A mediation session for the many opposing sides in the former gasification plant coal tar contamination cleanup issue, at Belleville’s harbourfront, gets underway next week but there’s another side to this story.
The city is facing a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit in connection with the cleanup.
Court documents, recently obtained by Quinte News, show that four years ago the city of Belleville launched a lawsuit against W.T. Hawkins Ltd., Sidney Spiegel, and numbered company 835267 Ontario Inc. for $1 million dollars regarding cleanup of lands adjacent to the actual site which have also been contaminated by migration. The city is seeking damages “relating to its own costs for investigation and remediation of the Contamination…”
That land is known as 100 Church Street.
The documents states, in part, “When the Third Parties acquired their respective portions of the Gas Plant Property they assumed the risk of environmental contamination, including the risk that contamination could migrate from their properties offsite, causing damage to neighbouring lands.”
Last December, Sidney Spiegel and 835267 Ontario Inc. counterclaimed against the city for damages in the amount of $15 million for negligence and nuisance, also damages of $15 million under the Environmental Protection act.
The document states that “any damages that may be established by the city were caused by the City’s own negligence, or those for whom the city is responsible at law. 835 and Spiegel state that the City failed to take the necessary and proper steps to mitigate any damages that may be found to have been suffered by it, which damages are not admitted but denied.”
The city’s appeal is that the other owners should also be named as parties for cleaning up the adjacent lands as well.
City spokesman Cameron Smith says the city will make no comment regarding the lawsuit, on advice of its lawyer.
Quinte News has reached out to the lawyer for Spiegel and 835267 but has had no reply.
Eight parties have been ordered by the Ministry of Environment to cleanup the site where a coal gasification plant had operated in the 1800s.