A hotel owner is taking legal action to prevent the city of Dorval from handing over parcels of land to Transport Quebec in connection with the $350-million reconstruction of the Dorval Circle area, which includes new direct Highway 20 access ramps to Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport.
The owner of the Best Western Plus Montreal Airport Hotel, on Côte de Liesse Rd., filed a court challenge to prevent Dorval from ceding parcels of land to Transport Quebec.
In August 2011, the city adopted a resolution to hand Transport Quebec, free of charge, six parcels of vacant land, totalling 17,000 square feet. The lots range in size from 246 square feet to 5,558 square feet. As part of the city’s offer, three of the lots would be closed to traffic on condition that Michel-Jasmin Ave. be redesigned and reopened.
The court challenge, launched by Ted Quint, owner of the Best Western, states acquired rights are involved and that the land being ceded has been essential to the hotel’s operations for a number of years. The loss of the parcels of land being ceded by the city is an important prejudice and places in peril the commercial activities of the hotel, according to a letter sent to the city by Quint’s lawyer.
Dorval Mayor Edgar Rouleau said only a couple of the lots being ceded by the city might directly touch the Best Western property, although the remainder are all in the vicinity.
“If they are not happy with what we are doing, it’s probably because they are losing some space they were using which was not theirs. It’s as simple as that,” the mayor said.
“They may feel they will lose some parking spots here and there, which wasn’t their land anyway. So whether it’s (Transport Quebec) or Dorval, it has nothing to do with them,” he added.
“We don’t give land away to Best Western or to any company. … The judge may say, ‘Why do you want the land? It’s not yours.’ Those parcels are such small portions.”
Rouleau also dismissed concerns cited by the owner that Best Western might not conform to municipal bylaws if it didn’t have access to the lots being transferred to the province, stating a hotel has existed at the current site for many decades. Based on municipal and court records, a building has existed at 13000 Côte de Liesse Rd. since the early 1960s and that the current owner of the Best Western purchased it about 10 years ago.
With Quebec’s attorney general now an intervenor, Rouleau said, the city is stepping aside to let the province argue the Best Western case, which is headed to Quebec Superior Court on Thursday.
According to court records, a Justice Ministry lawyer is attempting to have the legal challenge dismissed, arguing that the hotel owner knew as early as March, when the court challenge was initially filed, that the land being transferred by the city was related to the interchange project, and could have communicated with Transport Quebec.
Neither Quint nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, a dispute over the Dorval Circle interchange project involving the Fairfield Inn & Suites property, also owned by Quint, regarding the proximity of the interchange project and a related expropriation was temporarily settled between the hotel owner and Transport Quebec. As a result, the provincial department took possession of some land around the hotel so it could continue work on the interchange.