Company suing city for $113M following purchase of former Calgary golf course

The company that wants to create a mixed-use development on the former Highland Park Golf Course is suing the City of Calgary for $113 million.

The statement of claim as part of the lawsuit filed by Highland Park Developments said the city provided “misleading, inaccurate or inconsistent” information about storm water drainage on the site before council’s decision on the project.

Read more: Contentious Highland Park redevelopment approved by Calgary city council

The developer had plans to build up to 2,000 residential units and office space.

City council approved rezoning of the project in 2017 pending the results of a groundwater study.

At the time, Mayor Naheed Nenshi expressed concerns about groundwater flooding.

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“I’m quite worried about this actually. We’ve heard a lot of differing issues on the groundwater. The good news is that no shovels will touch any dirt until the groundwater study is completed,” Nenshi said outside council chambers in March of 2017.

The ground water study showed the project poses a risk to public safety from overland flooding.

It recommended several options including the city buying a portion of the land and spending millions of dollars to build multiple storage ponds on the site.

Read more: Future of former Calgary golf course uncertain after drainage report warns of flooding risks

Some area residents have expressed concern about storm water and flooding issues for years.

“The residents have been consistent throughout the entire application that there is a significant amount of water and it’s an incredibly complex site,” said Elise Bieche, Highland Park Community Association past president

“We have always had concerns that any approval had to recognize the site and its complexities and the city should have not rushed to provide any approvals.”

Bieche called the lawsuit disappointing, saying the buyer should be responsible for doing the due diligence.

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“Why should the public be responsible for that cost? You took a gamble on a site,” Bieche said.

Bieche hopes the city goes ahead with work recommended in the drainage study.

“I would love to see the city utilize the site for storm water retention as was originally outlined in the regional drainage study,” Bieche said. “If there is an opportunity to daylight the (Confederation) creek.  We love that it’s actually being acknowledged as a creek.”

The City of Calgary said it has received the statement of claim and is reviewing it.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have yet been proven in court.

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