The Municipality of Port Hope will appeal the recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice judgment in the case of Angus & Ross v The Corporation of the Municipality of Port Hope regarding the $10 million rural LLRW fund.
Mayor Bob Sanderson announced the decision to appeal at Tuesday’s Council meeting, “The court has established that the fund is a valid non-charitable purpose trust, for which the Municipality is trustee, and the Trust will collapse in just under six years on April 12, 2022.
“In declaring the fund a non-charitable purpose trust, and as a consequence of s.16 of the Perpetuities Act and the law of trusts, there is a very real risk that the money will revert to the original “settlor” of the trust when it becomes invalid in 2022, which as identified by Justice McCarthy, is the Government of Canada. In short, there is a risk that the Municipality will have to hand back an estimated $6+ million to the federal government, being the funds estimated to be remaining in 2022, and that money may be totally lost to the rural community.
“Council strongly believes that any decision that places the rural LLRW fund at risk of not continuing indefinitely for the benefit of rural residents defies the entire original intention of Hope Township Council, and is certainly not in the best interests of rural residents going forward.
“We are astounded as to how this decision could be described as a victory for rural residents. The potential implications arising from this decision are dreadful for everyone in the Municipality, and especially those in the rural community, who now stand to lose the most in the long term. In fact, other than having the fund declared an invalid trust and losing the money immediately, we believe the current decision provides the worst possible outcome for rural residents.
“While we were hoping to have an end to this matter that would enable the community to move forward, Council has a responsibility to take all steps within our power to prevent this unfortunate outcome from occurring. Given that the adverse consequences of not appealing far outweigh the impact of doing so, Council has decided to appeal.”
Further information regarding the court decision and the Municipality’s appeal is available here, and will be distributed to all residents in coming days.
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