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#121 2014-10-29 23:59:26

mr.nelson
Member
Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

mr.nelson wrote:

Wednesday, October, 29, 2014 - 3:03:04 PM



Gazette file photo


Gazette file photo

The former GTR shops on the Cooper site.
   
Ryan says millions at stake for city


Chet Greason cgreason@stratfordgazette.com

Those who haven’t been in Stratford long might have heard that the Cooper site issue has been going on a long time. Articles written about the latest study or decision, or lack thereof, regarding the downtown brown field often mention a “former owner” who, according to different city officials, has been holding the development of the site up in court.

On Oct. 20, that same former owner (and, he hopes, future owner,) got tired of what he sees as the one-sided coverage that’s been flying in local media and decided to hold a town hall meeting of his own so he could give his side of the story.

It’s true; the ongoing saga surrounding the Cooper site has been around for a very long time. However, Lawrence Ryan stresses that he is not, in fact, the one holding up the issue in court, and that Stratford taxpayers are “only being hurt by time.”

The expense he said the city incurred when it fought Walmart at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) “…pales in comparison to what we’re going to do.” He added that he has 20,000 documents, “tons” of witnesses, and 17 years of back-and-forth between him and city to draw upon.

At the heart of the matter is a claim made by Ryan seeking to recover costs after the Cooper site was expropriated by the city.

Ryan said the property was originally signed over for the development of the Stratford Institute. While there’s been debate about who exactly was behind the project, be it the University of Waterloo or a private group that included Mayor Dan Mathieson as a director, the reality seems to be, according to Ryan, that it’s unlikely the University of Waterloo will occupy the bulk of the lands.

This, he said, gives him and his wife Wendy rights under sections 41 and 42 of the Ontario Expropriations Act, which state that if expropriated lands are found unnecessary for the purpose for which they were originally taken, the owner may “take the land, estate or interest back, in which case the owner has the right to compensation for consequential damage.”

Ryan said that once the city entered into a memorandum of understanding with Riversedge Development about a private overhaul of the site, a door opened and triggered those rights.

And according to the former owner, the cost of those consequential damages will not come cheap. He hopes to have the city pay him recompense for lost revenue, market value, delay, and legal fees. His original plans for the site included designs for a railway museum and conference centre, designs he plans on being recouped for the cost of having drawn up. Though his legal representatives don’t want him quoting an exact estimate, he said Stratford ratepayers can expect to pay “millions.”

And that number, as well as the interest it’s accumulating, is growing ever bigger as the matter is stretched out over the courts.

Ryan said there are three players at the table in this situation: his family, the taxpayers, and the city council members that originally issued the expropriation in 2002. He encouraged those in attendance to form a citizens’ committee aimed at gathering the involved parties and solving the quagmire; a committee he said he and his wife would be happy to show up for.

He said the whole situation could be resolved quickly if the city would just return his land, minus the 1.3 acres that the University of Waterloo Stratford campus was built upon. The city wouldn’t even have to pay him recompense should this be the route that is chosen. Instead, he’s willing to accept his repayment in the form of tax credits once a fair number has been reached.

Once the land is back in his hands, he plans to resume his development of the site; but he said he needs the citizens of Stratford to help him make such arbitration happen.

“I can’t get council to talk to me,” he said.

To say the issues surrounding the Cooper site are problematic is an understatement. Ryan said he held his town hall meeting at the Pyramid Recreation Centre in nearby St. Marys because at least two private venues in Stratford would not agree to host it.

Where are we now?

According to Ryan, the OMB last demanded the two parties finalize their procedural orders so the hearings could continue. Ryan said his documents have been finished, but the city is refusing to finalize its own, instead demanding that the issue of ownership regarding the 2.5 acres that contain the St. Patrick’s Street parking lot and the University campus, called “the disputed lands,” be put to bed. He said the city is now seeking to address the issue in front of a superior court.

City CAO Ron Shaw disagrees, saying the city has filed all proper documentation. He said that the city does hope to resolve the ownership of the disputed lands before the OMB hearing commences, but that the city is still trying to decide how best to go about dealing with that matter.

Shaw also refuted Ryan’s claims regarding sections 41 and 42 of the Expropriation Act, saying the Minutes of Settlement that was signed didn’t even mention the university in it.

At this point, Ryan said close to $5 million has been paid to him thus far (a sum that doesn’t include the aforementioned 2.5 acres.) He said this money represents payment for the property as well as coverage for his legal fees and other expenses. However, he noted the city is trying to recoup some of this money, claiming the bulk of it represented an interim payment that was paid so they could take possession of the land and commence developing it. Ryan said the city has put a value on the property closer to only $290,000.

Shaw said this isn’t the case, and noted the city had the property appraised two ways: the first as is, which was around $500,000; the second as an environmentally clean property, valued at $4.3 million. He said that, though the land is not environmentally clean, the city decided to pay the latter as there are developments that could go ahead despite the environmental condition of the property.

He confirms that a total approaching $5 million ($4.5 million plus some expenditures) was paid to Ryan, and that the money stands as the city’s perceived value of the property.

Shaw said it will be up to the OMB to decide whether the price is fair, too much, or not enough.

Video online

Ryan had the town hall meeting filmed, the entirety of which is available for viewing on his website, www.rokebyfarms.ca. He said additional documentation will be uploaded to the website over time.

A good deal of information is already available online through the City of Stratford’s website, including Ryan’s 102-page statement of claim.

Who is Daniel Bernard?

As mentioned, there’s been confusion regarding the Stratford Institute for Digital Media. Mayor Dan Mathieson, a director for the company, said it was 100 per cent privately run and provided documentation to the Gazette indicating its sole source of revenue was Open Text Corporation.

His detractors maintain the company was initially a University of Waterloo initiative, which Mathieson chalks up as confusion on their part between two similarly-named entities.

However, there has been some scrutiny over the fact that Mathieson appears on the company’s Industry Canada webpage as “Bernard Daniel,” complete with the mayor’s home address.

Former city councillor Lloyd Lichti, in attendance at Ryan’s town hall meeting, circulated a document to local media regarding the name, raising alarm bells by asking why the mayor “would found a private company in Stratford and NOT use his surname in the official registration of his company.”

In speaking with Mathieson, the Gazette was told the name on the website is a mistake. Mathieson even provided a copy of an application for incorporation of a corporation where his name is clearly stated as Daniel Bernard Mathieson.

“Any reasonable person would realize that’s a clerical or typographical error, unless they want to believe there’s something else there,” he said.

Mathieson added of the matter, “I haven’t given it one ounce of thought.”

Good luck taxpayers

Last edited by mr.nelson (2014-10-30 00:03:25)


You Can't Fix Stupid!

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#122 2014-10-30 00:06:03

mr.nelson
Member
Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

If you vote for thieves then you will get what you deserve..


You Can't Fix Stupid!

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#123 2014-10-30 11:28:09

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

certainly true... that statement at the end of all your emails.....

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#124 2014-10-30 14:40:31

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

mr.nelson wrote:

If you vote for thieves then you will get what you deserve..

And if you listen to a parrot you may just get back the same garbage. "Squawk" Lawrence Ryan "Squawk" Mr Nelson "Squawk"

The biggest thief, liar, etc. has always been Mr. Ryan!!

Last edited by spankie (2014-10-30 14:41:01)

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#125 2014-11-02 19:04:06

bulldog
Member
Registered: 2008-03-05
Posts: 665

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Former city councillor Lloyd Lichti, in attendance at Ryan’s town hall meeting, circulated a document to local media regarding the name, raising alarm bells by asking why the mayor “would found a private company in Stratford and NOT use his surname in the official registration of his company.”

Thank God, Lloyd Lichti is on the case........

"Ryan said there are three players at the table in this situation: his family, the taxpayers, and the city council members that originally issued the expropriation in 2002"

There should be 2 other players at the table, Private Ryan's Psychiatrist and a Parole/Probation Officer..........

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#126 2014-11-03 19:36:48

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

And all the other companies, cities, and people he's scammed.

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