This news caught some by surprise yesterday and others it seems…not so much.
You may recall that Laurel McCreight, the lead City Planner on the ClubLink redevelopment application suggested in October that two public meetings would be scheduled to ensure adequate opportunity for community feedback on the file. She also said that the material at the November and January meetings would be identical which also left some people confused. Would nothing change in this process between the initial November meeting and the second on January 20?
At that time too, Ms. McCreight had no idea of the volumes of quality feedback our residents would provide in response to this egregious attack on our community by ClubLink, Minto and Richcraft, in addition to the amount of technical pushback from other agencies and the City’s own staff. As a result, the Technical Comments document issued to ClubLink and its partners was not released until last Monday, January 6, 2020 but did provide almost 250 actionable items over 41 pages for ClubLink and its friends to digest and respond to.
In addition, the City was waiting for ClubLink to provide planning staff answers to the questions which the community had asked in the fall. A deadline for those responses also came and went this week unanswered.
All this to say, between an apparent absence of material to share compounded by an inability of the City to make ClubLink and its friends appear at these public meetings, it might not be a surprise to see the ClubLink letter yesterday informing the City it would not attend the scheduled public meeting on January 20.
And where then did that ClubLink decision leave the City? What would or could the City staff say in front of 700 residents at Earl of March High School looking for answers that only an absent ClubLink could give? While the planning process to many appears to favour developers from the outset and the lack of transparency disheartening if not enough to make a taxpayer’s blood boil (in the words of one of my neighbours), another meeting providing no answers or information would serve few of us well. Calmer minds might say we are better off to channel that frustration into opposition!
Our community is a formidable force!
Our Coalition planning and legal experts remind us regularly that this is a complex application and that while these extended timelines are indeed onerous for residents and homeowners who may feel excluded or left to hang on the “outside looking in”, the process is one that is forced upon all of us by The Planning Act of Ontario. We know that in many local development applications, as seen in Beaverbrook with 2 The Parkway and 1131 Teron Road, there can be multiple resubmissions by the developer and one or more public meetings for each one. The planning process is cumbersome and flawed in the minds of many. The avenue to change it, is to change the Planning Act. That is roll-up-the- sleeves work for another day.
The ClubLink decision to avoid a public meeting with our community speaks volumes. Your opportunity to protest their proposal will not be lost by the cancellation of this January 20 meeting.
The protection of your green and open spaces is the Coalition’s priority. To accomplish that, we will continue to find ways to ensure your views and our community values are heard and recognized. We understand that Councillor Sudds and the planning staff at the City are committed to holding another public meeting when ClubLink responds to these first round of Technical Comments. We are pleased they see the value of daylight on this issue. Between now and then we will continue to support and organize public dialogue and participation on this issue. Dennis Jacobs of Momentum Planning will continue to guide us through the planning minefield ahead …wherever that takes us.
ClubLink…we’ll see you in Court on the 40 Percent Agreement!
The dates are still not official, but are now earmarked for February 27 and 28. We’ll have more information on the Hearing in a coming newsletter.
Success before the court in December to gain party status alongside the City in defense of the 40 Percent Agreement confirms that we are on the right track and the Coalition does appreciate the efforts of our legal counsel Alyssa Tomkins and Charles D’Aoust of Caza Saikaley.
Last but not least… the ForeverGreen Gala. January 29, 2020
The Gala will be a fantastic evening of celebration and community spirit. Our last 50 tickets are selling quickly. Help us make our first event a sell-out! You can buy your tickets online today.
We hope to see you at the Gala! And remember… we are better together!
We are always pleased to hear your comments, questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org Write us anytime.
Chair, Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition
For more information, see Councillor Jenna Sudds Kanata North update