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Region lawsuit costs revealed

Durham has spent over $720k in ongoing case with Oshawa over transit

According to a report released in the March 17 council information package, the Region of Durham has spent more than $720,000 in legal fees for its ongoing lawsuit with the City of Oshawa. The $8.9-million lawsuit was first filed in 2011 and stems from a dispute over who should pay financial liabilities, such as pensions and benefits, from when the city uploaded transit to the region.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

A new report from the Region of Durham details just how much it has spent in an ongoing lawsuit with the City of Oshawa.

According to the report included in the March 17 council information package, Durham has spent more than $720,000 in legal fees to date, including more than $623,000 in fees, more than $18,000 in disbursements and more than $81,000 in taxes.

The lawsuit got its start six years ago in March 2011, when the region sued the city for $8.9 million, “seeking relief under the terms of a 2004 bylaw that transferred responsibility for Oshawa’s public transit system to Durham,” according to a 2013 Court of Appeals decision, which saw the city’s case for having the case dismissed thrown out.

The report comes following a request at this month’s regional committee of the whole meeting by Councillor John Neal.

“It’s not good for the region, it’s not good for the City of Oshawa residents, that’s for sure. But they still have to foot the bill,” Neal says of the regional report.

“When you have two levels of government always pointing the finger at the province and the feds for wasting money, yet at the same time doing the same thing. I’ve said this before, it’s not breaking news to anybody that’s heard me at council…but to carry on with this, it should be stopped in its tracks now.”

Neal says that the city and the region need to hammer a deal out in the case as soon as possible in order to avoid more taxpayer dollars being spent, and even get the province involved if necessary.

“If they need assistance from the province to get this over with, the sooner the better, before they spend more money on expensive lawyers to come about to a no-win situation for the taxpayer,” he says.

“I don’t know who this is being done for because nobody’s going to be the winner except for the lawyers and the lawfirms.”

Oshawa councillors were updated as to the city’s costs thus far in the ongoing lawsuit during a closed meeting of council in December.