Condo seeks compensation from Halifax Water for grate installed on property

·2 min read
Part of the Sawmill River project with 162 Ochterloney St. in the background. (Pam Berman/CBC - image credit)
Part of the Sawmill River project with 162 Ochterloney St. in the background. (Pam Berman/CBC - image credit)

A condominium corporation wants compensation from Halifax Water for a daylighting project in downtown Dartmouth that exposed parts of the Sawmill River, which had long been hidden by underground pipes.

The project, completed in 2018, is generally viewed favourably as an environmental and esthetic boon, but the condo corporation said a large grate that was installed over the river behind its building at 162 Ochterloney St. has rendered part of the land valueless.

When the private property was purchased in 2004, it included an easement involving an underground drainage system that did not impede the use of the land, according to a notice of hearing issued April 20 by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Halifax County Condominium Corporation #277 claims in the notice that the new drainage system has left a part of the property "stranded." It also claims the individual condo owners have "suffered a loss of the quiet enjoyment of their properties" because of noise, dust and disrupted parking.

The new drainage system behind the condo.
The new drainage system behind the condo.(Pam Berman/CBC)

The condo corporation has asked for compensation of at least $211,000 plus interest and legal costs under the Expropriation Act. That does not include compensation for the owners of the individual condo units.

Halifax Water would not comment on the case while it is before the regulator.

The Sawmill River daylighting project involved bringing part of the buried storm pipe, which dated back to the 1970s, to the surface between Sullivan's Pond and Irishtown Road. The 300-metre section includes a fish passage mandated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

James Campbell, a spokesperson for Halifax Water, said in an email the work "has left a positive legacy to the community."

The councillor for the area agrees with that assessment.

"It's definitely been an asset," said Sam Austin. "You get the sound of water in a way that never existed before."

Lock 4 @ Starr is a four-storey condominium complex at 162 Ochterloney St. in Dartmouth.
Lock 4 @ Starr is a four-storey condominium complex at 162 Ochterloney St. in Dartmouth. (Pam Berman/CBC)

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the second phase of the Sawmill River daylighting project. It will run from Irishtown Road to Halifax harbour.

Austin said this part of the project goes through a municipal park and streets, and does not involve any private property.

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