FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Peace River North School Board is intending to sue the developer that sold the property on which the new Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School is being built for allegedly not disclosing nearly $200,000 in future capital project costs due to the City of Fort St. John.
According to the Notice of Civil Claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on March 15th, School District 60’s Board of Education is seeking judgement against the defendant, Peace Holdings Inc., for $196,919.50 in undisclosed charges. The notice alleges that the School District was not made aware when it bought a piece of land on the City’s west side from Peace Holdings that it would have to pay $11,583.50 every year until 2033 for a sewer project in the area. The suit is also seeking damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation, interest, and legal fees.
The notice states that the School District bought the property on March 31, 2015, for $2,820,000. In the purchase agreement dated six days prior, it was stated that the “Seller has no present or future obligation to construct or provide, or to pay any amount of any person in connection with, off-site roads, services, utilities or similar services in connection with the Property, and there are no local improvement charges or special levies against the Property nor has the Seller received any notice of any such proposed local improvement charges or special levies.”
The School Board says that contrary to the Representations and Agreements in the sale contract, the property was subject to a local area service charge that would be levied against the property, subject to an agreement between Peace Holdings and the City. The School Board alleges in its notice that it only found out about the charges in May of 2016, when it received a tax notice from the City for a sewer project near the property.
The City’s Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that a local area service project is a capital project that can be initiated by residents or by Council.
“This type of capital project is primarily used to improve roads including any of the following: paving, street lights, gutter, catch basins, sidewalks, and boulevard restoration,” said Harvey. “It may also be used in sewer projects. Local area service projects split the cost between the City and residents directly benefitting from the improvement, with a 20 year payback term.”
Peace Holdings Inc. has not yet filed a response to the civil claim. The full Notice of Civil Claim can be read below.