'I think it's a crime'

Dave Bartlett
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Kilbride man unhappy with price for expropriated land

A Kilbride man who had 11.5 acres of his land expropriated by the City of St. John's says the price he's being paid is criminal.

Bernard Healy co-owned the large wooded plot at the top of Densmore's Lane in Kilbride, where the city is currently building a $36-million water-treatment plant.

A Kilbride man who had 11.5 acres of his land expropriated by the City of St. John's says the price he's being paid is criminal.

Bernard Healy co-owned the large wooded plot at the top of Densmore's Lane in Kilbride, where the city is currently building a $36-million water-treatment plant.

"I had a knock on my door one day (in 2005) from the sheriff's office, and they passed in expropriation papers," Healy said.

The appraised value on the papers was $2,000 an acre, a total of $23,000.

Healy says down the road on Griffin's Lane, a developer just bought land for $50,000 an acre.

"I think it's a crime and everybody I speak to thinks it's a crime," he says.

John Dinn is the MHA for Kilbride.

'Ridiculous' price

He calls the price the city is offering Healy ridiculous.

"I think it's a total injustice to ask someone to take $23,000 for 11.5 acres of land in St. John's," says Dinn, who is also the former city councillor for the area.

"The wood on that would be worth that, sure," he says.

Dinn says he did some research and found out cabin lots near an old prison camp on the Salmonier Line are going for $39,000 an acre.

Healy's land is zoned open reserve, which means it's worth less because it can't be developed.

But Dinn says the city rezones land all the time and the potential for development is there.

According to Dinn, it was zoned open reserve years ago because of water pressure issues.

But he says, since then a pump station was put at the bottom of Densmore's Lane and the water-treatment plant that's going on the expropriated land will be serviced.

Dinn says he plans to talk to some councillors about the issue and he thinks if the issue goes to court, Healy has a good case.

Healy has hired a lawyer.

"To appreciate the value of the property you actually have to come on-site and take a look," Healy says, standing in the clearing where heavy machinery are busy preparing the land for construction.

He says there's room at the top of Densmore's Lane for an access road into the plant as well as three or four executive building lots, which he'd like to see the city develop.

Healy says that would solve another problem.

Because it's a dead end, in the night time young people often go there to drink and do other "unacceptable activities," he says.

Healy says people have driven up and left notes in his mailbox asking him to sell the land which he couldn't because of the zoning restrictions.

Because of the interest and the potential, Healy says "$50,000 per acre wouldn't be unreasonable," for the city to pay him for the land.

Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins declined to comment on the issue because of a possible court challenge.

City commissioner Ron Penney says it's the city's opinion the land is not developable.

And he says the land was appraised and the city has documents to back up its decision on its value.

"If the person is dissatisfied then there's a right to have the matter adjudicated by the Public Utilities Board," says Penney.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Griffin's, Public Utilities Board

Geographic location: Kilbride, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • j
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    government's actions make the mafia seem like choir boys...gotta love our Democracy !

    • Scarlett
      December 19, 2012 - 13:55

      I totally agree, thanks for the article. And don't even get me started on property appraisal, it's hard to find trustworthy people nowadays!

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    This is just plain robbery. Not acceptable and even though my taxes will pay for it, the man should be given fair value for what he owns. I concede that there are times that land may need to be expropriated, despite an owner not wanting to sell. But they must still get a fair deal on it. Hope he goes to court and wins, and hopefully this will make the gov'ts take notice. Same has happened out around Torbay where $1000/acre is what was given, and on good, usable land. Ridiculous!!

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Hope you did not cash the cheque. Take it to court. That will hold things up for years. Develop YOUR land before they do and your fine.

    If you spent it, your loss.

  • Julia
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    That is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous!!! Hold your ground Mr. Healy; your land is worth so much more!

  • GDNFLF
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Willie Hunt from Pouch Cove, NL writes: Plaques on park benches are unsightly and shouldn't be permitted at all. It borders on vandalism in my opinion.

    Pathetic. I don't want to hijack the thread, but this man wants to put a plaque in memory of his wife on a bench, and you compare it to vandalism? Get a grip. Someone always has to put a negative spin on something.

  • Cliff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Mr. Healy, find a good lawyer and have a property appraisal done. Based on the value of raw land sales in the past 12 months or so, it would seem this property is worth much much more, as the the CSJ is well aware. They're trying to rob you!

  • Wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Just as a matter of interest, the city of St. Johns has a plot of land on Bay Bulls road listed at $59,999.00 which is 5000 sg ft. Now that works out to $12.00 a sq ft. Sooooooo if you have 11.6 acres,roughly 43,560 sq ft to an acre times 12.00 a sq ft you come up with the paltry sum of $6,063,552.00!!!!! Seems to me that the city is a tad shy of making a fair offer to the gentleman! He should at least be getting $200,000.00 per acre. A small amount for the water treatment plant that will service the city for many years to come. If I were he I would tie this up in court and it will cost the city a lot more in the long run! Stand up for the tax payer , they aren't making any more land and it is worth every penny! Thank You for your time and I hope it all works out in favour of Mr. Healy!

  • Brett
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I wonder what the fellow was paying in property tax for the land? Would he be comfortable paying 10-20x the amount if the land is deemed as worth more?

    Yes - take it to court - find an arbitrator - but thinking the city is a bottomless pit of money to pay premium prices for land that is currently valueless - and will only have value once the city builds the water plant - that WILL be built on that land - is ridiculous.

    Maybe 2,000 acre is low - but 40-60,000 an acre for supposedly undevelopable land seems extremely high to me.

  • angry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Another exposure of the incompitance among the City managment .I am not sure who decided this poor mans land
    is basically worthless. But a purge of the decision makers seems to be in order.
    please citizens and counsel members of St Johns this is unacceptable if it is allowed to happen what is next. The man could grow hay on 11.5 acres of land and make more than 23000/ year. The time has come to peacefully put an end to the callous behavior of city managment. Making them accountable I think would be the first step. How was this allowed to happen. We are in deep trouble citizens ,spew your venom!

  • NLGirl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Hold onto your land Mr.Healy.
    If the city is selling land for way more than what they are offering this man it's time to step back and look at who is in the positions that are allowing this.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Yeah , no big surprise , try buyin it for the price they gave you , makes ya wonder how much the appraiser lined his pockets with

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Come on!!! $2000 per acre of stinky old land in Kilbride? You should take the offer arm and all!

  • james
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    talk to williams one of his minnows must have made a mistake

  • former Kilbride resident
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    We purchased an acrea of land on Densmores Lane in 1971 for $3200 and the value of property in that area has increased dramatically since then. I'm very familiar with the property Mr. Healy refers to and it is worth much more than what the city has offered. Laws and rules change and this property could be developed in the future. When that happends this property would be very valuable for it's view of the city & Mt. Pearl. The city should not be able to just take property owned by tax payers as the purchase price they determined is the same as taking the land. Good luck Bernard, I hope this time you beat city hall.

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Iagree the price per acre is well below market value and I am sure Mr. Ron Penney would also agree if the land belonged to him.
    James, you bring me back to my school days. I could not write an essay worth a dam but I was good at biographies. In a exam I had to write a essay so in my wisdom I wrote it in the form of a biography and aced it!!! You do the same with a news story, it did not have anything to do with Danny or the provincial govt. But did that stop you,No way man!! You just found a way to write something where you could get Danny in it and spew your venom. Congratulations man.

  • Willie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Plaques on park benches are unsightly and shouldn't be permitted at all. It borders on vandalism in my opinion.

    Willie Hunt
    Pouch Cove NL

  • Suzanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Well Nasty Nate...do you think the city will approve his development? Think.

    If they want to expropriate the land they certainly aren't going to give the thumbs up for Mr. Healey to develop it.

  • Kay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I too agree that it is a crime ..... why should the city be able to just come in and expropriate land anyway?

    If I had land, it would be mine? What's next? The city will want to build more houses and tell us we do not need backyards, so they are taking the land back?

    I know it will be a hard battle in court going up against a level of government, even if it is only municipal, but Mr. Healey good luck and I hope you win so that not only will you get what your land is worth, but you will send a message that this type of behaviour by our government is not acceptable under any means!

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Good advise from Nasty Nate take it and tie it up in court
    Good luck

  • Loyola
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    The city is offering Mr. Healey $2000.00/acre for his land .Fair market value according to the city.I was interested in placing a plaque on an existing bench in Bowring Park in memory of my wife.I was told by the city that I would have to buy the existing bench in order to have a plaque placed on the bench.Cost of the bench and plaque $3000.00.Fair market value?

  • whatatreatment
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    2k/acre is a slap in the face. Hold your ground Mr. Healy.

    James: What the hick Danny got to do with this? In the words of the Premier Goose Egg .

    Willie: I think nonconstructive comments like yours borders on vandalism. have some respect!

    Donny: You post comments everyday but never have anything useful to say. how much is an acre of land in booming vibrator country?

    If you don't have anything educated or useful to say ...

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Good advise from Nasty Nate take it and tie it up in court
    Good luck

  • Donna
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    $2000 per acre is what the City says it is worth. Maybe it is time for the City to review all municipal proeprty tax billings in the area, as land values MUST be over-assessed, if the City says it is only worth that amount. If I had land in that area, I would get a reassessment on my property, and refuse to pay anymore than what the City says this man's property is worth. SHAME on the City.

  • DeeBee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Just because they're a level of government doesn't give them the right to take what they want and offer you what they feel is fair. There should have been some negotiation and research done after the city decided it wanted the land that involved the owner. That's the right way to negotiate a sale. Of course City Council doesn't feel they need to justify its actions to the people who elected them... that's just ludicrous.


    On another note, I don't mean to keep the off-topic conversation going, but I agree with Willie Hunt - plaques on park benches (for whatever reason) are unsightly and unnecessary. What if everyone wanted to do this? We'd have parks full of plaques. I don't go to a park to look at plaques and really feel this practice should be stopped. Whoever allowed this little money-making venture on behalf of city or provincial governments to commence should be tarred & feathered. And say you did pay $3k for this...who is to stop it from being vandalized? Who pays for cleaning it up or restoring it if it is? Complete and utter nonsense...

  • Eleanor
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    The expropriation of Bernard Healy's property (11.5 acres) in exchange for the paltry sum of $23,000 is nothing short of THEFT. Where are the other Councillors and Mayoral candidates on this? Is it fair that a few people at City Hall can take someone else's property because of their opinion of its' value? Who really runs the City? A note to all property owners - This could happen to you also!

  • j
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    government's actions make the mafia seem like choir boys...gotta love our Democracy !

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    This is just plain robbery. Not acceptable and even though my taxes will pay for it, the man should be given fair value for what he owns. I concede that there are times that land may need to be expropriated, despite an owner not wanting to sell. But they must still get a fair deal on it. Hope he goes to court and wins, and hopefully this will make the gov'ts take notice. Same has happened out around Torbay where $1000/acre is what was given, and on good, usable land. Ridiculous!!

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Hope you did not cash the cheque. Take it to court. That will hold things up for years. Develop YOUR land before they do and your fine.

    If you spent it, your loss.

  • Julia
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    That is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous!!! Hold your ground Mr. Healy; your land is worth so much more!

  • GDNFLF
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Willie Hunt from Pouch Cove, NL writes: Plaques on park benches are unsightly and shouldn't be permitted at all. It borders on vandalism in my opinion.

    Pathetic. I don't want to hijack the thread, but this man wants to put a plaque in memory of his wife on a bench, and you compare it to vandalism? Get a grip. Someone always has to put a negative spin on something.

  • Cliff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Mr. Healy, find a good lawyer and have a property appraisal done. Based on the value of raw land sales in the past 12 months or so, it would seem this property is worth much much more, as the the CSJ is well aware. They're trying to rob you!

  • Wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Just as a matter of interest, the city of St. Johns has a plot of land on Bay Bulls road listed at $59,999.00 which is 5000 sg ft. Now that works out to $12.00 a sq ft. Sooooooo if you have 11.6 acres,roughly 43,560 sq ft to an acre times 12.00 a sq ft you come up with the paltry sum of $6,063,552.00!!!!! Seems to me that the city is a tad shy of making a fair offer to the gentleman! He should at least be getting $200,000.00 per acre. A small amount for the water treatment plant that will service the city for many years to come. If I were he I would tie this up in court and it will cost the city a lot more in the long run! Stand up for the tax payer , they aren't making any more land and it is worth every penny! Thank You for your time and I hope it all works out in favour of Mr. Healy!

  • Brett
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I wonder what the fellow was paying in property tax for the land? Would he be comfortable paying 10-20x the amount if the land is deemed as worth more?

    Yes - take it to court - find an arbitrator - but thinking the city is a bottomless pit of money to pay premium prices for land that is currently valueless - and will only have value once the city builds the water plant - that WILL be built on that land - is ridiculous.

    Maybe 2,000 acre is low - but 40-60,000 an acre for supposedly undevelopable land seems extremely high to me.

  • angry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Another exposure of the incompitance among the City managment .I am not sure who decided this poor mans land
    is basically worthless. But a purge of the decision makers seems to be in order.
    please citizens and counsel members of St Johns this is unacceptable if it is allowed to happen what is next. The man could grow hay on 11.5 acres of land and make more than 23000/ year. The time has come to peacefully put an end to the callous behavior of city managment. Making them accountable I think would be the first step. How was this allowed to happen. We are in deep trouble citizens ,spew your venom!

  • NLGirl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Hold onto your land Mr.Healy.
    If the city is selling land for way more than what they are offering this man it's time to step back and look at who is in the positions that are allowing this.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Yeah , no big surprise , try buyin it for the price they gave you , makes ya wonder how much the appraiser lined his pockets with

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Come on!!! $2000 per acre of stinky old land in Kilbride? You should take the offer arm and all!

  • james
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    talk to williams one of his minnows must have made a mistake

  • former Kilbride resident
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    We purchased an acrea of land on Densmores Lane in 1971 for $3200 and the value of property in that area has increased dramatically since then. I'm very familiar with the property Mr. Healy refers to and it is worth much more than what the city has offered. Laws and rules change and this property could be developed in the future. When that happends this property would be very valuable for it's view of the city & Mt. Pearl. The city should not be able to just take property owned by tax payers as the purchase price they determined is the same as taking the land. Good luck Bernard, I hope this time you beat city hall.

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Iagree the price per acre is well below market value and I am sure Mr. Ron Penney would also agree if the land belonged to him.
    James, you bring me back to my school days. I could not write an essay worth a dam but I was good at biographies. In a exam I had to write a essay so in my wisdom I wrote it in the form of a biography and aced it!!! You do the same with a news story, it did not have anything to do with Danny or the provincial govt. But did that stop you,No way man!! You just found a way to write something where you could get Danny in it and spew your venom. Congratulations man.

  • Willie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Plaques on park benches are unsightly and shouldn't be permitted at all. It borders on vandalism in my opinion.

    Willie Hunt
    Pouch Cove NL

  • Suzanne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Well Nasty Nate...do you think the city will approve his development? Think.

    If they want to expropriate the land they certainly aren't going to give the thumbs up for Mr. Healey to develop it.

  • Kay
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I too agree that it is a crime ..... why should the city be able to just come in and expropriate land anyway?

    If I had land, it would be mine? What's next? The city will want to build more houses and tell us we do not need backyards, so they are taking the land back?

    I know it will be a hard battle in court going up against a level of government, even if it is only municipal, but Mr. Healey good luck and I hope you win so that not only will you get what your land is worth, but you will send a message that this type of behaviour by our government is not acceptable under any means!

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Good advise from Nasty Nate take it and tie it up in court
    Good luck

  • Loyola
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    The city is offering Mr. Healey $2000.00/acre for his land .Fair market value according to the city.I was interested in placing a plaque on an existing bench in Bowring Park in memory of my wife.I was told by the city that I would have to buy the existing bench in order to have a plaque placed on the bench.Cost of the bench and plaque $3000.00.Fair market value?

  • whatatreatment
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    2k/acre is a slap in the face. Hold your ground Mr. Healy.

    James: What the hick Danny got to do with this? In the words of the Premier Goose Egg .

    Willie: I think nonconstructive comments like yours borders on vandalism. have some respect!

    Donny: You post comments everyday but never have anything useful to say. how much is an acre of land in booming vibrator country?

    If you don't have anything educated or useful to say ...

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Good advise from Nasty Nate take it and tie it up in court
    Good luck

  • Donna
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    $2000 per acre is what the City says it is worth. Maybe it is time for the City to review all municipal proeprty tax billings in the area, as land values MUST be over-assessed, if the City says it is only worth that amount. If I had land in that area, I would get a reassessment on my property, and refuse to pay anymore than what the City says this man's property is worth. SHAME on the City.

  • DeeBee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Just because they're a level of government doesn't give them the right to take what they want and offer you what they feel is fair. There should have been some negotiation and research done after the city decided it wanted the land that involved the owner. That's the right way to negotiate a sale. Of course City Council doesn't feel they need to justify its actions to the people who elected them... that's just ludicrous.


    On another note, I don't mean to keep the off-topic conversation going, but I agree with Willie Hunt - plaques on park benches (for whatever reason) are unsightly and unnecessary. What if everyone wanted to do this? We'd have parks full of plaques. I don't go to a park to look at plaques and really feel this practice should be stopped. Whoever allowed this little money-making venture on behalf of city or provincial governments to commence should be tarred & feathered. And say you did pay $3k for this...who is to stop it from being vandalized? Who pays for cleaning it up or restoring it if it is? Complete and utter nonsense...

  • Eleanor
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    The expropriation of Bernard Healy's property (11.5 acres) in exchange for the paltry sum of $23,000 is nothing short of THEFT. Where are the other Councillors and Mayoral candidates on this? Is it fair that a few people at City Hall can take someone else's property because of their opinion of its' value? Who really runs the City? A note to all property owners - This could happen to you also!