after the dump began operating -- for the sole
purpose of long-term development. Due to the contamination, they say
they are unable to sell or develop the property.
The company also claims that the
landfill operator "continued to operate ... when it knew or ought to
have known that the leachate emanating therefrom would be likely to
cause contamination to the plaintiff or other adjoining landowners.
It failed to take steps to treat or minimize the leachate emanating
from its operation."
Metcalfe Realty says the operator
also failed to place waste sufficiently above the water table, to
perform adequate testing and failed to supervise and regulate waste
The company says the city is on the
hook for part of the $30 million: "Ottawa knew that both the
quantity of and nature of the waste deposited at the site ... was
causing severe contamination to adjacent lands."
It also holds the city responsible
for not warning property owners and "instead embarked on a
systematic scheme to conceal the problem by installing municipal
sewer and works so as to avoid the necessity of the adjoining
landowners using their groundwater."
In its statement of defence, the
city denies the allegations and says that the present operator or
its previous owners and the MOE are responsible for ensuring the
site was in compliance with the province's Environmental Protection
The city's statement says "the
discharge of leachate contamination from the landfill site ... rests
with the co-defendant, CWSI or the Ministry of Environment."
The matter was put on hold almost
two years ago after the two parties agreed to continue testing the
ground flow, but remains in front of the court.
"Experts have been hired by both
sides," said Daniel Leduc, the lawyer representing WM. "When the
experts are satisfied they have all the data, that may resolve the
Leduc also suggested the land
identified in the company's statement of claim is valued at $1
With a $30-million fight on its
hands, the city of Ottawa, Ministry of Environment and Waste
Management are battling it out in court to determine who is
responsible for the alleged contamination of about 100 acres of land
near the Carp Rd. landfill facility in the west end.
A lawsuit was launched in November
2002. Below are further excerpts from court documents:
"The city of Ottawa states that it
did at all material times, to the extent of its own jurisdiction,
and ability to do so, require that the operations of the Canadian
Waste Services Inc. or its predecessors, be carried out so as to
comply with all MOE requirements, including ensuring that leachate
contamination to neighbouring property owners did not occur as a
result of the landfill operations."
"The city of Ottawa is liable at
law for the negligence of its predecessors, the Township of West
Carleton and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton."
"The plaintiff states that the
continued operation of the landfill operation on the lands owned by
CWSI (now WM) continues to contaminate its lands and is in breach of
the Environmental Protection Act."
The city "has no knowledge of the
alleged damages suffered by the plaintiff and puts the plaintiff to
the strict proof thereof, in the alternative this defendant pleads
that the damages claimed by the plaintiff are excessive, exaggerated
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