Powder Mountain lawsuit dismissed
A lawsuit which alleged former Premier Bill Vander Zalm interfered with a public process, blocking efforts by Dianne and Nan Hartwick to develop Powder Mountain as a ski resort, has been dismissed.
"We’re obviously not happy," Bryan Shapiro, lawyer for the Hartwicks, said Wednesday. "Mr. Justice David Tysoe threw it out and we’re going to appeal. But that won’t happen until next spring, if we’re lucky."
The Hartwicks suit, which named Vander Zalm and the provincial government, went to trial May 17. The two-month trial heard testimony from high-profile public figures such as former provincial cabinet minister Grace McCarthy, who testified for the defence.
"The court basically said we (the Hartwicks’ company Powder Mountain Resorts Ltd.) were never in a contractual situation. I’ve been working with them for nine years and that’s news to me," Shapiro said.
"Between the negotiations with the province and the court proceedings, this thing’s been going on for close to 15 years," Shapiro added.
Powder Mountain, in the Callaghan Valley south of Whistler, was the subject of several ski area proposals in the 1970s and ’80s. The mother-daughter team of Nan and Dianne Hartwick had negotiated with the province for two years for the rights to develop Powder Mountain and claimed they had reached a tentative agreement.
But the Hartwicks alleged Vander Zalm interfered with the public process in 1987, overruling Lands Minister Jack Kempf, who they say was about to award them the right to study development of Powder Mountain. Instead the rights were awarded to Callaghan Resorts Inc.
Callaghan Resorts never submitted a development plan for the proposed destination resort.
The Hartwicks were seeking $2.3 million in damages plus interest, for a total of about $5 million.
Shapiro said Wednesday that the Hartwicks are out millions of dollars.