HALIFAX: The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) recently dismissed an application by the Attorney General to re-open a hearing regarding compensation to S&D Smith Central Supplies Limited for the expropriation of land.

In its decision, the UARB stated found the burden is on the Attorney General to demonstrate that the board should exercise its discretion to re-open the hearing to receive evidence of the sale.

“The board is not persuaded that the respondent has discharged the burden,” stated the decision. “The board does not find that the evidence would be practically conclusive on the issue of future incremental capital and operating costs. This is because the testimony already given by the province’s expert witness at the original hearing addresses the uncertainty of those costs being reasonable or even incurred. The board is satisfied that declining to re-open the hearing will not mean a substantial injustice to either party.

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“Accordingly, the hearing will not be re-opened and the Board will proceed to finalize its reserved decision,” the decision added.

S&D Smith Central Supplies previously filed a claim against the Attorney General of the Province of Nova Scotia for compensation under the Expropriation Act with the UARB. The claim arose from the expropriation of lands at Lower South River for twinning the Trans-Canada Highway. The hearing of the claim concluded with final written submissions on June 3, 2016, and the board reserved its decision.

By letter dated November 29, 2016, Bruce T. Macintosh, Q.C., Counsel for Central, advised the board and Mark V. Rieksts, counsel for the Attorney General, that Central was going to announce the sale of its business to a commercial competitor. MacIntosh stated the sale did not include the Lower South River property or the Pomquet property. He also said that the negotiations for the sale had not begun until after the close of the hearing and the filing of submissions with the board.

Rieksts then sought a preliminary hearing to address matters arising from this information and filed what the UARB decision described as a “broadly worded motion for disclosure of particulars regarding the sale and any other negotiations for sale of the Central’s property, and for the introduction of fresh evidence.”

The board held a preliminary hearing regarding the motion in early January.