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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Developer Says Land Is Riddled With Bombs

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - After military training exercises, Canada abandoned 1,350 acres in British Columbia riddled with "unexploded bombs, mortar shells, grenades and other devices all or which had been primed, fused and armed," a developer claims in B.C. Supreme Court.

Lead plaintiff K & L Land Partnership claims the federal government abandoned the 1,349 acres in interior British Columbia after using it for military training during World War II.

K & L Land claims it bought the property in 2005 for $15 million, then spent another $13.5 million to prime the land for a residential development in Vernon, B.C.

The "unexploded ordnances," according to the complaint, are "in some instances buried or covered so that the hazard they pose to life, limb or property would not be apparent to users."

K & L claims that at least nine people were killed or wounded by the munitions left on the land between 1944 and 1973.

It claims that the Canadian government knew of and "intentionally concealed" the risks until admitting liability to the plaintiffs in 2011.

It claims the government has refused to remove all the unexploded ordnance, or UXO, from the land and agreed to conduct a risk assessment but claims it is unable to remove all the hazardous materials.

"Had the plaintiffs been warned of the existence of UXO on and in the lands and the risk of injury that such UXO poses, either personal or economic, the plaintiffs would not have purchased the lands," the complaint states. "The lands cannot reasonably be developed and sold by the plaintiffs as a residential subdivision and have no other or negligible commercial value. Rather, the ownership of the lands represents a liability to the plaintiffs."

The developer is represented by Howard Shapray and Stephen M. Fitterman, with Shapray Cramer, of Vancouver.

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