What is a writ of mandamus? Will the taxpayers of Nanaimo revolt against the City of Nanaimo?
Writ of mandamus: “A writ or order that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior tribunal, corporation, such as a municipal corporation to perform, or refrain from performing, a particular act, the performance or omission of which is required by law as an obligation.”
In the Supreme Court of Canada case, Whyte Packing Co. v. Pringle (42 S.C.R. 691), a writ of mandamus was filed against the City of Stratford. A ratepayer’s group objected to the Whyte Packing Company being given a property tax exemption for a set number of years. They sought for the company to have to pay school taxes. This group filed for a writ of mandamus, upheld by the Appeal Court.
There are two cases of interest in Nanaimo. The first is the ten year tax free incentive given to the new hotel operators at 100 Gordon Street. They are to enter into a 10 year Revitalization Tax Exemption Agreement. The revised proposal is for the hotel to be a 20 storey building with 240 hotel units. The estimated annual revenue would be approximately $35,000,000. Why the tax exemption?
The second case of interest is the City of Nanaimo’s order for immediate removal of the Colliery Dams, a registered historic site: The following red flags are:
- rushed timeline starting in July 2012
- wide fluctuation in estimates (from $30 million to $8 million)
- inconsistent data in earthquake modeling
- Hatch group took one day to review KCB engineering report
- Dam Safety Branch has back tracked on their requirements
- Dam Safety Branch email came on day of vote
- building on Harewood floodplain
The speed and urgency that the Colliery Dams removal project is being pursued leaves many questions. Did Milner Group Ventures contribute to the the Mayor or Councillors’ political campaigns? Who will benefit from this project? Why would the Mayor and council vote in favour of a John/Jane Doe Order?