Vantreight fights ratepayers on court costs

Vantreight Farms owner, Central Saanich and community group battle over court costs

Ian Vantreight on his farm in 2007.

Ian Vantreight and the district of Central Saanich are after money from the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society.

The three parties met under Justice Victor Curtis in the B.C. Supreme Court this week as Vantreight and the municipality made applications to have the association cover their court costs.

The move comes after Vantreight won both a B.C. Supreme Court and a Court of Appeal ruling in October that deemed his development plans for 57 single-family houses did not violate Central Saanich’s official community plan. The ratepayers society also took the district to court over what the society perceived as a violation of the OCP.

The development on Vantreight’s farm also includes 7.5 acres of farmland donated to the district for a community garden. One third of the site would be set aside for park use, open public space and trails. Central Saanich approved the plans last year.

“We’re moving forward and doing the work necessary to fulfill all of the requirements in the (preliminary layout assessments) that Central Saanich issued,” Vantreight said.

Ian Cameron, president of the ratepayers group, said the court costs are likely between $10,000 and $15,000 for each party, at each of the two levels, with a worst-case scenario putting the society on the hook for $60,000.

“My position from very beginning has been sort of ambivalent concerning the municipality,” Cameron said. “I’m a taxpayer too and am not keen on covering the cost of anyone who wants to sue the municipality.”

He added the association is pondering advancing the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada, citing the current ruling sets a precedent that could force OCPs to become highly specific.

Vantreight plans to break ground on the development this spring.

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