|Back to Home||Feature Article - July 5, 2012|
Expropriation of Leonard farm lands going aheadby Jeff Green
In last week’s Frontenac County Council article, it was wrongly reported that a bylaw enabling Frontenac County to initiate expropriation proceedings on a piece of land owned by Bob Leonard had been deferred so the County trails committee could meet with Mr. Leonard.
The County needs the land in order to carry the K&P trail northwards towards Verona through the Leonard farm near Hartington.
As reported last week, when the bylaw was proposed at the June 20 county meeting, Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle moved that the vote on the bylaw be deferred.
South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison began to talk about how the committee should deal with Mr. Leonard, leading County CAO Liz Savill to recommend that the discussion move in camera because it was a land deal with legal consequences and Mr. Davison’s remarks should not be made in public.
Since the meeting was finished, other than this item, I left without waiting for the end of the in camera session. I assumed that since, during the public session at least, Mayor Davison had not indicated he would oppose a deferral, the bylaw had ultimately been deferred.
It was only after going to press that I found out that after the in camera session, the motion to defer the bylaw was defeated, and the bylaw itself was approved. Dennis Doyle and David Jones, the two representatives from the Frontenac Islands, opposed the bylaw, in a 6-2 vote (North Frontenac representative John Inglis was absent)
We contacted Bob Leonard this week, and he said that as of this Tuesday, July 3, he has not heard from the county or the county’s lawyers since the meeting on June 20.
He said that he received an offer to purchase for the parcel of land, which runs through his farm property, earlier this spring.
He said that he contacted the county after receiving the offer, and did talk briefly to CAO Liz Savill, at which time he informed her that he required a different right of way than was included in their offer.
“I was waiting for them to get back to me to begin negotiating about what I really require for my own protection, but instead I got a letter saying they were planning to initiate expropriation proceedings.”
The Ontario Expropriation Act permits the province, municipalities and other bodies, such as hospitals and school boards, to expropriate lands for public purposes. The most common cases where expropriation is used is for transportation purposes, such as highways or railways, or for expansions of schools or hospitals. Expropriation proceedings follow a set of regulations, and can end up being the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board Hearing, and eventually divisional court proceedings.
Bob Leonard said that he has engaged a lawyer and that the county would have saved money had they sat down with him to negotiate before taking this step.
In terms of background to this current situation, Leonard said that 2½ years ago he sold a piece of land to South Frontenac Township to be used as a buffer for the Verona waste site. Those negotiations were carried out with Mayor Davison and Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth. While there was talk of the trail lands during the negotiations around that sale, nothing came of it, according to Leonard.