Some important info for all those directly and indirectly affected by the SFPR:
We have been in contact with a Lawyer that specializes in expropriation law. This concerns those people who will have all or a portion of their property taken, or trespassed upon.
The advice we have is not to sign any agreement, but to wait until a letter of expropriation is received or until you have been contacted by the Government about expropriation, then each property owner should contact an expropriation lawyer individually. Because each property will have its own set of issues, it will be necessary for the lawyers to deal with each property separately. This concerns all properties that are being directly impacted by the project and includes temporary use and/or access by the government or the contractor. Some properties will be reduced in size, some will require underground stabilization for the escarpment, some will be required for temporary access and some will have a bridge built directly over the property itself. These are all forms of expropriation and should be dealt with through Expropriation Law. Some property owners have been informed that their backyards will be removed for the building of anchors, and then the yards will be put back…this also comes under expropriation.
There are three aspects to the expropriation process:
Voluntary agreement between the Property owner and the Government.
Formal expropriation under the Expropriation Act without cooperation between the Property owner and the Government
A combination of the two, which is not surprisingly the most common.
The Expropriation Lawyer we spoke with is Bruce Melville (604-736-9811) and we have provided his name and number as a convenience.
Mr Melville works for the Peterson/Stark/Scott Law firm and has experience in expropriations and would be available to take clients.
For the properties that will not be physically touched, we are also speaking with various lawyers about the possibility of a class action. There are precedents that the Government point to in an effort to avoid paying out for indirect impacts. One of those precedents is the Cambie Rd. construction in Vancouver . The Government argues that if they pay for perceived impacts to the first row of buildings/homes, then the second row would deserve a percentage of that payment and at what distance from the project would it stop? People several blocks away would claim impacts and so the Government does not pay anybody that does not suffer direct property impacts. We believe we can show undue financial impacts to Property owners left next to the highway and that the Government knew or should have known that these impacts would be severe. Our advice to these property owners is to take pictures of your yard and view, etc…, keep a log of all correspondence and contact regarding this project, and gather up your property value assessments as for back as possible as well as any property surveys or related documents and we will update you further as we get more information.
Sunbury Neighbourhood Association
In Tsawwassen, a Voluntary Home Purchase Offer Program has been discussed with affected property owners who live under the power lines.