Monday, December 19, 2011


Friday afternoon I picked up a 58 page Engineering and Planning Services Report from Woolwich Township in regards to Hawk Ridge Homes. For most of the last twenty years plus I clearly haven't paid enough attention to planning/zoning issues. There literally are way more issues and concerns around planning than I ever considered possible. At the same time what I read and see between the lines is the overarching belief/resignation ? that all growth, just about everywhere, all the time, is inevitable. Hence the prevalent attitude becomes mitigation. We can mitigate any and all problems.

What I like about this Report is that twice, on page 15 & 25 Staff clearly recommend that Council denys the zone change and plan of subdivision for Hawk Ridge.

What I also like is a huge can of worms that this Application has opened and that Staff are recognizing. Basically Staff are advising Council that new zoning may be required "to discourage or limit future expansion " at Sulco and Chemtura. This of course is due to the already existing nearby homes of Elmira residents. This elephant in the room needs to be addressed before one of the Worst Case scenarios occurs.

There are many things that I don't care for in this Report. One, as I suspected from the beginning these homes are what are deemed as affordable housing. Nothing wrong with that per se. The concern is that we will primarily have first time unsophisticated buyers, thrilled to be leaving rental accomodations, totally relying on government oversight as they leap, eyes tightly closed into their first owned homes. To my mind there is perhaps an attitude by some of preying on the vulnerable here.

Another concern deals with the reliance of Woolwich Staff upon Regional staff and they in turn upon Provincial staff, particularily the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. This process while convenient and easy is WRONG! Any reader of the Elmira Advocate knows of the long comprimised position of the M.O.E. locally here in Elmira. Their credibility, based upon their own poor behaviour and horrible track record dealing with groundwater protection and noxious air emissions, is in the dumpster. No level of government should be relying on them for advice on anything other than public relations and spin doctoring. For example the proponent for Hawk Ridge is advising that the groundwater is potable (drinkable). Really ? And would you or any other informed person actually be willing to do so? It is entirely possible that one aquifer in one location may not have any of their dozen chemicals individually above drinking water standards. To me that is simply more proof of how hopeless M.O.E. standards and oversight are, not how "good" the water is.

I expect tomorrow night will have a number of Delegations and I trust that Council will weigh common sense much heavier than Provincial planning rules and regulations.

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