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U-Save property owner files six lawsuits against District of Hope

One of the lawsuits demands $6,200 to undo the work done on the roundhouse.
U-Save gas station, as photographed on Monday. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

The owner of the U-Save roundhouse and gas station, deemed “nuisance” properties by the District of Hope, has filed six petitions in court against the District of Hope, staff and council members since June.

Richard Madison as well as his numbered, Alberta-based companies, have filed claims in the Chilliwack Law Courts at the provincial small claims level as well as the supreme court level. He filed one claim in November 2016, three in June, one in July and one in October.

In a claim filed July 20, Madison sought $6,200 to sandblast building walls to restore it to its original condition, remove paint from the canopy and remove plywood from the steel door and repair or replace it. The notice of claim listed every council member as a defendant as well as the District of Hope.

In the section that explains what led to this claim, Madison said that around June 19, the defendants spray painted the concrete walls of the building at 489 Trans-Canada Highway, and also did the same for the canopy of that building. The notice of claim also said that they also covered and painted the solid steel door to the washroom of that building. None of these allegations have been proven in court.

“The costs to undo this are $6,200.00. This is a petition to the court that the defendants restore the mentioned three components of the building back to their original condition or pay $6,200.00 so I can effect that,” said Madison in the notice of claim.

The Standard was unable to contact Madison at the number listed in the claim or his Hope number.

The defendants filed a reply on Sept. 18, which gives insight into the other claims brought forth by Madison and his numbered companies. In that reply, the defendants “deny each and every allegation of fact” in the notice of claim and also accuses Madison of an abuse of process.

The reply also goes through a chronological series of events, starting by saying that the property has sat vacant and non-operational for over five years and that the District has been trying to work with Madison to get the property “tidied up.”

It goes into further detail of council’s moves in 2017, including declaring the properties “a nuisance that required remedial action,” with a deadline and the measures they can undertake should this deadline not be met. It also chronicles the attempts to get Madison to meet with council. In the end, Madison did not meet with council and the District passed a resolution on May 8 to clean up 489 Trans-Canada Highway.

The reply stated that the works done at that property was done according to the remedial order and thus pursuant to the statutory authority granted to the District under the Community Charter. Challenging this authority requires it to be brought up to the Supreme Court of British Columbia as the provincial small claims court does not have this jurisdiction.

The reply states that Madison’s numbered companies have sought judicial review of the remedial order in the Supreme Court of B.C., filed June 14. Madison also filed another three small claims petitions before that, all relating to “allegations relating to the clean up of 508 Trans-Canada Highway,” including one against District chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky, which Madison withdrew 11 days before a settlement conference, according to the reply.

Two more continue to be in progress, filed June 2 and 9. The June 2 petition is against Mayor Wilfried Vicktor, while the June 9 petition is against all council members, but not the District of Hope.

According to the reply, the parties involved in those two cases met in a settlement conference, the judge granted the claimant leave to amend the claims such that the District of Hope is the sole defendant in each action and the numbered companies are the claimants. It added that the judge “essentially ordered that [the June 9] petition be stayed pending the result of the claimant’s Supreme Court petition proceeding.”

“Despite this, the claimant has brought yet another claim relating to matters that relate to his Supreme Court petition proceeding,” said the 23rd paragraph of the reply.

Hence, the defendants want the claim dismissed with costs and disbursements awarded to the defendant.