Construction of the Civic Centre Plaza has been partially delayed by a lawsuit filed by the Town'n'Country Mall

They were taken to court over the construction of the multiplex and now the City of Moose Jaw is back in court for the demolition and sale of the Civic Centre. Through court documents obtained by our newsroom, we've learned that the owners of the Town n Country Mall are suing the City and Civic Centre Plaza Inc, claiming damages for violating an easement agreement.

Documents filed on behalf of TnC Mall Property Holdings Inc argue that the defendants have violated the shared parking agreement by eliminating a number of shared parking stalls between the mall and the former Civic Centre due to the planned construction of the new open air shopping centre. The mall also claims that the proposed development is outside of the original footprint of the Civic Centre, again violating a 46 year parking agreement that expires in 2019.

The third matter being argued is that the mall claims the new plaza development will cause damage to business by blocking the sight lines from Main Street to the mall. The mall is suing for damages they believe they will sustain from the loss of business created by having fewer parking spots available to customers.

With the civil matter is running its course, the mall has also filed for an injunction, asking the court to prevent any construction from happening at the Civic Centre Plaza site.  However the application has been denied.

Justice G.A. Chicoine has ruled in favour of the City of Moose Jaw and the Plaza developers, saying there does not appear to be any violation of the agreement since only one building is set for construction at this time.  The ruling also states that the term footprint refers to the overall square footage a property takes up, not the actual land that was covered by the former building, and does not mean that new construction must be on the exact same spot.

"It would not be reasonable to withhold consent for construction of a building or structure in an area that was formerly designated as parking if another area formerly occupied by a building or structure is turned into a parking area."

In terms of the sight lines from Main Street to the mall, Justice Chicoine noted that there is nothing in the agreement that deals with the view of the mall. "I tend to agree with counsel for the Plaza that impairment of visibility from Main Street North is not an issue that arises from any reading of the easement Agreement. It is more likely that visibility of the shopping centre from Main Street North has improved now that the former Civic Centre has been removed and visibility is less likely to be affected by the construction of a number of smaller commercial retails units"

However, the decision does make note that if all of the buildings for the east side of the Plaza are constructed at the same time, or before the agreement is set to end in 2019, there could be argument that a barrier would be created between the two parking lots, something that would violate the parking agreement.  But since only one building is proposed for right now, no such barrier would exist.

With the injunction denied, construction on the first building can now get underway but the civil suit is expected to go before a mediator in May. Since the mall is suing for damages they believe they will sustain from the loss of business created by having fewer parking spots available to customers, significant research will need to be done before any possible decision could be handed down, assuming the court rules in favour of the mall owners.  Do you think parking will be compromised once Civic Centre Plaza is built?  Let us know.