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Business in Vancouver

Class action against Canadian city of Vancouver takes aim at heritage by-law

Plaintiffs accuse city of listing properties as protected sites without proper assessment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 11:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 11:03am

Property owners whose homes fall under Vancouver’s Heritage Designation By-law are suing the city in a class action, claiming it hurt their property values after its adoption in September 2015.

Lead plaintiff Mary Ann Cummings filed a notice of civil claim under the Class Proceedings Act on September 28. An appendix to the by-law listed her home on West 17th along with more than 300 other properties “to be protected by heritage designation,” the claim states.

She claims her property and others listed in the appendix were included despite “no assessment of the heritage value or heritage character” of the homes having been done to determine whether they should be listed or not.

“Due to the heritage designation the properties listed in [the appendix] have lost and continue to lose value,” the claim states.

Moreover, the lawsuit says the by-laws and an amendment “were adopted illegally and in excess of Vancouver City Council’s authority under the Vancouver Charter ... to designate protected heritage property.”

The class seeks damages and compensation under the Expropriation Act for “loss of property value and/or property rights in an amount yet to be determined.”

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court, and the City of Vancouver had not filed a response by press time.