A $25-million claim has been filed against the City of Stratford in connection with the 2009 expropriation of part of an area known as the Cooper site in the city’s downtown.

The area was expropriated by the city to make way for the future construction of the University of Waterloo’s Stratford Campus.

The man who owned the land, Lawrence Ryan, was paid $4.5 million in 2009 for almost five acres of land to house the university building.

An email from the law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson explains “The City is not utilizing the vast majority of Mr. Ryan’s lands for the University Campus and admits they have no present day plans for the land.”

The firm has applied to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) under the Expropriations Act seeking “fair value of the land taken from Mr. Ryan and the related business damages suffered.“

Under the Act, former land owners are allowed to seek further compensation through the OMB.

The claim seeks compensation for the loss of potential income dating back to the mid-1990s, property appreciation, the transfer of a historical asset to Stratford, plus 12 per cent interest on the property value dating back to that time.

Ryan’s claim lists numerous potential uses for the land, including a resort and spa, which could be perceived as a loss in income.

Cindy McNair, deputy CAO of Stratford, says the city is reviewing the claim and preparing its defence.

“We have received the document. The city is reviewing it in detail and we will be submitting our response through the city solicitor.”

The area involved is a portion of an 18 acre site, which currently hosts the Downie Street parking lot, Ryan’s Railway Centre, the Stratford-Perth YMCA and a parking lot along St. Patrick Street.

The city is expected to have its defence ready in a few weeks. A date for the OMB hearing has not yet been set.