Lumber boss told land was clean: court docs
February 13, 2014
A BCR Properties Ltd. employee repeatedly assured Prince George lumber manufacturer John Brink that the land he was buying was “remediated” and “clean,” according to a court document filed last week as part of an ongoing lawsuit over a failed effort to build a new sawmill complex.
Brink had been looking to purchase 100 acres at the BCR industrial site, where the old Netherlands Overseas Mills once stood, but is now seeking from the BCR costs for remediation and for 15 years of foregone profits.
In a Feb. 5 filing, Brink said he effectively ended up with only 62 acres of usable land, because a 22-acre landfill up to 10 metres in depth was found on the property that, in turn, made a further 15.6 acres inaccessible because of the property’s unusual shape.
Brink said that during negotiations, he emphasized he needed a site of at least 100 acres to locate not only a sawmill, but also three fingerjointing plants, a pellet plant, and dry kilns and storage for logs, rough green lumber and dry lumber ready for shipping.
He also said he repeatedly asked the BCR Properties employee he was dealing with about the land’s environmental condition, knowing that “sawmills can be places where industrial fluids and various toxins can enter the ground.”
The Canfor-owned Netherlands Overseas Mills ceased operating on the site in 2000.
Brink said he was “repeatedly advised that the premises were ‘remediated’ and ‘clean,’” according to the filing, but in exercising an option to purchase the site found that it contained the landfill.
“Because the landfill is ‘capped,’ no structure can be built upon it. Neither logs nor lumber can be stored on it. Cars cannot be parked on it. Roads cannot be built upon it,” according to the filing.
Brink asserted he was ignorant of the landfill’s existence and BCR Properties did nothing to inform him of this “critical fact.”
“Silence on a critical issue can amount to fraudulent misrepresentation,” Brink contended in the filing.
In a response filed this week, BCR Properties denied the allegation and also argued the limitation period for filing the lawsuit has expired. The lawsuit was launched in February 2012.
A date for trial has not yet been set.