Posted by Phil Andrews
It will be most interesting to see when and how damages are settled in the Urbacon case.
When they're resolved -- and made public -- it will be a political weapon and bomb in certain local camps.
But will damages be known before the next municipal election?
I suspect that's unlikely.
Here are some of the factors that may delay damages being known prior to the fall election:
- the City of Guelph may appeal the liability ruling -- whenever it receives and reviews the reasons for the ruling and who knows when that might come out. If there's an appeal, at the pace of Ontario courts, this issue is likely to slumber for much longer than past this fall.
- after receiving the reasons for the ruling -- and mulling possibilities for an appeal, even if the City of Guelph elects not to launch an appeal, which will take a while to resolve, the issue of damages might not be resolved until a trial scheduled for that purpose. That trial isn't even to get underway until about the time of the next civic election.
- after receiving the reasons for the ruling -- and mulling possibilities for an appeal, even if the City of Guelph elects not to launch an appeal, which will take a while to resolve, the issue of damages might not be resolved until the two sides try to do so out of court -- perhaps through a third-party mediator. That doesn't sound like a fast process to arrange or complete. What might slow the resolution of that down too is the need to keep council briefed and to receive council's blessing on strategies and possibile resolutions.
- remember, the City of Guelph might also need to engage in court wrangling over court costs associated with the ruling. The judge has asked for submissions on that issue. The City of Guelph has asked for clarity about that request. So far, apparently, no word back from the judge. Might this preliminary issue delay others? Well, it's unlikely to speed things up.
- could politics influence the timing or pace of any steps that might be taken by the City of Guelph to resolve what the damages might be in this case? Sure. I'm not saying it will. But it sure could. Remember there will be local political stakeholders who might benefit and be hurt by this matter coming out before the election. Will how the municipality manages the issue of resolving this matter be politicized to influence the timing of this award? I don't know. But it's something the community should watch for.