Part of popular Brockville trail blocked over land dispute
BROCKVILLE, ONT. -- Developer Marco Malovic blocked off a section of the Brock Trail in Brockville's north end on Wednesday morning, citing he still owns the land.
Malovic, who lives beside the trail on Aspen Drive, says the land was donated to the city in 2016 to expand the trail, but the city has never taken ownership.
"It's been over three years, they never had the land transferred into their name," said Malovic, standing in front of orange snow fence with a no trespassing sign.
"I pay all the liability insurance; I still pay property tax on the lands. I've questioned it for more than three years now and I'm getting no response and they have not fulfilled all of our agreement," he said.
Part of the original agreement was that a plaque honouring his father, developer Joe Malovic, be placed on the nearby bridge along the trail.
"My family donated land, which we did as a gesture of good faith, to the city. They required it to move quickly because they were getting a grant to go ahead with this (trail expansion)," Malovic said.
He also claims the city took more than what was offered and put a berm of soil at the end of his property.
"They went ahead did whatever they wanted. They even exceeded what they were supposed to do on my property, took more than they were supposed to, but I'm still willing to end this quickly," Malovic said.
He sat down with the city in a meeting on Thursday to discuss how it could be easily resolved.
"It was a very open meeting and things were discussed and I suggested the cheapest way for the city to take this land over and the quickest way," Malovic said. "I do not want to be compensated at all. I just want them to take it over so I am off liability insurance."
Residents in the neighbourhood are hoping for the issues to be resolved quickly as well.
"There's got to be at least 200 people a day coming down this trail," said Cec Drake, who lives nearby.
"The people were upset when they came by on Wednesday, and rightly so. It's a beautiful trail. We need to get this open. It doesn't need to stay shut."
Martin Kaldeway lives on the west side of the trail and agreed.
"This is crazy," he said, pointing to the fence.
"We watch the people coming there all the time. It's so enjoyable to see all the families with children and bikers coming down the trail." kaldeway said. "This is ridiculous the way it's going. It seems to me the developer has a legitimate beef here that needs to be addressed. We hope that this is going to be settled sooner rather than later."
CTV News reached out to city hall and Brockville mayor Jason Baker on Friday, but no one was available for comment.
Just north of the trail, Malovic is also waiting on approval to build on Webster Crescent, with paperwork being held up in Toronto since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The new street needs to be registered as part of the Bridlewood subdivision.
"Well, its a double standard." Malovic said.
"I have one item that needs to be completed on a new development and that is sitting in Toronto because of the logjam," Malovic added. "They (the city) took more than three years for this agreement and have still not completed the agreement and we have one item remaining but because of the pandemic, the logjam, I cannot go ahead. They want that agreement fully fulfilled before any houses are built."
"We acted in good faith, and I just ask that they act in good faith because there is 100 Brockville citizens at least that work on every house of ours," Malovic said.
Malovic was hoping to build 10 houses this year, but with everything delayed that might not happen.
"Every week that this is delayed we might lose 1 or 2 homes because we like getting our foundations in by the middle of November," Malovic added.
He also noted that clients looking for new homes in the subdivision have now found homes in other towns since there is no inventory here.
"We have, right now, people (looking to move here) renting in Kingston and if we don't get started here shortly, they may enjoy Kingston and decide to buy there," he said.
"The city only benefits," Malovic added. "They get a number of permits and development charges for each house we build plus the permanent revenue for the economy in property tax. Plus, more than 100 residents are waiting to see if they have work for the winter doing construction," he added.
"We acted in good faith, please accommodate us. Act in good faith. Let's all move forward together. We need to work together in the future as well," Malovic said.
"I hope the two parties continue to work together to get this resolved quickly. One, so that we can open this trail and, two, get building over here so people can get back to work."