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Business in Vancouver

Canadian airport landlord sues tenants group for alleged online defamation

Leaseholder of airport in the BC city of Chilliwack denies wrongful evictions and harassment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 3:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 5:44pm

The leaseholder that manages the Chilliwack Airport in British Columbia, Canada, Magnum Management Inc., is suing the Chilliwack Airport Tenants Association and several members for defamation in a longstanding war of words that has now spilled into BC Supreme Court.

Magnum and its principals Bryan Kirkness and Garry Atkins filed a notice of civil claim on August 23 claiming the Chilliwack Airport Tenants Association, which represents a small fraction of the airport’s 97 tenants, created a website “saveycw.com” after incorporating in May 2015. Kirkness claims he became the owner of Magnum in October 2013, before which “the Airport had received numerous adverse findings from Transport Canada regarding the Airport’s non-compliance with the Aeronautics Act,” the claims states. The plaintiffs claim they took “corrective action,” which included erecting a fence to keep out unauthorised vehicles.

The defendants, according to the claim, published statements online falsely claiming that Atkins was Kirkness’ “henchman” that patrolled the fence and harassed pilots and other tenants. The postings also implied that the plaintiffs were incapable of properly managing the airport. Subsequent postings, including media releases, accused Magnum of wrongful evictions and inadequate maintenance, according to the lawsuit. The defendants accused them of wrongfully targeting the airport’s coffee shop over a patio space, while Magnum claims the dispute arose from fire hazards identified by the city’s fire department.

The defendants include the Chilliwack Airport Tenants Association, Joseph William Martin, Judith Michelle Good, Chilliwack Airport Coffee Shop Ltd., Tracey Lynn Good, Jacqueline Colleen Dziuba, David Andre, Blair Edlund, Mitchell Edward Nosko, Jesse Smith, Kenneth Morgan Smith, Patrick Very, Leah Cleaver and several unknown persons.

The plaintiffs seek an injunctive to halt the allegedly defamatory statements and unspecified damages for defamation.

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court, and the defendants had not responded to the claim by press time.