"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, 5 March 2008

Go Figure

The applicants did what they were required to do. The Planning Department meticulously followed the law. As did the Regional Planning Department, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the Ministry of the Environment.

Hundred of thousands of dollars public and private and countless hours have gone into the process. Outstanding issues remained to be resolved.

Last night ,Aurora council threw all of it into the dumpster. They discounted the work of the town's planning department and all the other agencies and voted to join residents in opposition to the plan at the upcoming O.M.B Hearing.

There was a time, not too long ago, when there were few statutary requirements for processing development applications. Newspapers often carried allegations of bribery and corruption in municipal government. Success in the development industry depended on having friends in the right places. Even politicians invested money in land speculation.

Then the Planning Act was passed. Precise steps had to be followed. In the Harris regime in the nineties, timing was regulated. The rules were intended to protect everyone's interest,ensure transparency and accountability. People still have property rights, they have the right to use their land and the right to protect it. The Oak Ridges Moraine Act does not deprive property owners within the area of their rights. It requires them to abide by rules intended to protect The Moraine.

Last night a phalanx of passionate advocates for the protection of the Oak Ridges Moraine filled Aurora Council Chamber. They argued against the need for another golf course. The town house development will use scarce water resources they said. They made a number of claims which were simply non-factual.

Council vote to deny the application was seven to one.

The vote to partner with residents in opposition to the proposal at the O.M.B. was seven to one.

On May 23rd 2007, another development in The Moraine had a Public Planning Hearing. Sterling Cook and his wife of south Aurora expressed disgruntlement at the slowness of the process. They had a landscape architect processing the plan.

The atmosphere in the council chamber was quite different. It was warm and welcoming and positively cloying.

Public Planning Hearings are not normally scheduled during summer months. People are not paying much attention at that time of the year. Council meetings are reduced to two a month. Kids are not in school.

Nevertheless, on May 23rd, staff were hustled by the Mayor and Councillor MacEachern to hurry the thing along. The Planning Director advised: "Madame Mayor, there are statutory requirements to meet" Still they managed to meet them and a meeting was held in August. The application process was completed.

That project also was in the Oak Ridges Moraine.

There were no passionate advocates present in the chamber to save the Moraine that day

They were conspicuous by their absence.


Anonymous said...

If you are aware of current societal concerns, you would be aware that new information informs and changes on a daily basis. The times they are a changing. Are you?

Anonymous said...

I think that the fact that the Left-leaning Toronto Star had a feature on the mayor and her fight to keep the moraine had a lot to do with it. The picture of her tridging through the snow is a skirt and boots was so much a phot-op that I laughed out loud.

Anonymous said...

nevermind the left leaning toronto star. the mayor was all over the cover of the banner tonight with the lebovic/morain vote and her picture/portrait/whatever in the art gallery in aurora. she's very photo opportunistic methinks. oh well - she was chosen by the people. for a while.

Anonymous said...

I love how you are so attentive to the mayor, Evelyn. Check yourself for a woman crush.
You might have The Auroran sown up. She's got The Toronto star and The Banner.
Looks like she's got better circulation!