A Chatham man is confused and angered after Metrolinx offered him $1 dollar for his property, which is appraised at over $2 million.
Metrolinx, the company that owns and operates the province-wide GO bus system, is in the middle of a large expansion effort across the province. This expansion includes the addition of several new GO bus stations in different cities across the province.
One of these new stations is set to be in King City and it has already caused controversy without construction even having a starting date yet.
The land which Metrolinx has set as their new Go Bus location already has a private owner, a man by the name of Noel Francis Chantiam. Chantiam is the owner of a lot at the corner of Keele Street and Station Road in King City and has owned that space for 22 years.
The land is currently home to an auto body shop that pays monthly rent to Chantiam. Chantiam bought the land back in 1999 for $750,000 and currently takes in $10,000 a month in rent. Chantiam planned to leave the land to his 5 children.
Metrolinx, because they are a crown corporation which means they are a government-owned company, was able to expropriate the title from Chantiam.
“I didn’t realize that anyone in this country can come and just take it from me for a dollar.” “It does not make sense to me,” Chantiam said in an interview. Metrolinx officials told the Star they couldn’t comment on the case because it’s still before the courts.
Apparently Metrolinx’s official reason for offering only $1 is because they believe that the clean up costs out weigh the actual property value.
Chantiam is resisting Metrolinx’s take over of his property, despite agreeing that having more transit is for the greater good. He argues that the company hasn’t provided evidence to support the $1 price and has failed to meet legal requirements to make a good-faith offer.
Metrolinx is “setting a very dangerous precedent,” said Shane Rayman, Chantiam’s lawyer. “They’re saying, we’re allowed to take property without giving any compensation.” Under provincial legislation, expropriated landowners are entitled to the full market value of their land
“They’re saying, we’re allowed to take property without giving any compensation.” Metrolinx is “setting a very dangerous precedent,” said Shane Rayman, Chantiam’s lawyer.
Chantiam’s story is probably the worst-case scenario of this kind of situation. If this case goes through in Metrolinx’s favour, it could set a bad precedent for the power of crown corporations. While these types of cases are rare, over the next few years of the expansion, more and more landowners could find themselves in similar situations.
Metrolinx plans to build 300 kilometres of subway, LRT and GO lines in the region. This will require more securement of land on the companies part. It is known that under their current requirements for expansion, Metrolin’s new lines will run through areas currently covered by housing, urban ravines, employment lands and even historical sites in areas like Old Toronto.