City appeals against residents whose property was contaminated by the oil spill | Pro IQRA News

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The city of Charlottetown has dropped an appeal against a PEI Supreme Court ruling awarding half a million dollars in damages to a woman whose home was contaminated from an oil spill on city property.

Gail Doucette was awarded $533,000 in damages by the court in March, nine years after the discovery of an oil spill involving an underground tank in Sherwood Recreation Hall next door to her home.

Doucette said the recurring smell of fuel on her property was so bad she could sometimes feel it, and said it made her home practically uninhabitable.

The city said it did not know when the leaks started or how much fuel was lost. Hundreds of tonnes of contaminated soil have been removed, but test results confirm there is still fuel in the bedrock beneath Doucette’s house.

Doucette filed a preliminary claim statement against the city in 2016. Judge Terri MacPherson won Doucette in the case on March 7, 2022. The same day CBC reported the verdict, on April 11, the city filed a notice meant to appeal. .

But on July 15, the city’s attorney told the court that the city was ignoring the appeal.

City does not pay deposit

As part of the appeals process, the court has ordered the city to pay a $525,000 deposit to cover the previous award for damages, and pay Doucette $13,000 in fees for the advance appeal.

The city did not make a $525,000 deposit to the court. Now that the appeal has been dismissed, he is bound by a previous Supreme Court decision to pay Doucette the money.

Doucette has lived with the smell of fuel oil in her home for almost a decade. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Two weeks after the ruling in her favor in March, Doucette filed another claim statement seeking further damages, accusing the city of refusing to pay, causing Doucette more suffering because she was unable to move into an uncontaminated home.

The new claim statement has not yet been tested in court.

In an email, the City of Charlottetown said, “The City is notified that appeals to this matter are suspended by the Insurers. We are also notified that payment, as ordered, is forthcoming.”

As a provision in his original ruling, Judge MacPherson effectively ordered the city to purchase Doucette’s property, telling Doucette to move her home to the city within 30 days of the verdict in exchange for $375,000 of a total of $533,000 in damages.

In a recent statement of claims, Doucette’s attorney, Peter Ghiz, argued that the city refused to cooperate, not providing the payments or information needed to transfer the deed home.

Case ‘draws on too long,’ council member says

The city said it would not disclose how much it had spent on specific cases.

Doucette’s local councilor, Bob Doiron, said the case had “drawn on too long” and that it was time for the city to pay.

“I believe all Charlottetown residents want this woman to receive what she deserves,” said Doiron. “This leak was an accident caused by our property and we have to do the right thing and help this woman move on with her life.”

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