"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Who Said Stupid ?

An Anonymous Comment

Councillor Buck, When a developer wanted to build directly behind our rural property in King, we went to the town for help. The developer make adjustments to his plans to include buffering and plantings to help offset the change to our view and landscape. Although it wasn't the best scenario for us,we were satisfied that this was as much that could be done both legally and with goodwill. Sometimes a little goodwill and good sense goes a long way in remedying situations, rather than waving placards and having people take sides. Calling people stupid doesn't help either.


A  homeowner abutting the golf course came home one day and found some trees on her property were marked  Numbers of  trees were being  cut down on the golf course.

As a matter of interest, a substantial forest had to be  cut down to provide sites for the homes.

An  e-mail came through and the homeowner was advised to come to  Council.  After a sympathetic hearing  staff  were directed to  report on the tree cutting by-law
We learned golf courses are not covered by the town's  bylaw. The Region has jurisdiction.

The difference is in the size of property.

Staff were directed to revise the tree-cutting bylaw.  A review had been directed previously.

Staff  did  and  the  bylaw was made more restrictive than before.

The homeowner was pleased with the attention Council gave to the problemand the improvement from her perspective.

Then Susan Walmer appeared  and scooped up the issue. At a public forum , council was informed  a town hall meeting had been scheduled and  a request was received  to direct the Parks Manager to attend the meeting to answer questions.

 Councillor Ballard  had booked the Council Chamber for the meeting.

The Parks manager was not directed to attend the meeting.

Council scheduled  the proposed tree by-law to be heard at a public planning meeting.

Susan Walmer rallied all known  tree experts  and tree lovers  to the meeting. Those who couldn't attend  sent e-mails.

The  bylaw was not adequate, they said.  The town must be  steward  of the environment. they said.  Ms.Walmer declared   the  by-law should be submitted  to the environmental advisory committee for them to advise. Because they are volunteers, they must be given their due and  their opinions  respected.

Members of a  Green-keepers  Association were present. They informed us of the nature of golf courses and what it takes to operate  the industry. The golf course is recognised by the Audubon
Society as a wild life sanctuary.

Members of the Cemetery Board were also present and asked to be exempted from the bylaw because of   time-consuming  and restrictive aspects which would make it impossible to practise  due diligence in their function.  

The original homeowner had been pleased with the town's response to  concerns.

Then it seemed  Walmer's Warriors had gained another recruit and the bylaw was deemed not to go far enough.

I doubt very much the political machinations  were understood. But there it was. The revised bylaw was not stringent enough to satisfy
those assembled to take that position.  

A resolution,. moved by Councillor Gallo,  passed by Council  was to refer the Bylaw to the Environmental  Advisory Committee.

the revised bylaw was prepared by a staff committee . Normal process is for comments to be noted, considered at a meeting of  the committee and  a new report submitted to Council.

Councillor Gallo is chairman of the  Environmental Advisory Committee and  had already declared  his support for the comments made at the meeting..

I acknowledge I  generally have a negative reaction after listening to and hour and a half  of  suggestions that  everyone connected with the town is less than qualified to make decisions. While those in the audience are supremely qualified.

Really,  it  doesn't much matter what this Council might do to satisfy a concern, when Susan Walmer is about,it will never be enough..

That is not the objective.

There was  question I did not ask at the meeting; is the tree-cutting bylaw subject to appeal to the  Ontario Municipal Board.

It is..

It's a time-consuming and extravagant process.  


Anonymous said...


This sentence stands out to me:

"We learned golf courses are not covered by the town's bylaw. The Region has jurisdiction."

At that point, the issue should be closed. If I read this correctly, no matter what you do to the bylaw is does not matter. Why are we going through this process if the bylaw is not enforceable in this case?

Anonymous said...

Let Walmart take it up with the Region. She's wasting Aurora's time & money again. Man, she really misses her key to the Town Hall & her parking space by the front door!

Anonymous said...

Susan Walmer always uses other people, their problems and their money. I have yet to see her risk her own money. She will head up your cause, collect money and rent-a-mob. But check out the bottom line. It will be your money and your name that gets pushed forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Councillor Gallo should be the chairman of of any Town committee, certainly not the Environmental Advisory Committee.

What are his qualifications?

From my perspective he is not qualified to sit on Council.

But if he has the support of the Walmer woman possibly he needs no qualifications.

He simply nods yes, when her right hand is raised, and no, when her left.

This method displays transparency, but is bereft of accountability.

Anonymous said...

If certain councillors had had it their way, Aurora would still be pouring money into a fight with the Region about West Hill. Surely the sane council members would avoid a repeat of that disaster? If Walmer wants to fight the Region, let her do it on her own dime.

Tim the Enchanter said...

Anonymous 1034AM

You bring up a good point.
York Region is the 'upper tier municipality'
Aurora is the 'lower tier municipality'

Depending on the situation, an Aurora by-law might be trumped by a Regional by-law.

I would assume that staff would be able to advise council of such a situation.

As you say, if the Regional by-law rules than there's no sense in the Town wasting their time cooking up a new one.

If you recall, last council dabbled in the pesticide by-law issue. All a complete waste of time of course because any municipal by-law was rendered moot by the provincial regulation anyway.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 12:44pm May 2
"I don't believe Councillor Gallo should be the chairman of of any Town committee, certainly not the Environmental Advisory Committee.

What are his qualifications?"

Be careful with that statement. What are the qualifications of any of these councillors and the committees that they chair or sit on. I don't think that they are on the committee for their knowledge of the subject. They are there as a representative from the council.