"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

Thursday, 24 August 2017

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SHOW ...IT MUST GO ON.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MYTH AND FALLACY AND DOWNRIGHT DISTORTIONS": 

Oakville's council however are very short-sighted. The same legislation that they are using to protect Glen Abbey from development also restricts the property from being used as.........
a golf course!!

So, while they will prevent the development... they will also prevent it from it's current role.

Just to let you know, in case you do not know where Glen Abbey is located. It is north of the QEW. When it was built, it was in the middle of no where. Now , Oakville has grown around it. Hardly in the beautiful part of Oakville (Bronte Harbour).  

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 August 2017 at 08:02

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Oakville is not so much short- sighted  as down- right -dodgy. The 7000 name petition provided the impetus for Council  to mis-use the Heritage Act to deny an application for development; a classic example of municipal political sleight of hand. 

(Oakville is an old hand at sleight-of-hand. Were they not responsible for the cancellation of one of two natural gas generating plants that put the Province into $1.2 billion debt with nothing, absolutely nothing, to show for it but half- constructed framework  and rusty padlocked gates) 

An application is made. The process begins.  Planning staff do what they're paid to do. The process takes months or possibly years before it comes before the Planning Board(council) for public input. 

Half of a GTA  municipal  payroll is related to development and matters pertaining. 

If that which is proposed  is opposed,everything done beforehand is time and effort squandered. 

Half the municipal tax bill is thus engaged. 

The average municipal politician bends like a reed to opposition.  

Previous Municipal Planning Boards existed because of the tendency of municipal politicians to lean this way and or that. 

Then Regions were created and the  Planning Act was legislated. 

Over- riding authority was established and Regions were delegated responsibility to formulate an Official Plan. Municipal O.P.s had to conform.  Both levels have full planning departments. In York ,there are ten full fledged planning departments toiling away in ever-expanding  administration buildings. 

Previously, in the days of autonomous Municipal Planning Boards,when municipal politicians could not be trusted with the responsibility,  the Minister of Municipal Affairs had  signing authority over plans of subdivision. 

Over the years, in an effort to bring order, consistency and equity to the process ,layer upon layer of   legislation and instituted policies have blanketed, one might say suffocated the process. The Heritage Act is part of the helter-skelter  mosaic.

Millions, billions and possibly trillions of dollars are funnelled into the coffers of lawyers, engineers, planning,traffic, environment consultants service the development industry. Matched equally on the public side ,municipally, regionally, and provincially. 

Nary a brown penny goes to pay for a stone upon a stone of shelter for a family. 

Glen Abbey and Aurora Highlands Golf Course are the same vintage. Urban development  has encircled both. 

In Newmarket ,Glen Manor golf course was not old. The golf course was actually a holding pattern for 
development lands. Club link is a development partnership. Yet the Town of Newmarket spent a million dollars of tax resources at the OMB  in a show attempt to stop development that never had a chance of succeeding. 

It didn't.

Hundreds of homes are already built with  schools ,parks and maybe a fire station. 

The neighbourhood will never know anything different. 

They will never know or give a fig about the added cost of processing the plan. 

But forever and a day, they will pay property taxes on taxes for hidden, useless,senseless  extravagance. 

Like  a troupe of Irish step-dancers,politicians will dazzle the audience with the flicker and flash 
of their fancy footwork.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

MYTH AND FALLACY AND DOWNRIGHT DISTORTIONS

HBefore  I came back on council in 2003, the Province made changes to the Heritage Act. A property could be designated without owner consent . Once designated, It had to be maintained in good condition. Changes can be made but not so's you'd notice. Municipalities can raise taxes to make loans to owners without sufficient resources for property upkeep. 

Any time legislation is amended ,you can count on it being the result of a lobby to suit somebody's advantage. Not necessarily the public's. 

Oakville has designated Glen Abbey golf course heritage, following  a petition of  7000 names. Club Link,owners of Glen Abbey filed a development application two years ago. The plan leaves 124 acres as Open Space. 

The Ontario Municipal Board has ruled the application complete. On Sept 26, council must decide 
on the plan. The  decision on heritage designation is just in time to put the kibosh on the development .

The Mayor says designation is the first step in a process. They will now proceed to delineate features of the 240 acre  parcel of Open Space that makes it historic. 

Even with  limited details of the Toronto Star's report, the Mayor's justification for designation at this point is assuredly ass backwards. 

Oakville, aside from being wealthiest, really is an old original Ontario settlement. The area south of Lakeshore Road is charming , romantic and beautifully preserved. It's easy to transport oneself in
time in the  lakeshore park with the tiny wooden structure of the first post office. It's not clear Oakville 
is much interested in tourism.There's  plenty to see and savour but  tourist promotion is conspicuous in its absence. 

The upscale neighbourhood  on the lake is quiet and secluded. People live there.the homes are plaqued. Obviously privacy is valued. Overcrowded streets and shops of the same vintage in Niagara-on-the-Lake are in total contrast. 

Something new has been added to the Heritage Act since I was last involved. A Conservation Review Board is in place. Club Link will likely take advantage of the right of review. 

The municipality will undoubtedly embark on lavish legal expense from the municipal treasury to prevent the property owner from exercising their legal rights. The enterprise will be cloaked in virtue 
to escape scrutiny. 
 
The developers will equal the expense in legal fees and whatever other ransom is demanded. Years
will pass, all kinds of people will be kept in lucratively employed.

Whatever housing units are eventually constructed will reflect a cost for which there is not a farthing of commensurate value. Not a stone upon a stone, nor brick upon brick will have been paid with the  millions spent to process the plan. 

Taxes will rise and be attributed by a high-priced financial officer, to the cost of growth

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Best Laid Schemes Gang Aft Agley

Yesterday was not a nice day . Despite my plan I didn't weed the garden or tour on my scooter. I did watch American news and comment on Facebook. 

This morning I searched T.V. for something of interest other than CNN and came up short . 
I checked out Facebook and launched into a lengthy debate with my friend Tom Mrakas.

On Tuesday, I drove down the cart path of the former golf course until stopped by a rotting bridge across the creek. A sign advertises future homes from $2 million. Premier Kathleen Wynne is 
traversing the Province talking about perceived problems. The price of housing and the difficulties 
for families featured amid her concerns.   

Development of the former Aurora Highlands Golf Course is certainly not going to resolve any part of the housing problem in Aurora. Aurora's MLA is Premier Wynne's Minister of Housing. He resides  in 
the golf course neighbourhood. I understand, he was active in opposing development. 

There were Councillors and neighbours of the property who believed  the town should buy the real estate to prevent it from being developed. I imagine the price gave them pause. 

Municipal councillors have  been organized and working to negate the authority of the Ontario Municipal Board. A Bill has been presented in the legislature.  The Councillors are  feeling very positive they will accomplish their objective. Specifically , any application for development of vacant land within an urban municipality can be denied without appeal. 

Aurora is not a large town. Taxpayers shoulder the burden of a massive top-heavy administration 
with a payroll in the millions for a handful of individuals . The town's recently departed CAO went to Richmond Hill for an annual salary of $260,000 . An increase from $200,000. 

In return,elected representatives are entitled to receive professional advice on efficient, municipally related, business practice. 

That's not what happens. Not here. And not apparently at Queen's Park. 


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A New Plan

A couple of things happened that brought pause to the blog. My I pad stopped doing what I wanted 
and for a number of reasons it took awhile to get it back in order. 

In the meantime, Facebookbecame my outlet. It was  less work and less time.

 I developed a horrible fascination for American politics but less inclined  to add to the cacophony
In depth or extent. 

Now the current topic is racism. It's a volatile topic. Easy to be misunderstood.  I'm going to try to write a blog that has nothing to do with American politics or the issue of race. I don't think one voice less will be missed and I doubt it would make a difference. The problem is not going away soon. 

I'm going to stop watching CNN. My garden needs weeding . I want to meander  about  on my scooter. .. take in the sights and sounds of my neighbourhood and slightly beyond. 

Yesterday, I went on a circular tour. On my way home ,I scooted across Confederation Park from Seaton to Glass Drive. It was mid-afternoon. Grass was neatly cut, Soccer fields clearly marked and ready for use whenever. Baseball diamond backstop was perfectly groomed .

Everything was peaceful ,tranquil and quiet. There wasn't a living soul in the park except for myself and my daughter Heather on her bicycle. 

Wednesday afternoon ,on a sunny afternoon in early August. No children in the streets either. No kids on bicycles, roller skates, playing ball or skipping rope. Playground equipment  still and unused. 

It was like that throughout the town during the last election campaign. But the school kids were in 
their classrooms. I planned ,if re-elected ,to make myself familiar with our various town facilities 
and  make a point of visiting to observe for myself if they are used and part of the community 
lifestyle. 

Councillor Tom  Mrakas published a photo yesterday of dog-walkers ,two, on a town trail. Each had four dogs on leads. I'd heard the leash-free park was used mainly by commercial operations. The 
photo gave a sense of that. 

 I would likely spend four or more hours a day writing a blog. I am going to try to reduce that and the time I spend watching the news and maybe wean myself from Facebook.