A long-running legal battle between Prince George lumber manufacturer John Brink and BCR Properties Ltd. over the state of the site where he had planned to build a sawmill has come to an end.
A consent dismissal order was filed Dec. 12 stating that the proceeding be dismissed without costs to any party and that the dismissal is "for all purposes of the same force and effect as if judgment had been pronounced after a hearing of this action on its merits."
The order is signed by the lawyers representing Brink and BCR Properties.
The matter - a dispute over the condition of a property at 1077 Boundary Rd. in the in the BCR Industrial Site - had been set to go to trial this past Monday and was to last 44 days, according to a trial brief submitted by BCR Properties.
Consent dismissal orders are typically issued when the plaintiff has decided there is no chance of getting a favourable judgment or the parties have reached an out of court settlement. Neither Brink nor BCR Properties returned phone calls from the Citizen for requests for comment.
However, a land title search shows the property was transferred to a new owner - a numbered company with the same River Road address where Brink Forest Products Ltd. is located - on Dec. 11, the day before the order was filed at the courthouse in Prince George. The market value was $1.5 million according to a transfer document.
Brink had been leasing the site with an option to purchase.
In mid-2005, Brink had started construction of a new sawmill at the site. With the region's forests awash in beetle-killed pine, time was of the essence and the aim was to have the operation up and running.
Within six months Brink had constructed the foundations and the mill's superstructure and had installed a number of machines with the intent to start processing logs by the coming winter.
But then the worked stopped and in 2009 the first of a series of lawsuits was filed in a dispute over the property's fair value.
Brink had claimed BCR Properties neglected to inform him the site included a 22-acre landfill containing a number of toxic substances. He alleged it effectively reduced the amount of land that could be used for the mill to 60 acres from the expected 100 and that it would cost $12.75 million to remediate the site.
BCR Properties had denied all the allegations.