One has to wonder about the fiscal responsibility being shown by continuing to invest in this losing battle.
Council must work within the guidelines set out by the Official Plan. Every land owner or developer has the right to expect that Town Council will abide by the rules of law versus make up their own. When they don’t – they have the legal remedy to appeal to the OMB. “In February, a divisional court dismissed the argument put forth by the town and residents…”
Making up her own rules may work for Mayor Phyllis Morris when she has the votes of 5 Councillors in her pocket, but when she steps outside these boundaries into the real world — one governed by rules not of her own making – we have seen how successful she has been thus far. Not very.
This is just one more example of her complete lack of real leadership experience.
Will Council provide a financial accounting for the legal and staff costs to fight this development rather than working to get Aurora the best deal possible? We doubt it. It would prove too costly for the incumbents re-election dreams.
Surely she wouldn’t have us believe that releasing the price being spent would be considered “exposing their legal strategy”? The amount spent on legal and the actual strategy are two different conversations.
The only strategy it might expose is their complete lack of fiscal accountability when it involves spending our money on pet projects — with no gain to the citizens of Aurora as a whole.
Perhaps Mayor Phyllis Morris is counting on people forgetting the waste of our tax dollars on the unwarranted legal bills when the election comes this October. We doubt that too!
By Sean Pearce, May 14, 2010 – 4:00 PM
Aurora hires experts for Westhill battle
In its ongoing efforts to halt the Westhill development, Aurora is enlisting the aid of a trio of experts.
The town opposes Lebovic Enterprises’ planned Westhill development, which would see 75 homes and an 18-hole golf course built on a slice of the Oak Ridges Moraine near Leslie Street and Bloomington Road.
Last week, the town retained a hydrogeologist, geoscientist and planner to bolster its case. However, because the decision to do so was made in closed session, town spokesperson Jason Ballantyne said he couldn’t disclose the reason behind the move or how much it will cost taxpayers.
Frustrated, Councillor Alison Collins-Mrakas said she could say very little on the matter except that council voted in favour of hiring the experts. All the other information is protected by closed session confidentiality, she said.
“I hope, in the very near future, we can speak about this issue,” she said. “I think the public deserves to know why council made the decision it did.”
Aurora council denied the developer’s application in 2008 and the company appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board soon after.
The case has gone back and forth between the OMB and divisional court ever since as the town and nearby residents, fearful for their well water, sought a joint board hearing to have a plethora of environmental concerns addressed.
In February, a divisional court dismissed the argument put forth by the town and residents stating the joint board would be the only way to address the many environmental concerns.
The town sought leave to appeal in March.
Mayor Phyllis Morris said she, too, was limited in what she could say.
She couldn’t release the details on price, she said, but noted the three experts are well-regarded and have been retained to give their opinions in the Westhill case as it moves forward, be it back to the OMB or if the town is successful in its push to obtain a joint board hearing.
“I certainly don’t want to expose our legal strategy,” Mrs. Morris said. “At some point, we’d like to release the opinion of our solicitor on this matter, but that would have to be a council resolution.”