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2014-04-08 at 17:17

Lawsuit filed

By Matt Vis,
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The owner of a generating station on the Current River dam has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Documents obtained by show that Current River Hydro Partnership Generating Station owner Robert Whiteside filed the lawsuit in Superior Court on April 4. He is seeking $7.2 million.

When reached on the phone Tuesday, Whiteside confirmed the lawsuit was filed last week, but added that he was unable to discuss any further details with media.

"We tried hard to resolve this before we ended up going down this road, but now we're in front of the courts and I can't compromise things," Whiteside said.

The lawsuit claims the city violated a March 1985 agreement with the Current River Hydro Partnership Generating Station and has filed an injunction looking to halt operation of the fish ladders and stop diverting water from the generator.

It alleges the city has “reneged on its obligation to provide the requisite amount of water” while still receiving five per cent of the gross revenue produced.

The plaintiffs are suing for $4.8 million in damages for lost income, $2 million in exemplary and punitive damages as well as $400,000 in damages for breach of contract.

Among the claims in the suit, it is alleged the city closed the intake valves to the generator in September 2013 to regulate water flow to the fish ladder.

It adds the diversion damaged the generator and compromised performance, saying city engineers should have known restricting the water flow during operation would have caused problems.

It also alleges it is alleged the city may have played a role in 2002 of Thunder Bay Hydro backing out of its agreement with the generating station, thus forcing Whiteside to sell power to the Ontario Power Authority at a reduced cost.

The lawsuit is also pursuing a mandatory order requiring the city to prevent leakage from the dam.

When reached via email, city manager Tim Commisso said the city solicitor is dealing with it and will report to council later this month for instruction.

(With files from Jamie Smith)

Follow Matt Vis on Twitter: @MattVis

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