Legal action taken against city over bylaw

Joshua Pagé
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A group of West Hill residents are seeking a court order to quash a zoning bylaw that lit up city council chambers during the summer.

A group of West Hill residents are seeking a court order to quash a zoning bylaw that lit up city council chambers during the summer.

"The West Hill Heritage Society" is listed as the plaintiff, along with Eric and Michelle Lanoie, on the court document filed at the Prince Albert Court of Queen's Bench last Friday.

Both Lanoies addressed council about the issue when the bylaw was passed on Aug. 18.

Bylaw No. 8 of 2009 was created to allow a southern portion of the Angus Mirasty School yard to be developed into a maximum of four affordable duplexes by Northern Spruce Housing Corporation.

At the time of the change, the Prince Albert Grand Council owned the land.

The court filing requests the bylaw be quashed and also for "certiorari," or a review, of the city's decision by a higher court.

It also asks for court costs to be covered, as well as other "relief" determined by the court.

The filing claimed the city failed to comply with its official community plan, Bylaw 27 of 2008, claiming the "results of which have been oppressive and/or unfairly prejudicial" to the plaintiffs.

An affidavit filed for Michelle claimed she didn't become aware of the potential bylaw change until on or about May 31, and that she was unaware what was driving the change.

She also cited a lack of public consultation and claimed councillors Greg Dionne and Darcy Gervais gave the impression the change "was a done deal" when stating the development would happen eventually.

Her affidavit also claimed councillors were "closed minded" to any alternatives to the bylaw.

Eric, who serves as the lawyer in charge of the file, filed a similar affidavit, but he also zoned in specifically on the community plan breach the filing claims occurred.

His filing said the plan claimed housing development should be discouraged in established neighbourhoods, except where public consultation has occurred.

His filing also claimed consultation that should have been encouraged between the housing proponents and the community didn't happen properly.

The only meeting that did happen only occurred after residents pursued it, according to the filing.

The order calls for the city to appear at Court of Queen's Bench on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.

Organizations: Queen's, West Hill Heritage Society, Prince Albert Court Angus Mirasty School Northern Spruce Housing Prince Albert Grand Council

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Recent comments

  • M
    November 20, 2009 - 13:44

    I have totally lost all respect for the people in this area of the city. What makes you think you are so special that someone doesn't have the right to live in your neighborhood? Are you all related to Archie Bunker? For heaven's sake, I would hope that the not in my neighborhood attitude would have left with that TV show. Have we not grown and learned anything since that point in time? Nobody said these were going to be welfare homes with drug dealers, etc from Manville Bay. These homes are to be affordable housing which may mean people that work, but don't make as much money as you snobs. Just because someone doesn't make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, doesn't make them any less a person than those of you that do. By this whole situation, it seems as though some of the people that may live in these homes are actually better than you.

  • gl
    November 20, 2009 - 13:07

    As someone who lives next door to a northern spruce home all I have to say is Good Luck

  • brad
    November 20, 2009 - 12:00


  • JamesQ
    November 20, 2009 - 11:09

    Is Northern Spruce Housing the one that is buying up properties in Prince Albert and then painting them a nice shade of Pink and Green, then almost abandoning the properties, drive around the city and you will see them, thats great for the old investment dollar if you have a property next door. Fact of the matter is that if Prince Albert is no longer a city deserving of investment capital from outside of this city eventually the entire community will suffer. There has to be bylaws and guidelines in place to encourage people to invest in better properties and to protect their investment. It cant be a free for all or all investment capital will dry up!!! Unfortunately their seems to be the same old story in this town where the public wants to punish the people who have prospered, well you know what, most people have generally accumulated what they have earned from hard work and not sitting around on their but. Pick on the investors and they will just go elsewhere.

  • joe
    November 20, 2009 - 09:51

    So they'll take legal action, but nobody has the guts to run against the incumbent for councillor? You get the politicians you deserve, which in this case is pretty ineffectual.

  • Corrine
    November 20, 2009 - 09:12

    I have always been torn on this subject and decided that I have to agree with the West Hill Residents.

    I came out of a divorce and my credit was ruined. I was unable to purchase a home. Since then, I have gotten an incredible job and make superb money but still not enough to save up for a down payment. What is my option? I rent my home.

    For years I have longed to live in a decent area of the city because I care about my neighbors, my yard, my house, my family, etc. I finally got that opportunity in July and am thankful for it.

    For years, the rentals beside me were dirty, they didn't care, they had all of their family members living with them and they were loud. I had people break into my home, scare my children and disrupt my family at all hours of the night. I would cry at night because I couldn't do better for my girls.

    Not everyone that rents are bad but from my experience and living it, many don't care.

    If you own a home in a certain area and you purchased it because it is safe and clean in that neighborhood, you do not want to be exposed to the negatives that honestly do come with rentals. I hate to say it being a renter, but it is true.

    I am not prejudice because I am a renter.

  • jwt
    November 20, 2009 - 07:00

    I heard that Northern Spruce representatives sit on the city planning committee, and that a director of Northern Spruce is also good friends with Scarrow. I would like to know if that's true, and exactly what influence Northern Spruce Housing Corporation and the PAGC has had on city council, such that city council disregarded the concerns of city residents. Let's shine a little light here. Since Northern Spruce also astroturfed the public meeting with shills, I wouldn't be surprized if some of the people in this comment forum are trolls for Northern Spruce. Something doesn't smell very good around here.

  • Lisa
    November 20, 2009 - 06:48

    I can recall this same issue when the Prince Albert Student Indian Residential school became reserve status. The editorials, the angry backlash, the racist comments.

    Regardless, this will help with families who are on low incomes. If they were green martians, purple people eaters, or what ever color they may be, That redneck philosphy keeps showing up.

  • A Rush to Judgement?
    November 20, 2009 - 05:41

    Once again I read the comments and am shocked at people's responses. To call people racist, prejudicial and rednecks is a rush to judgement by all of you. If you knew Eric Lanoie you would know that he spend most of his life being raised in a missionary family in Africa where he and his family cared for people who were alot poorer than anything Prince Albert has seen. This family has sponsored refugees and have volunteered at soup kitchens. They are not saints but they are good people who are exercising their rights to question the actions of city council.
    The article does not state everything in the affidavit nor does it cover everything that was discussed with city council. Until you have all the facts, you should not rush to a judgement simply because you read that they disagree with something. I am sure many of you will jump all over me because I too am disagreeing with you but I think it is awful that these two people are being slammed for doing what they have every right to do.

  • Sheryl
    November 20, 2009 - 04:06

    This is not an issue of affordable housing but one of maintaining green space for our community. There is development happening all across PA from the East to the West and green space needs to be a part of the plan.

    The neighbourhoods that are already developed need to maintain the areas that our children use. The quality of life of OUR community is at stake.

    If the city starts to neglect the needs of our families it will become a slippery slope.

  • brad
    November 20, 2009 - 03:54

    hey justagurl wake up you l think you are the snob why so mad. and who is this ppaj you are talking about they may say they own it but they do not ...

  • Gord
    November 20, 2009 - 03:10

    It seems pretty clear from these posts if your're opening comment is...I am not prejudice but...pretty safe to say you are prejudice, I mean really one post asks for the people to be and I quote... be working and family oriented what a terrible statement, in other words if you are unemployed then go live somewhere else. I can only imagine what family oriented means and what group of people that statement is designed to exclude. No denying it PA just like any other city will struggle with rented dwellings being planted right smack in the middle of other wise R1 mature neighborhoods.
    I don't blame west hill people for being upset but some of these comments really smell of prejudice bordering on race issues. It seems PA's preceived cutural problems are being dragged into this debate with some of these clearly thinly veiled racialy loaded comments.

  • Dougie
    November 20, 2009 - 01:08

    City Council needs to be challenged on more of their decisions.
    If City Council is found innocent, the challenge will fail. If City Council is found guilty, it will succeed.
    I think we all need to hear what the courts have to say.

  • justagurl
    November 20, 2009 - 00:56

    Brad, you come across as an uneducated killbilly. Your computer has spell-check. Try it.

  • guydebord
    November 19, 2009 - 23:46

    Absolutely ridiculous! It's time for the delusional residents of the West Hill to get real and grow up.

  • Past renter NS Housing
    November 19, 2009 - 23:30

    I believe to paint all renters of Northern Spruce Housing as bad tenants & criminally oriented is just plain ignorant & prejudice if the Lanoie family don't care for this new development to happen in thier backyard then move elsewhere otherwise run for City Council & push your agenda & ideology that way othewise grow up & let development continue on...this not in my backyard attitude shouldn't being rearing its ugly head in this day & age people...the West Hill Heritage Society members along with Eric and Michelle Lanoie need to grow up & focus thier energies on more pressing issues like the H1N1 pandemic & the Canadian recession...come on grow up now...cheers for Mayor Jim Scarrow and have my support in the upcoming civic elections....keep up the great work...

  • an indian
    November 19, 2009 - 22:48

    My question to the matters.Do each of the Bands that are respresented by the P.A.G.C. partial owners to the properties in question.What about the Reserve staus given on city property.Discrimination is all over the place in P.A.The Treaty card gives peoples exemption at the gas pumps.If we really are all Treaty than why on earth does the Treaty Commission Office make T.V. ads on television.Annoucing that we are all treaty.When in fact this is not true for the others, that have to pay this tax at all other pumps on city property.I feel for those people who are denied for thier treaty right.I feel for many of us on First Nations that our dollars being used to buy property on city limits.Why?And to the P.A.G.C.The property onwhich the Peterballantyne Cree nations owns is full of the most disgusting,horrible,and hidden truths about it.Can I sue the Peter ballantyne Cree Nation for my experiences in The Student Indian Residential school.

  • disgusted
    November 19, 2009 - 21:41

    I used to rent from Northern Spruce while I was attending university. I was very proud of my home and kept it clean. The people who are responsible for these houses are very diligent in doing their jobs.I don't know all of the Northern Spruce houses so I have to wonder how these others that are making comments would know. This started as a green space issue and now its bylaws.I wonder what the next tactic will be. To the Residents of West Hill...get over it! The property belongs to PAGC. How would you like it if they told you what you can build on your property? The real reason would be not my back yard Grow up or better yet sell out and go live in your ideal neighborhood.Last I heard it was in Mars. Start your own redneck colony.

  • reality
    November 19, 2009 - 20:16

    Only in PA, eh!

  • Another purple one
    November 19, 2009 - 20:09

    Prejudiced again race? No. Prejudiced against poor lifestyle choices and not wanting to have anything to do with those that choose to live with different values than I do? Yes. Why throw cats and dogs in the same cage? Put rental housing in its own area.

  • disgusted
    November 19, 2009 - 19:26

    I just proved a point because Brad is an idiot and makes idiotic comments. That is what I mean when people have preconcieved ideas.Who said I am not clean..that was not part of the question.Please Brad,read it again and see if you can understand. To Sheryl,neither is the property that is being discussed green space for the is private property. If you read my previous comment this issue is not about green space. It is about renters who will invade the west hill and everyone is already judging and assuming the worst.Obviously they will not be wealthy or they wouldn't be renting. We should be happy that there is development in that space.

  • landon
    November 19, 2009 - 18:32

    One fact people are missing in this is, there is provincial funding available for this development so the developers and the city have an incentive to get this specific site developed. There are many more suitable building locations in the city but there is no money for those locations.
    Further to green space, if you live in the neighbourhood or even if you drove through it (18th street to 22nd street and 2nd Ave W to 8th Ave W) this is the only green space in the area.

    Further more, if the majority of the homeowners and land owners are in disagreement with the four plexes, there views should be respected as they are essentially the owners of the actual community in question. The residents are subject to the same laws as in they cannot erect a fourplex on there lot.

    The main issue for me which is disquised within this green space, affordable housing slash poor person slash racial issue is the fact that this is the most historical part of prince albert. Take a moment to drive this area of west hill which has the most charecter and beauty in the entire city. Basement suites are already a slippery slope in the area.

    Take pride in your neighbourhood!

  • jwt
    November 19, 2009 - 11:18

    This issue seems to be more than just affordable housing. If Northern Spruce's project is so great, why were they not totally open and up front about it with the neighbors right from the start? When people (residents, constituents) finally caught wind of the plans and voiced concerns, city council ignored them and apparently also their own bylaws (a judge will now decide that) to push through the development. Scarrow voted for the development, and acted against the will and concerns of the very people who voted him into office. How's that for democracy?? The people of west hill have a right to challenge that because elected officials are accountable to the constituents. As for telling people what they can or can't do on their own property, that's what bylaws are for. Don't you need a permit if you want to build a garage, or an addition to your home?

  • Cheryl
    November 19, 2009 - 10:44

    Prejudice at its finest. Well done, West Hill. We need affordable housing in the city and your NIMBY attitude doesn't do a darn thing for it.

  • k
    November 19, 2009 - 10:32

    northern spruce housing does not have a good record with their rental properties, so i do feel sorry for these people because northern spruce housings rental properties are almost always dirty, unsightly, and rented out to low life scum who dont care....that have 5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats and aunt, uncle, grandma, and a neighbour boy all living with them, they're loud and disrespectful and their dogs bark allnight and their kids toys end up in ur yard all the time plus they get cited from the city all the time for not cutting their grass. And no im not racist or prejudice but they rent to anyone thats the problem they dont care. And this is coming from someone who has lived nexted to rental properties in different areas of the city.

  • chris
    November 19, 2009 - 03:51

    these units are attainable housing in order to qualify for a space in them family income needs to be in excess of 50,000 annually for the family. it is not social affordable housing
    just to set the record right.

  • brad
    November 19, 2009 - 03:08

    my sis moved from a farm to what was a nice clean part of town she lived there not even a year and moved to a farm. there was a rental next to her the east flat and it was loud all hours of the night and dirty........ she will never move back

  • Kari
    November 19, 2009 - 02:47

    I thought this was a green space issue. HaHa. You can't sue because you didn't like a decision. There should probably be an actual legal violation... shouldn't there?

    To these West Hill residents rental means poor and to them poor must be bad/dangerous. My family was on welfare for a period of my life which, by any standard, makes a family poor. I would suggest that being poor teaches exceptional values. It teaches people not to be wasteful, to work hard and to appreciate the things they have in their life. In many respects this is much better than the values being taught to children that get everything they want and who don't know the value of hard work. Just because these units are rental doesn't mean there will not be working oriented families in them -- as a purple person suggests.

    Are we really the type of community that is going to say you are not welcome in my neighborhood if you make less than... $50,000 a year, $35,000 a year, or $20,000 a year? Are these people really not entitled to live in the West Hill?

  • brad
    November 19, 2009 - 02:18

    cheryl there is some nice property in the west hill and we don,t need run down rentals after people smash them up after 1 month of being there

  • Sheryl
    November 19, 2009 - 01:49

    Dear disgusted : The so-called green space listed above where the soccer center is being built is not the same situation as being discussed at this location. You are bringing up arguements that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. The soccer center site has never been a developed area where kids play. It is a field.

    The city currently has opened lots across the city, including the west hill area for PROFIT! Why did they not look at these areas for affordable housing options?

  • Mark
    November 19, 2009 - 01:08

    Truth is every city has area where they develop rental properties etc they are usually blue collar and of course sometimes you get the run down stuff. You can't help that because there are people that don't respect themselves never mind the property.
    I have lived in several cities and all well though out cities put rentals where they fit you dont go to areas that are very affluent or great neighborhoods and put in low rental facilities. There is a reason for that it brings down the price of the real estate it isn't prejudism.........
    If you want affordable housing there are several areas in the city that can house that go after that rather than name saying c mon lets be a progressive city and try and treat all of our residents with respect

  • brad
    November 19, 2009 - 00:35

    to justagurl but out. look you might need to check your spelling it girl not gurl redneck.

  • brad
    November 19, 2009 - 00:22

    to disgusted well put it in the west side and it will be all good who do this ppaj think they are. ps you redneck l pay tax so l have the right to say how l feel

  • a purple person
    November 18, 2009 - 23:37

    A home is a huge investment, not just financially. You want to live in a neighbourhood with people who have the same values and respect for property. This often, but not always, comes with home ownership. If you want to deny this fact, take a drive through some areas that are traditionally rentals. I will purchase a home based on neighbourhood residents as well as the house. To change the structure of an established neighbourhood is not right. The west hill home owners have my full support. This is not prejudice, I don't care what colour anyone is but please, be working family oriented people in working, family oriented neighbourhoods.

  • disgusted
    November 18, 2009 - 23:19

    To the people who are talking about green space..Why wasn't there a big outcry when the soccer center was built? To the person who is saying the Lanoie are good people..I'm sure that they are wonderful people and I'm not sure why they would be involved in something like this.Did they get pressure from the society because they don't want a legal bill? For the idiots who say that Aboriginal people don't pay taxes..quit spreading lies and do some research. This only makes you look like an uninformed racist. You have to work,live,shop on the reserve to avoid paying taxes. If you look at stats there are more Aboriginal people living off the reserve thus they pay taxes. PAGC obviously asked the city for permission or we wouldn't have this whole issue. That one is for Justme! To Brad from pay taxes in alberta so why are you even commenting! Get a life! What if you and I were competing to rent a house..I am dark skinned,non-drinker,non-smoker and have a great job and you white ,social drinker and a non-smoker with a great job..Who do you think would get the house? This happens because people stereotype and make judgements based on race. Therefor you are a redneck. HaHa.

  • anindian
    November 18, 2009 - 21:58

    I live On-Reserve on a village,so disgusted is saying we are all idiots.We 've always settled in a village like setting.Plus you haven't proven anything,but to show your a racist person,who doesn't know, what nothing.I'm not an idiot like disgusting is suggesting.And to disgusted quit hiding behind a wall.We all know now your true colors.A Racist period.Along with everyone else whose saying building a small village on city property.There is many villages in P.A.period,so that makes everyone an idiot.The only idiots to the real problem,are the ones making the decisions behind closed doors.That would be City Council,P.A.G.C.,and the Department of Indian Affairs.For making decisions that concerns the very peoples that live On-Reserves.Bah As they say. The Duty To Consult Is A hidden Agenda.

  • Ben
    November 18, 2009 - 21:27

    Right or wrong -you cannot deny that the city are a sneaky,closed-door bunch of individuals. Wonder what hidden little perks were in the deal for them.

  • justagurl
    November 18, 2009 - 19:24

    I hate to wake some people up (meaning you.. West Hill snobs) but there could be a a beautiful, 2500 sq ft house next to you, with quiet, clean-cut neighbors, who you hardly ever see.....until one day 4 police units roll up and tell you your fabulous neighbor has a grow-op in that Beautiful area of town. It happens. It happened to me! WAKE UP!
    If this land is owned by PAGC, they can do with it as they wish - just as I could if I owned it. Maybe I'd build my house out of a grain bin - there wouldn't be a flippin' thing you could do about it.

  • JustMe
    November 18, 2009 - 16:33

    OK, so property owners can do with their property as they wish?

    1) I'd like to not pay taxes. 'Some' others get away with it.

    2) I'd like to build on it as I see fit. i.e. A large 2 1/2 - 3 car garage and enclosed deck and a tall fence to keep out the vandals. Oh Wait, I can't. I have to follow the city's regulations. so why shouldn't they?

    3) I'd like to put up a decent communications tower. Oh wait, I can only put up a short one, and only IF I beg for permission...

    Other property owners cannot do as they with, so why should the PAGC?

  • brad
    November 18, 2009 - 15:38

    to disgusted l wood get the house. l am clean and l look after my place haha