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Expropriation report should remain secret: province

 
 

Expropriation report should remain secret: province

The Agence m&#233;tropolitaine de transport eyed more than 9,000 square metres of industrial property owned by Allan Korzinstone and his wife, Dora, to set aside for one of the stations and parking lots it will build for the future Train de l&#8217;est line.
 

The Agence métropolitaine de transport eyed more than 9,000 square metres of industrial property owned by Allan Korzinstone and his wife, Dora, to set aside for one of the stations and parking lots it will build for the future Train de l’est line.

Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf , THE GAZETTE

MONTREAL - The province says an internal report by a real estate assessor that was leaked to the media suggesting it would cost 10 times what the province is offering to pay to expropriate land for the Train de l’est project is covered by professional secrecy rules and should remain confidential. Lawyers for Infrastructure Québec, a provincial agency that advises the government on public infrastructure projects, argued for confidentiality in response to a motion filed on Friday by a lawyer for Allan Korzinstone, whose property on Jean Meunier St. in Montreal North borough was expropriated by the province.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport plans to build a station there just north of an existing train track for the future commuter line linking downtown Montreal and Mascouche.

Korzinstone is seeking to have the Tribunal Administratif du Québec, which is hearing the expropriation case to determine how much the government must pay him, order Infrastructure Québec to release the December 2011 report since parts were leaked to La Presse newspaper.

The report was produced by an assessor who belongs to a professional order, so the report is covered by professional secrecy, Raymond Doray, a lawyer representing Infrastructure Québec, said. Professional secrecy is agreed to by the expert and client, and can’t be renounced by accident or error, he added.

The province filed an expropriation notice on the property Korzinstone owned for 45 years in 2009. It also expropriated Pièces d’Autos de Montréal-Nord, which leased the site from him for 30 years.

However, La Presse revealed in March that a report by an assessor hired by Infrastructure Québec cited studies for the AMT in 2007 that pegged the cost to expropriate Korzinstone and the business at $11 million. The report also noted it would cost just $1.19 million to expropriate land south of the tracks instead.

The government’s current offers to Korzinstone and the business come to $2.6 million, Korzinstone’s lawyer, Jean-Pierre Bélisle, said. Korzinstone is seeking $5.3 million. The business is seeking about $7 million.

Bélisle’s motion argued the report lost its confidential nature once its content was published.

Pièces d’Autos de Montréal-Nord’s lawyer, Nikolas Blanchette, also argued the report citing studies in 2007 is relevant since the company says it suffered lost profit and other damages during the expropriation process. The AMT has been reluctant to acknowledge the process began before the 2009 expropriation notice, he added.

The two judges hearing the case are expected to rule on the admissibility of the report in the coming weeks.

lgyulai@montrealgazette.com