Issues

From Oakville Beaver (David Lea) - March 3, 2011

The Town of Oakville announced Thursday that it has received $493,100 in compensation from TransCanada for legal costs the Town incurred during its fight against the energy company's proposed 900-megawatt gas-fired power plant.

Town Solicitor Douglas Carr said TransCanada initiated four legal actions against the Town, attacking the various bylaws the Town put in place, which blocked the power plant from being established on the Ford-owned lands of 1500 Royal Windsor Dr.

The proposed power plant location generated considerable controversy and public outcry as it was placed within 400 metres of the closest residential areas giving rise to concerns about health and safety impacts.

In the end, the provincial government ruled the power plant was not necessary and cancelled the project in October 2010.

In January 2011 with no project left to defend TransCanada abandoned its legal actions against the Town, but not before the Town had incurred around $782,000 in legal expenses.

"It's a standard procedure in litigation that generally the successful party is awarded a portion of their costs," said Carr.

"Either they are settled between the parties through negotiation or they are awarded through the court."

Carr said the Town entered into negotiation with TransCanada eventually emerging with the agreement that TransCanada would reimburse the Town $493,100, around 60 per cent of the Town's incurred legal costs.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton remarked on what Oakville has gained, not only by achieving this settlement, but by coming away with such legislation as its Health Protection Air Quality Bylaw intact.

"Council was fully committed to building the strongest legal case possible to defend the health and safety of the community," said Burton.

"The work we undertook over the past year has positioned the town as the leading municipal jurisdiction in Canada on the necessary planning and health protection requirements related to power plants and will benefit our community for decades."

Carr said preparing strong legal arguments to defend against the four separate court proceedings commenced by TransCanada required a significant draw on the Town's litigation reserves.

This settlement, he said, is critical to rebuilding those reserves.

Town staff said this agreement brings to a close all of the Town's outstanding issues with TransCanada on this file.