Wednesday, May 22, 2024
May 22, 2024

Nonprofits settle Seabreeze court case

Much of the legal conflict surrounding the former Seabreeze Inne has been resolved, according to a flurry of terse but decisive court documents released this week. And as two Salt Spring nonprofit societies seek to refocus themselves on their charitable work, a call has gone out for rental accommodation for two people remaining at the Bittancourt Road building. 

According to filings with B.C.’s Supreme Court and confirmed by both parties, the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation’s (LMHF) legal action against Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) has been dismissed without costs payable to any party — an agreed settlement, according to LMHF board chair Janet Cunningham, ending a dispute that has been ongoing since October 2022. 

“The action against SSICS has been settled and the Seabreeze Inne is almost entirely vacant,” said Cunningham, “because of people voluntarily leaving, or because of the court order requiring them to leave.” 

That June 23 interlocutory court judgement had ordered two of six people still living in the building to vacate; of the remaining four, according to Cunningham, two are still living at the property — but BC Housing staff are working with them to find and rent acceptable on-island accommodations. 

“Anything the community can do to help provide rental accommodation to the two remaining individuals would be welcomed,” said Cunningham, who characterized their needs as two one-bedroom, studio or basement suites at market rent. “The foundation can forward any such opportunities to BC Housing and assist with the move.” 

SSICS (now simply ICS) executive director Rob Grant confirmed the court’s consent order, expressing frustration with a legal case he said had cost the society more than $50,000 in legal bills and “hundreds of hours wasted.” 

“We are glad this part of the Seabreeze saga is over,” said Grant. “One nonprofit suing another is ridiculous.” 

B.C.’s Supreme Court also issued a consent order to dismiss LMHF’s third-party action against the property-holding entity administered by BC Housing, the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, again without costs payable to any party. PRHC entered into a lease agreement with LMHF to use space at the former Seabreeze Inne shortly after the foundation purchased the property in 2022.  

Meanwhile, LMHF says it has begun decommissioning the building at 101 Bittancourt Rd., in preparation for its plans to convert the former hotel into 17 rental units for hospital staff. Cunningham said the foundation thanked the community for their continued support.  

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