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Rainbow Park lawsuit costs to be determined by Court in January

Lawyers could negotiate a resolution in the coming months

The final tally on what could be one of Whistler's most expensive legal suits may not be known until early next year.

That's when a court date has been set to resolve the million-dollar plus settlement of the Rainbow Park expropriation lawsuit.

In March the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the Resort Municipality of Whistler owed at least $1.3 million to the Saxton family for land that is now Rainbow Park.

What still has to be determined, however, is just how much the RMOW owes in costs and interests in the 22-year battle.

"As the successful party in the action, Rainbow is entitled to interest and costs (based on a tariff)," explained Sharon Fugman, the RMOW's manager of legal services and special projects, via an email.

"It is not uncommon if the parties cannot agree to the calculation of the costs and/or interest, that the matter is set down before a Registrar for the Supreme Court of British Columbia to resolve these. This matter has been set down before the Registrar for January."

It is possible, however, that the RMOW could negotiate a resolution with Rainbow in the interim, Fugman said.

The battle has been going on in the courts since 1987 when the municipality expropriated 44 hectares of land on Alta Lake to create Rainbow Park. The Saxton family owned the land and has long argued that the settlement of $367,000 back in the day was too low. In March 2010 a court sided with the Saxtons and awarded the family $1.3 million.

The RMOW intended to appeal that decision but its legal counsel failed to file the necessary documents in a timely manner. At the time the judge said Whistler's appeal was "bound to fail" regardless of the performance of its legal team. And so, the $1.3 million judgment stuck and with it came the interest and costs.

The municipality has set aside just over $1 million under the line-item "Possible Claims" in the 2011-2015 financial plan. That is the best estimate at this point for litigation ($750,000) and insurance claims ($300,000).

In total, there is a $3 million provision made in the 2010 financial statements for the Rainbow settlement.