In a healthy democracy demonstration our community recently had some very spirited debates on important issues.
Earlier this year the Township’s senior administrative officer said there is not have enough staff to enforce the conditions on subdivision/condominium developments. Also, a deputation from the Conservation Authority indicated that many agencies also have difficulty with oversight.
So when some Loughborough Lake residents observed work being done on Johnson’s Point they contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) to see if a species at risk evaluation had been done. The requirement for this evaluation was one of the conditions approved by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for that development.
The MNRF still had not been to Johnson’s Point six weeks after work at started. When the matter was brought to Council it was not clear if the Township or County staff should be monitoring compliance. A motion to ask for a staff report on the implementation of the MNRF condition was defeated 5-2.
We all need to respect the rules and big developers should be held to a high standard. Their developments have greater potential negative impact and they have professionals advising them.
The Township has a ways to go in overseeing reasonable development.
Township Control of Planning
The County currently has the final approval over subdivision and condominium developments. Yet the Township Council is closest to the community and we have always played a central role. This duplication is a waste of resources and it is confusing to both residents and developers. To add insult to injury we are paying for both process, 100% of our planning costs and 60% of the County’s.
Township Council is seriously considering asking for final approval over our subdivision and condominium planning process. We need to hire staff and establish processes to make this a reality. It won’t happen this year, but if that is our goal, we need to start.
We are a growing township with many demands from our residents. High among the pressures are requests for better planning, more responsive processes and better communication. A consultant recommended hiring seven new staff: that seems like over kill.
Council has narrowed the discussion to three possible new employees brought on staff over two and half years: 1) a planning development manager, 2) a separate clerk position to support Council, committees and communication with the public, and 3) a full time fire education and prevention officer.
The debate will continue at the June 7 meeting. I would love to know your thoughts on more staff?
Waterfront Development Within 30 Meters
First, thank you to everyone who has taken time to be involved in this debate. It will produce a better bylaw.
There were three fairly unanimous sentiments presented to Council: 1) that protecting the lakes is important; 2) that in the event of catastrophic damage there should be a right to rebuild on the same foot print to the same size; and, 3) that action is needed on derelict buildings. All of these are supported in the Mayor’s proposal coming to the June 7 Council meeting.
When the dust has settles I think that the result will essentially be a continuation of current practice. Since amalgamation if a building is within 30 meters of water and there is a desire to change the size or tear it down and start over then an application to the Committee of Adjustment is needed. The Committee cannot refuse to allow a rebuild on the lot. It can only set reasonable conditions in line with the goals in the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws. The exception has been in cases of catastrophic damage when all you need is a building permit. I support keeping these sections of the original bylaw.
Point Park Opening
The Point Park will be re-opening on June 4 at 10am. Come out, see what has been done and celebrate one of our great parks.
Cycle Fest and New Map
The second annual Cycle Fest will be held June 12, 11-3, at Prince Charles School in Verona. A new and expanded cycling route map will be available, as well as a free BBQ and a cycle skills course. Everyone is welcome, come any time.
A second cycle skills training event will be held on June 19, 11am to noon at the Perth Road School. Bring your bike and kids and test your skills. No charge.
I would like to know your opinion on any of the above issues as well as any other concerns you may have. Please send me an email or leave a comment.