FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 29, 2019
STATEMENT REGARDING CALEDONIA TOLL HOUSE
Since 2014, the Ministry of Transportation has been working to establish a course of action and agreement on the Caledonia Bridge Toll House property. My office became aware of these negotiations in August. Recently, a decision was made that expropriation must occur as the home will not be habitable during construction. MTO explored every possibility and has tried to resolve the issue amicably, but unfortunately this is the deemed necessary course of action.
The Ministry was unsuccessful in reaching a settlement with the property owner and therefore the week of November 11, 2019, the property owner received a letter from the Minister.
In accordance with the Environmental Assessment Act, Ontario Heritage Act, and Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI), the Ministry is required to conserve the heritage of the Toll House and potential archaeological resources of the lands.
Some people have come to the defence of the homeowner on my social media and much of the information is erroneous. My office has worked diligently on this file, since asked to do so by the homeowner, and we have been in contact with the Minister’s office numerous times on behalf of the homeowner. The homeowner has put in writing her appreciation for the work my office was conducting. I want to clarify that the homeowner has never asked my office for a meeting.
Negotiations surrounding compensation continue between the Ministry and the homeowner. The basis of compensation is defined in the Expropriations Act, of which MTO officials are bound.
Personally, I have fought for property rights in the Legislature since 1995 when I introduced my first private member’s bill—Property Rights Statute Amendment Act.
While it is regrettable expropriation must occur, I have heard from the broader community that replacing the landmark Caledonia Bridge is 15 years overdue.
Due to confidentiality, I am sure most can appreciate the fact my office cannot disclose case-specific details with the public.
- 30 –