By Rosie Kogan
Landowners have lost the legal battle to save their properties from expropriation for the Yonge-Dundas redevelopment.
Lawyers for Pinball Parlor, World’s Biggest Jean Store, Harvey’s, KFC and Flora Electronics had filed a request for judicial review with the Ontario Court of Appeal. This came after a lower court panel of judges upheld an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling that approved the expropriation of 12 properties in the area.
But their leaves of appeal was denied last Friday, clearing the final legal hurdle for the city, who will turn some of the property over to developers. Construction is expected to begin next spring.
“I am ecstatic, thrilled and relieved,” said downtown councilor Kyle Rae. “It has already passed several hurdles and I am glad this is the last one.”
Property owners now have no choice but to accept the payment based on appraisals offered by the city. Those unsatisfied with the offers can seek additional payments through mediation or by going to the OMB.
Some owners chose not to appeal, as it was “not in their best interest to do so,” said Alan Heisey, a lawyer representing the property owners of the Jewelry Exchange, who didn’t try to fight the expropriation Heisey said the owners’ main concern was to be “fairly compensated,” which they believe they were.
Tennants will be allowed to stay through the Christmas season, but will be evicted Jan. 15.
The construction on the planned retail complex, which will include a 30-screen cinema and public square, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2000.
On Tuesday, the city began work on a mural advertising the redevelopment on the outside of the World’s Biggest Jean Store building. Last winter, the owner of the store draped a banner over the same spot protesting the city’s expropriation.
Clarification (printed Nov. 11, 1998):
In the story “Redevelopment a go,” which appeared Nov. 4, Alan Heisey, a lawyer representing the property owners of 291 Yonge St., said the tenants did fight the expropriation but did not appeal the Ontario Municipal Board’s decision to authorize expropriation. Receiving fair compensation was only one of the Jewelry Exchange property owners’ concerns. They have not been compensated as of yet.