Pacific National Investments Ltd. (“PNI”) acquired two lots on Victoria’s harbour in the mid-1980’s. At the time of acquisition, the city bylaws allowed three-storey buildings to be constructed on these lots. In 1993, the bylaw was revised by the city and limited the lots to a height of one storey. PNI received judgment from the British Columbia Supreme Court that the City of Victoria had been unjustly enriched due to PNI’s supply and installation of parks, boulevards, foreshore works, and roads. PNI had undertaken these works in its plans to develop the land. Further development on the land became uneconomical due to the downzoning.
Speaking for the Court of Appeal, Madame Justice Southin held that there was no basis for a claim by PNI for unjust enrichment. She found that there was no true correspondence between the enrichment (the works) and the deprivation (the downzoning of the lots). Furthermore, she noted that the power conferred upon by the City of Victoria by the Legislature provided a juristic reason for the enactment of the downsizing bylaw.

type Case Comment - Pacific National Investments Ltd. v. Victoria (City) [2003] B.C.J. No. 537, 2003 BCCA 162