Skip to content

City council lets neighbours decide land dispute

A land dispute between a city resident and a city school board has been resolved without lawyers and without city council.
A land dispute between a city resident and a city school board has been resolved without lawyers and without city council.

Both parties were encouraged by Mayor Vic Fedeli and deputy mayor Peter Chirico to sit down together last night in a room behind the council chamber and thrash things through.

And they emerged with a compromise solution.

Restraining wall
North Bay resident Tom Rowe had come to council last night stating that Ecole Secondaire Algonquin was going to build a soccer field on surplus CN rail lands it had purchased from the city.

The problem was, Rowe said, that a house on Harvey Street abutting the rail land property, belongs to his daughter Paula Brooks, and that the restraining wall to be built as part of the soccer field would end up being too close to her home.

Rowe said his daughter was under the “apparent misunderstanding” that neighbours would receive first dibs on purchasing surplus city land including the rail lands.

And the school, Rowe added, “wasn’t aware” that one property owner would be affected by the restraining wall.

Through lawyers
A bylaw authorizing the sale of the land to the school was on the council agenda last night, and school representative Marc Cantin was at the meeting

“It was obvious both sides hadn’t talked directly to each other and it had all been through lawyers,” Chirico said.

“Well they were here tonight so we suggested ‘sit down let’s see if we can work it out,’” Chirico said.

Good compromise
City CAO David Linkie facilitated the meeting.

“If anybody can bring a deal together Dave can,” Chirico said following the meeting.

Rowe said the board and his daughter arrived at a “good” compromise solution, which he didn’t elaborate on, safe to say that Brooks wouldn’t end up with a restraining wall virtually in her face.

“They’ll be some landscaping done, some shrubs replanted and it will be much better than the former rail lands which had all sorts of characters wandering around in the middle of the night.”

High priority
Raymond Lessard, director of education for Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord, said his board sees having "positive relationships" with its neighbours as a high priority.

He said some of the land will remain accessible to Brooks.

"It is a very amicable solution and we'd like to thank Mr. Rowe and Mrs. Brooks for their support in all of this," Lessard said.

Not going to be happy
Chirico said he was pleased a solution could be worked out without council having to come up with one.

“When they leave it to us to make the decision,” Chirico said, “somebody’s not going to be happy.”

Council passed the bylaw after the issue was resolved.