UPDATE – December 5, 2019: As of November 5, 2019, the Laurentian University Board of Governors has spent $131,297.79 on legal services related to Dominique and James’ property encroachment.
UPDATE – October 8, 2019: An August 2019 study of Laurentian University property boundaries identified 10 – 15 distinct properties that are known or believed to be encroaching and/or trespassing on University land.
Click here for the full report.
The identified properties are (click on each address for more details):
UPDATE – July 3, 2019: As of May 28, 2019, the Laurentian University Board of Governors has spent $66,427.41 on legal services related to Dominique and James’ property encroachment. These moneys were spent at a time when the provincial government stressed the importance of fiscal restraint, especially for public institutions and recipients of government funding.
UPDATE – July 3, 2019: As of May 28, 2019, the Laurentian University Board of Governors has NOT requested the removal of the residential encroachments that were discovered at 1825 and 1863 South Bay Road in June 2018.
UPDATE – May 15, 2019: Dominique and James filed a defence and counterclaim in the legal action initiated against them by the Laurentian University Board of Governors.
UPDATE – April 11, 2019: Laurentian University’s Board of Governors served Dominique and James with a lawsuit. The University is seeking the removal of the encroachments, $75,000 in damages, and their legal costs.
UPDATE – November 17, 2018: Laurentian University’s Board of Governors declined Dominique and James’ $20,000 donation towards increasing knowledge of and access to mental health support at the University for the 2018/19 academic year.
UPDATE – October 22, 2018: At a special meeting of the Laurentian University Board of Governors, the Board directed Administration to commence litigation against Dominique and James for their property’s encroachment on University land.
BOARD MOTION: Laurentian University Board of Governors directs Administration to sue neighbours
UPDATE – June 22, 2018: Laurentian University’s Board of Governors announced that it intends to run a deficit up to $4.4 million in 2018/19. Regarding this property boundary issue, critics could perceive a protracted bureaucratic dispute as wasteful, especially when elite legal representation is being retained at taxpayer expense. Instances such as the $6,732.82 fee for legal services to reject Dominique and James’ generous third offer to resolve the encroachments are arguably examples of this.
UPDATE – June 20, 2018: Dominique and James responded to Laurentian’s unreasonable demand. They notified the University of other recently discovered property encroachments, as well as environmental factors that prevent them from complying with the University’s request.
UPDATE – June 12, 2018: In a letter dated June 12, 2018, Laurentian University has confirmed that the University will not be participating in the community meeting to discuss encroachments affecting the University and its neighbours, which will take place at Salute on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm.
UPDATE – June 5, 2018: In a letter dated June 4, 2018, Counsel for Laurentian University requested that Dominique and James “… remove the Encroachments and repair any damage done to Laurentian’s property by no later than June 30, 2018.” Dominique and James are sad to see the University take such a position, especially in consideration of their many good faith attempts to resolve the discovered encroachments. The couple has also recently identified other residential properties neighbouring the University that are encroaching on University land. A community meeting to discuss encroachments affecting Laurentian University and its neighbours will take place at Salute on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm.
UPDATE – March 16, 2018: A recent document search at the City of Greater Sudbury has revealed that the negotiated land trade between Laurentian University and the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club to resolve encroachments, which is cited in the University’s Property Development & Planning Committee January 2017 meeting minutes, is not complete (full meeting minutes). The search revealed: 1) that the Laurentian University Board of Governors approved a conveyance of land to the Idylwylde for the encroaching tee box at NO COST; 2) that the approved conveyance of land from Laurentian University to the Idylwylde has not yet been registered on the Idylwylde’s property title; and 3) that the Idylwylde has not yet submitted consent applications to the City of Greater Sudbury to convey land to the University to resolve the encroachment of University structures on Idylwylde property. That’s right, the University is actively encroaching on one of its neighbour’s property. Yet, ironically, the University is giving Dominique and James a very difficult time for doing the same.
UPDATE – February 14, 2018: Laurentian University refused Dominique and James’ encroachment resolution proposal, citing that the University “…wishes to maintain the integrity of its boundaries and the current and future use of its real property”. FUN FACT – The University does not currently have an updated property survey! The University has suggested that it will commence legal action against Dominique and James over the encroachment.
UPDATE – January 17, 2018: Laurentian University celebrated the official reveal of its Strategic Plan, 2018-2023. A key desired outcome (#25) highlighted within the plan is to “…work with alumni and donors to create opportunities for mutual benefit that enhance the student experience”. Follow Laurentian’s Strategic Plan on Twitter @ Tweet #imagine2023
UPDATE – November 23, 2017: Dominique and James presented Laurentian University with a very generous offer to resolve the encroachment affecting their residential property and the University. They offered to pay the University $70,000 for the small (~0.1 acre) portion of encroached land and to also convey land to the University (1.5 times the size of the proposed purchased parcel) at no cost (and to pay for all fees associated with both transactions).
CBC Morning North interview with Markus Schwabe – May 17, 2019
TELEVISED REPORT: click here for CTV video and online story
Sudbury couple in locked in land dispute with Laurentian, ‘It was just a flat out no’
CTV Sudbury story by Isaac Cohen – published on July 5, 2017
CBC Morning North interview with Markus Schwabe – July 4, 2017
“As a Laurentian University alumna and a retired member of Laurentian University’s Board of Governors, I find this situation untenable. The fact that the university refused “without explanation” is very disturbing. Equally unsettling is the university’s willingness to accommodate a golf course, but not two successful alumni who have chosen to live in Sudbury. This is the type of behaviour that contributes to our community’s ongoing perception of Laurentian as elitist and out of touch. Please reconsider.” – signed petition on 2017-06-21
“As a young attorney who recently returned to Ontario, I am disappointed in the lack of transparency and accountability. LU’s actions only act to discourage investment and development in our region; this type of unchecked and unethical behaviour leaves young professionals second-guessing a decision to live and work in Northern Ontario.” – signed petition on 2017-06-22
“As an alumni myself of Laurentian, I believe that the university is being very unreasonable in their actions. Without Dr. Crispo and Dr. Ansell bringing this to the university’s attention in their attempt to rectify an inherited situation, the university would never have been aware of this land conflict. This was done in good faith and with reasonable terms. Without a resolution to this conflict, the community risks losing two high achieving professionals.” – signed petition on 2017-06-22
“It is important for our community members to work together to solve problems. Laurentian University is a key player in our city and is in a unique position here to set a good example.” – signed petition on 2017-06-22
“Earth to BOG [Board of Governors]. Are you aware of the reputational damage arising from your actions?” – signed petition on 2017-07-07
“This is no way to treat alumni & runs counter to all attempts made to retain young professionals to our city. Shame on LU!” – signed petition on 2017-07-17
View all petition comments at: www.lupetition.org
Originally from Sudbury, Dr. Dominique R. Ansell is an Emergency Physician at Health Sciences North. She holds a Honours BSc Biomedical Science and a MSc Biology from Laurentian University, and a medical degree from the University of Ottawa. She completed her family medicine residency at the Montfort Hospital through the University of Ottawa and returned to Sudbury to complete her emergency medicine fellowship at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Throughout her medical studies, Dominique continued to be involved in research activities, which have led to several publications in the fields of emergency and family medicine. She loves to laugh and is very thoughtful of others.
Dr. James A.G. Crispo is a Sudbury-based health researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an Honours BSc Biochemistry and MSc Chemical Sciences from Laurentian University, and a PhD Population Health from the University of Ottawa. James’ contributions to understanding the use and safety of medications in Parkinson disease have been recognized through published works, invitations to speak at international meetings, and receipt of prestigious awards – including a Fulbright Canada Student Award to the United States (University of Pennsylvania). James loves the outdoors, particularly when fishing, hunting, or hiking with his friends.
In 2016, Dominique and James were recruited to work as an Emergency Department Physician and Health Researcher, respectively, at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. Dominique and James are proud Laurentian University Alumni, who collectively have obtained five degrees from Laurentian University.
Shortly after occupying their first home in June 2016, it was brought to Dominique and James’ attention that their backyard (landscaping, maintenance building, and septic system) was encroaching on their neighbour’s property, which happened to be Laurentian University.
After further research by Dominique and James, it was discovered that their purchased property had encroached on Laurentian University lands for more than 13 years and that the 295 square metre encroachment represents 0.0095% of the University’s total property area. After notifying the University of the encroachment, the University presented a formal proposal to Dominique and James asking them to make an offer to the University to purchase the encroached lands at fair market value. Dominique and James acted at Laurentian University’s request and subsequently presented a reasonable offer to purchase the encroached lands from the University, which included more than $12,000 for the property and offer to pay for all fees associated with the transaction.
To Dominique and James’ dismay, Laurentian University rejected their purchase offer without any explanation. Dominique and James presented an alternate proposal to the University, whereby they would exchange equal parts of land (2,891 square metres) with the University as a mutually acceptable way of resolving the issues that are jointly and adversely affecting the respective properties. They also offered to cover all fees associated with the proposed boundary readjustments, including consent, rezoning, planning, and surveying costs. As a gesture of goodwill, they offered to make a donation of $5,000 to the University following completion of the proposed property boundary readjustments. Laurentian University again rejected Dominique and James’ proposal without any explanation.
Laurentian University has refused numerous formal requests for Dominique and James to make deputations at meetings of the University’s Property Development and Planning Committee and Board of Governors. The University has also rejected requests from the Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Sudbury’s Member of Provincial Parliament, for the University to work with Dominique and James to resolve this property matter in a mutually acceptable manner.
Laurentian University has recently conveyed 300 square metres of land to the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club as a way of resolving a separate encroachment involving a tee box.
Dominique and James believe that Laurentian University should perceive the value of their property’s encroachment in the same manner as that of the golf course’s tee box.
Please sign Dominique and James’ petition at: www.lupetition.org
BRIEFING NOTE / NOTE DE BREFFAGE
LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS – VOTING MEMBERS
LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING COMMITTEE
Ex-officio voting members:
Ex-officio non-voting members:
External voting community members: