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Developer’s $3.45 million lawsuit alleges negligence and misrepresentation by Halton Region planning staff

Matthew Castelli
Matthew Castelli

The Region of Halton is being sued for $3.45 million by a local developer, who says errors made by planning staff delayed his project by a year and forced him to repeat expensive studies and re-grading of his Lakeshore Road West property.

On Nov. 11, Majestic Edge Estates Inc. filed a statement of claim alleging that the region failed to maintain proper records, gave the company misleading documents and directed it to take “costly and time-wasting actions” based on those documents.

Matthew Castelli, president and owner of Majestic, said his story demonstrates the types of delays that contribute to driving up the cost of housing.

"The costs keep going up, and somebody pays for it at the end, and it’s the end user,” he said. “When I make a mistake in my company, I try to rectify it, and I pay for it – instantaneously. I don’t hide behind some cloak and dagger thing and try to push it off to somebody else."

"It’s sad that the region operates like this."

We contacted the region for comment on the lawsuit and received an email reply.

"While Halton Region cannot comment on the substance of this matter, as it is currently before the courts, it is Halton Region’s position that the allegations against it are unfounded, and they will be vigorously defended," said the statement.

Castelli says he purchased 346-362 Lakeshore Road West, a nearly 10-acre lakefront property directly across from the end of Morden Road, around about 2015. He intended to redevelop the property.

Seven years later, he has finally just completed the sale of 18 approved building lots on that site, where construction of new homes will now take place.

But Castelli says the project should never have taken so long or cost so much to be completed.

In the statement of claim, Majestic says that in 2017 Halton Region staff provided the company with incorrect maps related to the sanitary sewer pipes in the vicinity of the property in response to its development application.

Over the next three years, regional staff relied on those maps to issue directives and specifications to the company, resulting in a plan for the Majestic subdivision to connect sewage pipes to a pumping station in the adjacent Shorewood Place neighbourhood.

Based on those directions and draft subdivision approval, the company undertook various studies and surveys, hired engineers and consultants and substantially completed the grading of its property, says the claim.

But in July 2021, the region told the company that it had learned of an alternative sewer pipe on Lakeshore Road and directed the company to alter its plans and connect to that pipe instead.

That forced the company to change the grading and excavating of the project, notes the statement of claim.

"Grading and other construction work that Majestic had already performed—based on Halton Region’s misrepresentations—were no longer required, and the costs and time that Majestic had incurred were wasted," it notes.

The region was negligent in failing to update its records, and only "anecdotal evidence from disgruntled residents" revealed the existence of a deeper Lakeshore Road sewer, adds the statement of claim.

It says the region’s negligence, misrepresentation and course reversal led to delays in obtaining approvals, completing site servicing agreements and closing properties, which cost the company money.

"Halton Region failed to maintain proper records, although it knew that developers like Majestic, and indeed Halton Region itself, relied heavily on these records," says the statement of claim.

"Halton Region provided Misleading Documents. It compounded its initial error by directing Majestic to take costly and time-wasting actions based on the Misleading Documents, leading to material, negligent misrepresentations."

Allegations in the statement of claim have not been tested in court.