When Joyce Anna Scott died in May, she died a tenant of a home she’d spent half her life trying to buy back from the government. Now, her kids are making a last-ditch effort to keep the four-hectare farm they grew up on.
Despite living there since 1958, the house hasn’t belonged to their parents for 44 years. It was expropriated by the provincial government in support of a simultaneous federal expropriation, for the Pickering Airport and North Pickering Community development projects.
Though an airport was never built, the land is still owned by the government — so, the family explained, the government is taking it back unless daughters Laura Alderson and Melissa Preston can argue their case next week.
The sisters argue that the home’s land was transferred to the Ontario Land Corporation in October 1979 without what they say was a promise of an opportunity to repurchase it. It was then transferred again in 2004 to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
The first piece of evidence they’re pointing to is a pamphlet dropped in the 1970s from the Ontario government, which said if the government didn’t end up needing their home, “you will be offered the chance to recover ownership at the same price you were paid initially.”
That second is a letter from Minister of Industry and Tourism Claude F. Bennett, saying that any homes that were compatible with their plans for redevelopment “which is scheduled for completion by the end of 1974,” would be available for repurchase by the owners at their original price.
Joyce’s lawyer Stephen D’Agostino advised the siblings to send a letter to the authority pleading their case.
“If land is expropriated for a purpose and that purpose is no longer being pursued by the authority, the authority is required, subject to some requirements of the expropriations act, to offer that land back,” D’Agostino said.
But, while a final decision is on the horizon, there’s been no indication whether the Scott’s children will be successful. Either way, they say they had to make an attempt.
Read FULL article by Victoria Gibson as it appeared in the Toronto Star: ‘After their mother’s death, siblings make a last-ditch effort to buy back her home’
For more information, please contact municipal lawyer Stephen D’Agostino at 416-868-3126.