The municipality of Richmond Hill constructed a sewage treatment plant which seriously polluted the nearby Don River. Stephens lived downstream and brought this action, claiming that a nuisance had been created. She was granted damages and an injunction at trial.
- When the cost of injunction is much greater than the nuisance caused, can an injunction be granted?
Appeal dismissed, order for damages reversed.
The court upheld the injunction stating that in nuisance a person whose proprietary rights have been interfered with is entitled to an injunction except in special circumstances, such as when damages can be seen to be an adequate remedy. Here, damages would not make the river suitable to swim in again, nor would it make the smell disappear. The court reversed the damages however, claiming that no real damage had been demonstrated to have been suffered by the plaintiff.
Similar to KVP Co. Ltd. v McKie, the Ontario legislature intervened by passing The Public Health Amendment Act which dissolved the injunction and retroactively deemed the plant to have been constructed, maintained, and operated by statory authority.