Andres Wines owners suing over Evergreen Line
The owners of the former Andrés Wines site in Port Moody are suing the provincial government for an Evergreen-sized hangover, claiming construction of the SkyTrain line has stomped on their development plans.
The suit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver last week by Andrew Peller Ltd., names the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the BC Transportation Financing Authority (TFA) as defendants and claims they expropriated most of the property in May 2012 to build a hydro vault. An additional part of the property was taken as a statutory right-of-way for the Evergreen Line guideway, the document claims.
"Despite Peller's protests, and reasonable alternatives being available, the defendants placed the hydro vault in a location where it will have a more serious adverse impact on future development of the property," the suit claims.
On May 7, 2012, when the defendants' efforts to negotiate a lease with Peller proved unsuccessful, they "imposed" a five-year lease on the property, effective to June 2017. The suit states the lease is essentially void and has caused Peller to suffer lost profits, fees related to the now-defunct development plans and, in the future, higher construction costs.
As for compensation, Peller claims it is entitled to more money under the Expropriation Act than what has been paid (the figure was not disclosed in the statement of claim), as well as punitive damages, interest and other costs.
Peller operated the Andrés Winery in Port Moody for several years before shutting down about 10 years ago. In 2007, Peller proposed a mixed-use development for the 5.24-acre property that would include residential towers of up to 26 storeys, townhouses, retail and office space, and light industry.
The suit states the ministry caused an unreasonable delay in Peller's efforts to develop the property. It was in 2002 that the ministry first advised Peller it might need the entire property for the Evergreen Line but it wasn't until 2011 that it advised how much of the property would be used and for how long, according to the statement of claim.
The delay "made the city of Port Moody unwilling to allow earlier development of the property," the claim states.
In addition to the delay, the claim says the defendants have refused to allow Peller the right to build over top of the Evergreen Line guideway, magnifying the "adverse impact on Peller of the expropriation."
The claims have not been proven in court and the government has not yet filed a statement of defence.