A boarded up home on Indian Rd. in Windsor, October 14, 2015. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Bridge Says Windsor’s Liable For Lawsuits

The City of Windsor could get drawn into a series of lawsuits filed by residents in the west end over abandoned homes in the Indian Rd. area.

Residents have filed five separate legal actions against the Canadian Transit Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge alleging vacant houses have hurt property values and prevent them from enjoying their homes. The lawsuits are ongoing, and the allegations haven’t been proven in court.

Last week, the city was served a Statement of Claim from the bridge company saying it’s not responsible for the vacant homes, the city is, and it should be held liable if the residents successfully sue.

“They’re alleging that it’s our fault because we have not allowed them to tear down houses,” says city solicitor Shelby Askin Hager.

Under Windsor’s Heritage Conservation District Plan for Olde Sandwich Town, demolition is discouraged.

Askin Hager isn’t sure how much the city could be forced to pay out if the Canadian Transit Company loses its legal battle with residents, but wins its lawsuit against the city.

“It would appear that each separate action claims in the neighbourhood of about $6-million, in addition to legal fees and costs,” she says. “I think it would be safe to say it would be well into the millions of dollars.”

Meanwhile, Windsor expects to take a separate legal battle against the bridge company to the Supreme Court in April. The city will argue municipal bylaws do apply to the Canadian Transit Company even though it’s considered a federal entity.