Defendants Dispute Rosslander's $1-million Lawsuit
It looks as if the $1-milion lawsuit brought by Rosslander Warren Ham is going to trial.
He's suing because the city denied his May 2021 permit applications to log four properties and passed a bylaw three months later to prevent it from happening on his and anyone else's land.
A judicial review of council’s decisions by Nelson Supreme Court Justice Lindsay Lyster found that “the city rejected the petitioners’ application knowing they ought to be granted,” the ruling stated.
The judge also ruled against the Tree Management Bylaw that followed.
“I find that the city’s action in this case do rise to the level of bad faith,” Justice Lyster added in her written decision.
Hamm’s lawsuit also states that the city has refused to obey the court’s order to grant the four development permits, alleging contempt of court.
Hamm also claims he has suffered a significant economic loss.
“As a result of the bad faith actions of the Defendants, the Plaintiffs have been unable to develop, build, and sell serviced municipal lots, townhomes, and other real estate for over two years, causing economic loss and loss of opportunity,” said the Statement of Claim filed with the court.
The defendants argue there was no indication Hamm planned to develop the properties.
“The DP (development permit) applications sought authorization to clear trees and vegetation,” said the statement of defense, which added that they were to be sold for market value and that was not allowed under the city’s Official Community Plan.
They also claim Hamm wasn’t economically impacted by the city’s decisions.
“Any loss or damage suffered by the plaintiffs was not caused by any acts, omissions or fault of the defendants,” said the written statement of defense, which added that there was no intent to target Hamm, while admitting the new bylaw could be found null and void.
“It was possible that, as a consequence of the judicial review proceedings, the decision of council to deny the DP applications could be overturned and the DP applications be ordered granted,” as stated in the statement of defense.
The city did not appeal Justice Lyster’s decision.
The document also states there is no proof of the contempt of court allegation.
Hamm is suing current Mayor Andy Morel, former Mayor Kathy Moore and former City Councillors Dirk Lewis and Terry Miller.