Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ontario Municipal Board and the issue of awarding costs

This posting is to follow up on a blog posting I made last year - OMB, Citizen Involvement and the threat of costs.

To recap, an application filed last year by Kimvar, the developers of Big Bay Point Resort, seeking recovery of legal costs from the Innisfil District Association, Nextnine, 2025890 Ontario Ltd., and Gilbert's LLP lawyers, Tim Gilbert and David Donnelly. The OMB had already approved the development.

This application was dismissed by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The full text of the decision can be found here - http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/e-decisions/pl050290-Jan-30-2009.pdf

You can read the decision for the particulars about this case; however, some general information that may be useful can be found in the decision. In particular, this statement in the decision is of importance:

The decision in this matter is intended to reinforce and reiterate the Board's practice that costs are not awarded lightly nor are they awarded routinely. Awards of costs are rare, especially proportionate to the number of cases decided by the Board. Potential parties and the public should not be fearful of participating in Board proceedings, a sentiment that has been expressed in decision after decision. Costs should never be used as a threat or a reason to dissuade public participation. The Board has the statutory jurisdiction to award costs for the purpose of controlling its process. Costs before the Board have never been intended to follow "the cause" nor are they intended in any way to indemnify a successful party. Each application for costs is decided on its own merit, based on an assessment of conduct.

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