Puslinch farm taking Ministry of Transportation to Ontario Land Tribunal

Burnhaven Farms seeks $1.5 million in damages after land expropriated for new Highway 6 interchange

PUSLINCH – A Puslinch farm is taking the Ministry of Transportation to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) after some of its land was expropriated for Highway 6/401 improvements.

Burnhaven Farms Inc., located at 7342 Wellington Road 34, filed a notice of arbitration and statement of claim with the OLT in January.

Burnhaven is seeking $1.5 million from the MTO for expenses it must incur to continue its farming operation, as well as for money wasted and income lost as a result of the expropriation.

The MTO is planning to build a new interchange on the Hanlon Expressway (Highway 6) between Wellington Road 34 and Maltby Road that will direct traffic onto Concession 7 and then onto Wellington Road 34 from the new off ramp.

To do this, some of Burnhaven’s property was expropriated and the farm was paid $30,400 per acre for the land, according to the statement of claim.

The land acquisition was made in July of 2017.

Burnhaven runs a mixed-use farming operation, raising cattle, corn and hay as feed, and other cash crops on its 95-acre property with 27 acres for cash crop, 37 acres of pasture and 30 acres are forested.

It also leases land from neighbouring farms on Concession 7 – 87.5 acres from Wozniak farm; 47.5 acres from Bauchum farm; 69.3 acres from Hydro One; 53.5 acres from IAMAT; and 30 acres from Gordon farm – and some of this land was also expropriated.

“Burnhaven’s farming operations on its own lands and its operations on the leased properties were adversely impacted by expropriations of Burnhaven property and the leased properties by the ministry and works relating to these expropriations,” reads the statement of claim.

The MTO expropriated two acres of pasture and workable land from the Burnhaven property, 26 acres from the Wozniak Farm, and one acre from the Bauchum Farm in 2017.

The following year, Burnhaven entered a permission-to-use agreement with the MTO to continue to use this land until Dec. 31, 2018.

Burnhaven continued to lease this land on a month-to-month basis.

Burnhaven claims it fertilized and sprayed the Wozniak Farm lands for the 2018 season “but was prevented from entering the lands once possession was taken by the ministry in late 2018,” according to the statement of claim.

“Burnhaven abandoned farming those lands as a result.”

Burnhaven is seeking compensation for:

  • $15,000 cost to clear additional pasture area at Burnhaven Farms to replace the lost pasture area;
  • $40,000 cost for new fencing;
  • $200,000 to replace trees and shelter for cattle;
  • $250,000 to relocate its nutrient management system and purchase a new manure spreader;
  • $40,000 for loan interest to cover legal, appraisal and other professional fees;
  • $25,000 for lost time Burnhaven executives have spent working on the expropriation;
  • $500,000 for past and continuing disruption to its business; and
  • $120,000 for “injurious affection” as its operation will be affected by increased traffic, road salt, lost frontage on Concession 7, and alterations to drainage.

No date has been set for the hearing.

The Ministry of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Preliminary work on the interchange began last summer and work should begin in earnest this spring.