Developer claims City of Chilliwack secretly expropriated entire downtown block

0
817

Surrey-based property developer Mann Development (Mainstreet) Inc. is taking the City of Chilliwack to court over a council resolution passed in secret to expropriate seven parcels of land on the former site of a Safeway in the city’s downtown.

This lot on Main Street was home to the Safeway in Chilliwack from 1961 to 2206. Google Street View.

Mann Development, part of the Mann Group, filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on February 22, seeking to quash the city’s efforts to expropriate the lands for “public parking and health services.” According to the petition, the company bought the lands in August 2016 and soon began working with consultants and city staff on a development proposal. Two years later, Mann’s development application came up for third reading before Chilliwack city council.

“On August 3, 2018, the day before third reading, Mann Development’s consultant was informed by a city councillor that the development application ‘would be smashed’ at council, meaning that the development application would be defeated at third reading,” the petition states. “On the basis of this information, Mann Development deferred third reading until after the municipal election which was scheduled for October 2018.”

However, the city allegedly refused to schedule a third reading after the election, “despite Mann Development’s best efforts.” On December 18, 2018, the company claims Chilliwack city council met in camera and secretly passed a resolution to expropriate the lands without notice. Mann Development claims it didn’t find out about the expropriation until more than a month later, with city staff informing it that the land was “required for public parking and health services.”

“No study or further justification for the taking has been communicated to Mann Development or been made publicly available,” the petition states. “There are no prior reports or studies supporting a need to expropriate the lands for ‘public parking and health services.’”

Mann Development claims the “secret expropriation was arbitrary” and will cause irreparable harm if allowed to stand. The petition’s factual basis has not been tested in court and the City of Chilliwack had not responded to the petition by press time.