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County gives Public Health right to rent-to-build

by David Meyer

GUELPH - It took a special meeting of county council on Sept. 7 to help Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) avoid a legal snag its court battle with Guelph.

County council held a special meeting to give the health unit the right to rent property and build a building on it.

The move is part of an ongoing squabble in the past couple of years, as the City of Guelph has opposed a new public health building. Guelph is arguing in court this week that WDGPH does not have the right to run up a bill of $10 million for the city.

Public health wants two new headquarters: one in Guelph and one in Orangeville for a total of $22 million. The payments would be apportioned by population, with Guelph paying 49%, Dufferin 21% and Wellington 33%.

Warden Chris White said in an interview after the meeting the county had given WDGPH formal permission to buy land in Guelph for a new building. It also gave Public Health the right to buy land in Orangeville for a new building in that community.

White said the problem is, while WDGPH obtained land in Dufferin County, it had eventually decided to lease land from the University of Guelph in the city. He said rather than have the city be able to argue a legal technicality, giving permission to rent land in Guelph would stop that argument.

“Dufferin is doing it this week, too,” White said of giving WDGPH permission to lease land in the city.

The county is now fully involved in the legal dispute and the case was started in Guelph court on Sept. 12.

“We were named by the city a few months ago,” White explained. “We were watching from the sidelines anyway.”

The case was heard on Monday and Justice David Price told the parties he would let them know his decision soon.

White said the county is well aware WDGPH’s lease in Guelph is running out, and that it needs time to erect the new building.

 

 

September 16, 2011

 
 

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