Imperial Oil claims City of White Rock undervalued former gas station site targeted for expropriation

BIV's lawsuit of the week

1510 Johnston Road, White Rock | Google Maps

Imperial Oil Ltd. is suing the Corporation of the City of White Rock after the city allegedly shortchanged the oil company when it expropriated the site of a former gas station.

Imperial Oil filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on May 26, claiming the city expropriated the lands at 1510 Johnston Road in June 2018 for $4,868,100. The 14,420-square-foot site had been vacant for two decades at the time, according to the claim, and fronts “onto a busy arterial road and surrounded by and abutting onto properties used for retail commercial purposes.”

The company claims the city zoned the lands for commercial and residential use as part of White Rock’s official community plan. The lands are designated as part of the city’s “Town Centre” under the plan “envisaging mixed use multi-unit residential and commercial redevelopment with primarily mid-rise to high-rise buildings,” the claim states.

Since the highest and best use of the lands had potential for high to medium density, Imperial Oil claims the true market value of the lands is “substantially higher” than the price paid by the city.

“The Defendant mistakenly relied on an appraisal report that undervalued the Lands,” the claim states. “The Payment tendered to the Plaintiff is insufficient to meet the requirement under the [Expropriation Act] to compensate the Plaintiff for the Expropriation of the Lands.”

The BC Assessment Authority database shows the lands with a 2018 assessment of $3.21 million.

Imperial Oil is applying to the court to determine the amount due for the expropriation under the act, and seeks a judgment for the difference. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and the City of White Rock had not filed a response by press time.