Annapolis County to go to Supreme Court over Gordonstoun project

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Annapolis County will apply to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to rescind a motion made by the outgoing council.

The motion was made on Nov. 4 and involved a lease agreement and the conveyance of some land to E.A. Farren, the developer behind the Gordonstoun project. The project aims to develop a franchise of an elite private school based in Scotland at the site of the former Upper Clements Park.

The former council has already advanced the developer $1.8 million for the project.

A new council was elected on Oct. 17, but the outgoing council met three times and passed the motion before the new councillors were sworn in on Nov. 10.

In December, the new council fired its chief administrative officer, John Ferguson, and its solicitor.

On Tuesday, the county's new law firm, Cox and Palmer, told councillors that the old council had violated both the Election Act and the Municipal Government Act.

"The former councillors, in effect, purported to unilaterally extend their terms of office beyond what is mandated by the legislation," said Alan Parish, the town's warden. "Failure to observe a statutory requirement [is] a ground upon which a resolution may be quashed."

Len Wagg/Government of Nova Scotia
Len Wagg/Government of Nova Scotia

But Cox and Palmer did not think the motion should be rescinded by Annapolis County Council itself. It instead recommended taking the request to the Supreme Court. Coun. Alex Morrison supported that idea.

"This has concerned citizens and the council for a number of months," said Morrison. "But this issue is not one that council can unilaterally resolve."

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of heading to the Supreme Court.

Councillors have already scheduled an all-day session on Feb. 5 to talk about the Gordonstoun project.

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