Opinion Letter –Feature – A letter from resident J. Daigneault.
Grandview Woodland Community Plan — Rezoning Decision
July 11, 2018
To Whom It May Concern:
“I feel like I’m speaking a foreign language.” When Councillor Andrea Reimer uttered those words during yesterday’s Regular Council meeting I had a few reactions. Firstly, if she doesn’t understand the proposed zoning changes in the Grandview Woodland area, the expectation that residents do is illogical. Secondly, when a councillor with voting privileges expresses her confusion, isn’t that indicative of the fact that Andrew Pask’s plan is being pushed through a little too quickly? Finally, I found Councillor Reimer’s confusion to be both laughable, yet indicative of serious problems with the process as it unfolded.
When Councillor De Genova spoke, it was evident that she too found elements of the process to be problematic. She spoke about the “yellow memo” and the fact that public comments had been closed prior to receipt of the memo. She asked Mr. Pask if council members weren’t “obligated” to deal with the amendments. She went on to say that perhaps “legal” needed to address these concerns. She sure had my attention! Then a colleague of Mr. Pask’s jumped up and announced that, “legal signed off on it.” Councillor De Genova looked as confused as I felt.
Imagine my surprise when Councillors Reimer and De Genova voted in favour of the proposed rezoning.
Contrast that with Councillor Adriane Carr. She too expressed grave concerns about the process: “I’m actually quite torn mostly because of the speakers …. people have lost faith in us.”
Councillor Carr went on to address the fact that the public did not think they’d had “adequate notification,” nor consultation about the proposed changes to our community. Councillor Carr’s vote appeared to be inspired by ethics. She was the only councillor to vote in opposition of the rezoning. (Councillor Elizabeth Ball was absent.)
After watching the entire proceedings, I was struck by how the councillors’ questions and comments reflected our community’s confusion about the whole process. Density issues and proposed developments meant to address this problem appeared to take a backseat as members of the community and the council struggled with a deeply flawed process.
The most comical, ironic and infuriating moment of yesterday’s council meeting arrived compliments of Mr. Pask’s colleague. As one of the councillors faltered in her questioning, he took that opportunity to grab the microphone and without a hint of self-awareness, he announced that the reams of written material promoting the rezoning changes were not designed to be understood by the general public. Touché. (Condescension notwithstanding.)