ITEM # and DESCRIPTION_ IREK VOTED COUNCIL VOTED TYPE OF ITEM
8.10 – Kinsmen Park community garden Yes 10-0 Consent
11.1 – BIA budget approval Yes 10-0 Consent
8.13 – 1207 Drouillard Road rezoning Yes 10-0 Consent
10.1 – Sandison rezoning Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout  – Heritage Features Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout – Statue Location No 6-4 Delegation
       
Motion: Matchette Road Closure EA Yes Not Supported Not Supported
10.3 – Report No. 95 re: Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.4 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
10.5 – Inquiry regarding process for Matchette Road closure – Eco Passages Yes 10-0 Delegation
       
11.2 – 673 Caron Avenue demolition deferral Yes 10-0 Consent
       

 

Item No. 10.2 – Sandwich Gateway Roundabout Location:

I voted in favour of the heritage features of the Sandwich Roundabout, however I voted NO on the location.

To be clear – I actually like the vision put forward by the proponents of the roundabout location for the statute, but I also understand that the Sandwich community has an important say in the matter.

The reason I voted NO is because I felt the City could have taken a pause to consult with the residents of Old Sandwich Town.  This is particularly true when one considers that the original location – Patterson Park – was approved unanimously by the previous City Council and it is the location, which organizations such as the Sandwich Town Business Improvement Association (BIA) support.

At the very least – the community should have been consulted on the change in plans that until now had been broadly supported by residents and City Council.

Item No.  10.3 & 10.4 & 10.5 – Inquiry Regarding Process for Matchette Road Closure:

On Monday night, I put forward the following motion:

That Council directs administration to pursue an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the closure of Matchette Road from Titcomble to the northerly edge of the developer’s property – and that the matter be referred to the 2018 budget deliberation.

The motion was not supported by my Council colleagues, which means the motion was defeated without discussion or debate.

I want to emphasize that we were not deciding to close Matchette Road that night.

The motion sought to gather more information – and more facts – through an Environmental Assessment (EA) to see whether the closing of Matchette Road was feasible.

It may be that the report would conclude that the disruption to the transportation network and to neighbouring communities would be severe.

Or the report may have discovered that the traffic could be diverted seasonally or permanently with manageable impact.

The fact is – we don’t really know.

What we do know is that Ojibway sets our city apart.  What we have in the Ojibway Prairie Complex is a natural urban park that exceeds New York’s Central Park in scale and most nature preserves in North America in ecological diversity.

And that in itself, many would argue, is enough to warrant looking into ways of expanding the protections afforded this unique park while elevating its position – perhaps as a national urban park or with a UNESCO Heritage designation as recommended in the Parks Master Plan unanimously approved by City Council in 2016.

Before the Rouge National Urban Park was established in Toronto – a 79.1 sq. km park that is the first national urban park in Canada- Parks Canada consulted with 20,000 Canadians and 200 organizations including all levels of government.

Public consultation is also at the heart of the EA process and it gives the breadth of our community a voice in what could be a transformative decision for our City.

In an EA process, City Council has a voice.

Community organizations have a voice.

The Aboriginal community has a voice.

And last, but certainly not least, business has a voice.

The legal concerns brought forward Monday night are valid. The concerns brought forward by the developer are definitely valid.  The voice of the community is, of course, always valid.

As a result, I think that an EA would be the perfect vehicle to bring all of those concerns into a broader analysis and consultation process.

That is why I moved for an EA – because it provides a platform for gathering technical information and for measuring the pulse of the community on this issue.

It is easy to give into fear of the legal risks, engineering challenges and political uncertainties.

With vision, I believe it is possible to rally a community – and work together to overcome all three.

I believe that a pragmatic, measured and informed approach is the way forward when it comes to balancing economic and environmental concerns – and an Environmental Assessment (EA) would have provided an important piece of the puzzle.

Although my EA motion was not supported – Council did eventually unanimously agree to explore the possibility of incorporating eco-passages along Matchette Road as a mitigation effort to reduce mortality of species at risk crossing the road.

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