Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Posted by auroracitizen on February 23, 2010

Council Watch #6 – by Richard Johnson

You have to love the following quote from the news story below: “They never really understood the proposal, even though we tried to explain it to them,” Mr. Cherniak said.

Does that quote sound familiar to anyone that has followed the power supply issue closely? It really does take your breath away when you realize the lack of critical thinking that Aurora council continually demonstrates.

Even Councillor Buck’s response regarding the town spending money on legal battles is consistent with her stance in the power supply issues we have faced.

That said, I disagree that the town should not work to protect residents from inconsiderate or poorly planned public infrastructure and corresponding environmental impacts stemming from municipal development approvals. But also remember, this is the same council that approves poorly planned urban sprawl all of the time while trumpeting their efforts to allow cloths lines to be installed in postage stamp sized back yards as some form of environmental panacea. We are hardly talking about smart growth planning in Aurora.

This latest case serves as yet another example of why we need some new blood at the helm.

How can the town expect to win their latest legal battle when they can’t even understand the core issues or the viable alternatives ?

Knowing what we know, is it any wonder that the town has wasted $135,000 in legal fees in this case alone and are likely to waste far more ?

How many examples do we need to drive home the point that we would all benefit from more professional representatives on council ?

RJ

_____________________________________________________

Town loses appeal on golf course

But another appeal filed by town, residents to protect water.

BY SEAN PEARCE – February 19, 2010 05:41 PM

Aurora has been handed another setback in its fight to stop a golf course and housing development on the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine.

Earlier this month, a divisional court dismissed an appeal by the town and local residents arguing a joint board hearing involving representatives of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Environmental Review Tribunal would be necessary to gauge the suitability of the Westhill Development, eyed for an area near Leslie Street and Bloomington Road.

Lebovic Homes plans to build an 18-hole golf course and 75 luxury homes on the site, but the application was denied by council in 2008.

Since then, the matter has bounced back and forth between the OMB and the divisional court with the former body denying a joint board hearing and the latter supporting its lack of jurisdiction to even order one.

As such, the divisional court has repeatedly said the OMB is the appropriate venue to address the myriad of concerns raised by the town and residents.

Undaunted by the recent divisional court ruling, Mayor Phyllis Morris said she and her colleagues have since ordered their counsel to launch another appeal. Read Full Article.

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13 Responses to “Stupid Is As Stupid Does”

  1. Anonymous Just Because said

    This council is self indulgent. The Mayor claims to support residents in need. What the heck is she talking about, the people who started this fight with Westhill should be supporting their fight with their money, not the Towns. The neighbours who are oppposing this development have more money put together than the Town of Aurora has in its bank account. How needy are they. They want to fight, go ahead and fight but don’t do it on my dollar I have no interest if you are spending your own money. And when they claim it is because of water shortages, golf courses within walking distance, etc. etc. etc. they can stuff it! Their interest in this is strictly of a personal selfish nature.

  2. White Knight said

    After reading all the comments and understanding that we are a society of pampered “want mores” who always vote for the NIMBY principle, I can’t wait until the first proposal to introduce wind turbines in Aurora! Aurora happens to be THE windiest place I have ever lived (literally and metaphorically) and I would think a prime location to generate wind power.
    Imagine the shenanigans that will go on then!!

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Good Sir Knight,

      We have already seen the wind turbine issue in Aurora. Soon after the current council took office, the owners of ACI (Aurora Cable) wanted to errect wind turbines (albeit small ones) to power their equipment on their land for their service. I had people knocking on my door to sign a petition – and I live about a kilometer away from where they were to be. The NIMBY’s took over – the same group that seems to have a back yard in every issue – and mad their allies on council go to bat for them. What we got was some definitions on certain words that Evelina asked for. To be fair, some of the issues were about the storage of batteries on site – in case it’s not windy. Of course about a year or so later, ACI is sold to Rogers. The problem went away.

      Fuimus

    • Richard Johnson said

      There was already a wind turbine fight. Remember the ACI wind turbine issue ?

      Aurora has also been wind-mapped and there is not enough wind to justify large scale wind generation. There are far more windy locations than Aurora, but figuratively speaking I have to agree that Aurora is about as windy as it gets.

      I fully appreciate that everyone has their own views when it comes to infrastructure impacts on our community but I think that most people in my position would feel the same way as I do. My discussions with hundreds of people up and down the hydro corridor seem to support that conclusion. I’ve always worked towards finding a reasonable and viable solution for years and we actually found one, but it was Council that played such a huge role in screwing up their facts and logic. I would venture a guess that there is now about a 30 – 70 chance that new towers will scar Markham and possibly Aurora for years to come.

      There are options but all views need to heard and a well informed decision eventually needs to be made.

  3. Tim the Enchanter said

    RJ has made some very good points here but in my opinion, we’re still ignoring the underlying problem.

    Power supply (or lack thereof) is not an Aurora council issue; it is an issue for the residents of Aurora.
    The OPA will be making the decision, not Aurora council.
    If and when the brownouts/blackouts happen are we going to complain to council or the OPA?
    The OPA just needed to know what the residents wanted.

    Council needlessly put themselves in the position of deciding what they thought was the best choice when in fact all they should have done was supply a list of the available options with a concise backgrounder of pros and cons, let us have at it, then gather the results and pass them along to the OPA.
    No worries about which councillors understood the finer points of power generation.
    No worries about undue influence being brought to bear by those who supposedly have “friends” on council.
    No need to rely on casual straw polls such as was the case with the Gallo election vs. appointment situation.

    Having the televised debate/presentation was a step in the right direction and some information and comment was published in the Auroran which is fine but we needed more; perhaps an info mailing to ratepayers. The town’s lack of a comprehensive and interactive website really let us down here as well. Residents and qualified ratepayers should have password access to a section of the website that we can use for polls and votes.

    In the end our choices (or perhaps wishes) to meet future power demands appear to have been:
    A. Transmission towers
    B. Buried transmission lines
    C. Peaker plant
    D. Conservation (the turn the lights off and pray approach)
    E. None of the above

    As pointed out by Mr. Johnson, council had trouble figuring out which way the winds were blowing and ended up choosing ‘None of the above’.
    I wonder what Aurora’s residents would have chosen.
    Time will tell what the OPA chooses for us.

    while we wait in our funny little town.

    • Richard Johnson said

      To a certain extent I am too close to this issue and I do apologize for my long winded responses as a result, but I feel that the issues raised are important and worthy of consideration.

      The proverbial waters are muddied by the fact that both power generation and transmission are within the province’s jurisdiction while local hydro distribution and development approvals are municipal responsibilities. What has always struck me as most ironic is that the town demands that developers have all of their municipal infrastructure (i.e. water, roads, sewers etc.) needs addressed before building permits are issued and yet power is just assumed to be available.

      The power supply concerns we continue to face in 2010 were first identified in 2002 by the local power distribution companies and how much development do you think has been approved since then ? In fact we were told in 2004 that we had no time to consider all possible alternatives because the power supply situation was so dire and urgent that the proposed transmission solution had to be forced through ASAP when it was the respective municipal council’s never ending pursuit of growth that caused the problem in the first place ! It was the municipal level of government that did not plan ahead or deal with our infrastructure needs proactively or comprehensively in co-operation with the power authorities and the province, despite the fact that the Mayor sat on the board of the hydro distribution company (Aurora Hydro). It was Aurora Hydro and Newmarket Hydro (municipal entities) that were calling for the urgent solution while their respective councils did little to address the underlying issues. There is a clear and apparent disconnect when the municipality is screaming that we are in danger of brown-outs and black-outs while they approve more and more development and while both power conservation and smart growth planning is not taken as seriously as they should be.

      The municipality has a central role in designing our community and creating a certain aesthetic appeal. What we need is comprehensive and long term and considerate planning along the lines of what we have seen in the likes of Don Mills, Oakville, Markham and Mississauga. At the same time we have to be realistic and well informed about our infrastructure needs.

      While Aurora was at the very center of the transmission line fight council actually approved more homes to be developed along the hydro corridor at Bayview and Wellington and not only did council sell town own land to the developer in question, but they did not take steps to insure that the new home owners were informed of the potential significant change in the design of the transmission lines. Home owners ran the risk of losing between 10% and 35% of the value of their homes if the new towers were built within a year of them moving in. This devaluation estimate is based on a relevant study made by two appraisers for a similar case before the OMB (Lazar vs. Hydro One – 2004). The developer in question even went to great lengths to digitally remove the transmission lines from an areal photo that was used to market the property which suggests to me that they realised that even the existing lines were not a selling feature they wanted to emphasise, let alone the potential for a massive upgrade to far taller towers, more frequently spaced, with more lines. Meanwhile council was saying one thing to Hydro One via the Markham Hydro Task Force and through council resolutions and then turning around and taking its money while doing nothing to protect the new home owners from the very real risk they were apparently trying to address. To Councillor Buck’s credit, I think she pointed out the hypocrisy of Council’s actions.

      The Markham Task Force which Aurora made a token contribution to, asked for the newly created Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to clarify the identified need and explore all possible alternatives with due consideration for the resulting impacts on the community. This became the first and highest priority of the newly created provincial planning body (i.e. the OPA). Throughout the five full day Working Group discussions with all of the region’s municipalities represented, with the exception that Georgina who declined to come for some reason, and after the extensive consultations and public meetings, the OPA clarified the fact that we needed a diverse and redundant supply of power in order to meet North American power reliability standards. This is a very simple but important point that I am not at all sure that Phyllis understands even to this day.

      Conservation was clearly needed for environmental and system sustainability reasons, however conservation alone would not address the need, nor would solar or wind power. In fact new sustainable energy alternatives require back-up and peaking generation more than our current sources of power. It was determined that local peaking generation was the best technical, financial and environmental solution and a vast majority of interested parties, including Aurora Council, agreed with this conclusion after the 2005 OPA Working Group Recommendations were released.

      New distribution lines were brought north, upgrades to the Newmarket-Armitage transformer were completed and the proposed peaking plant was suggested as a critical component. A new transformer is also slated to be built in the general area of Aurora at some point in the not so distant future. All was well and good with the world and then Mayor Morris and her Mayoral counterparts dropped the ball in dramatic fashion. Absolutely no follow up was done and when it came time to find a location for the proposed gas fired peaking plant. Mayor Phyllis Morris and Sue Walmer of EAC / MegaWHAT started running around the region spouting a bunch of misinformation and nonsense about the viable alternatives and the potential impacts of the power plant. It was like Phyllis Morris forgot about the previous three years altogether. She showed up an hour late to an hour and a half Task Force meeting that was called for her benefit and to discuss her views with Markham, who spent over $750,000 in our collective defence. Rather than listen to well informed authorities Phyllis turned to Sue Walmer who had absolutely no interest in the power supply issue for the previous three and a half years despite my many attempts to engage EAC, who I assumed were an environmental advisory body. It was extremely hard for me to watch Phyllis squander a golden opportunity to work with the OPA in setting a new EA standard by constructively participating in a new power procurement process. Phyllis’s actions since becoming elected have left me (almost) speechless and disappointed beyond words. From my perspective she has not delivered what was promised in her election brochure.

      The municipality was consulted by the OPA and many authorities on the power supply issue were not given an opportunity to consult council, despite their best efforts to do so and council then proceeded to blow the opportunity to make a significant contribution to how major power supply infrastructure is designed and implemented. It has been nothing short of embarrassing to watch the incompetent debate at council while they fumbled with the most basic facts and don’t think for a second that the OPA was not completely frustrated by our council’s apparent incompetence. I know for a fact that they were we could well pay for it in the end.

      Oakville, Mississauga and King are having a rally at Queens Park on March 1st, 2010 in order to address their concerns over gas fired generation and the OPA’s procurement process and yet it was Mayor McCallion, the City of Toronto and me (trying desperately to represent Aurora) that voiced concerns over what was the draft provincial Bill 51. Despite three days of presentations made to the Queen’s Park Standing Committee reviewing the bill, no changes were made to the specific section of my concern and as a result of the draft bill being passed unchanged in this specific regard, the province now has greater rights to impose unwanted power supply infrastructure on unwilling host municipalities without the municipalities having the same rights they once had under the Planning Act. Phyllis ignored my pleas to address this issue and we may all pay a price for that eventually.

      I appreciate that this is a long story that most people are not interested in hearing about but in a nut shell, Phyllis’s true colours have come to light through this issue. Despite my wordiness, I have only but scratch the surface of what has transpired over the past five years.

      Phyllis had her own reasons for leveraging the support of S.T.O.P. and Markham, however I did not realise the full extent of how little she understood and how little she cared about knowing the facts. In the end Phyllis was not what she claimed to be and it is that one message I want to deliver to the people of Aurora before the next election. As a direct result of her bungling and some issues with the OPA’s procurement process the proposed peaker plant could well fail, resulting in Markham and Aurora seeing our five year fight to stop the new transmission lines from being imposed, go down the drain. Tens of millions of dollars will have been wasted by various stakeholders; years will have been wasted and thousands of home owners could see a drop in their home equity. All because of blatant incompetence and a self serving approach to local government. The fact that the peaker offers a net benefit to the environment is a little point that not even EAC seems to be able to grasp. There are a lot of reasons to be appalled by the lack of awareness at any number of levels but I can only hope that the truth will carry some weight at the end of the day (most importantly on election day).

  4. Richard Johnson said

    Dear Councillor Buck:

    Sorry in advance for my long winded response, but…

    With all due respect Councillor Buck (and I mean that), while you have demonstrated an extremely poor understanding of the underlying power supply issues I think that we can and should be able to respectfully agree to disagree. That very point is why I take such great exception to the Mayor’s inclination to hire lawyers and an integrity commissioner in order to silence you, not to mention her efforts to slander you in the media, at AMO as well as on the front pager of the town’s website. I’m prepared to fight to defend free speech even if I disagree with at least some of the points being argued because I, like you, will continue to speak my mind and “call a spade a spade” based on the best information I have at my disposal.

    I also fully respect that you have always been consistent in not wanting to spend any money on legal fees or the likes of the Hydro Task Force, even for an issue that could have potenitally cost impacted residents tens of millions of dollars in home equity while the aesthetics of our community were adversely impacted, which was the case in the transmission line fight. I am merely making the point that I feel that there are cases when council should defend its resident’s interests, even if the Lebovic fight might not be one of them. At the same time I am suggesting that council be better informed before they take any given stance.

    With regards to the potential health impacts caused by electro-magnetic fields, I agree that this is a controversial aspect of our transmission line fight, but you are choosing to ignore the substantial research that links living in close proximity to hydro corridors to increased risk of childhood leukemia and the subsequent health warnings from the WHO and the Department of Health in the United States. I respect that it is your right to choose who to listen to but no one can deny that there is a perceived risk in the minds of many.

    Recent legislation in Connecticut demands larger right of ways and the burying of high voltage transmission lines behind residential areas for the very same reasons that our citizen’s group and the Town of Markham chose to fight Hydro One. All we ever requested as a Task Force is that alternatives be adequately explored, which eventually did occur as a result of our efforts and great expense. Our concerns related to the procurement process were not all addressed but that is yet another issue that failed in no small part due to Aurora Council’s mismanaging of the OPA’s planning and consultation process.

    I have to say that one of my most powerful memories of the whole power supply fight was your on camera statement that implementing the “precautionary principle” as it related to transmission lines meant that “kids should not climb on hydro towers”, which clearly demonstrated that you had not taken the time to even remotely explore the issue or to understand what the World Health Organisation was saying.

    I also had to watch the current Council pass a resolution and take actions against the proposed peaker plant (which we asked for and supported in the first place) THE NIGHT BEFORE an open house by one of the power company proponents. The statements being made by Councillors at the Town Hall clearly demonstrated a lack of understanding of some of the most basic facts. Two Councillors that attended the said open house the night after the vote was taken were heard to say something along the lines of “gee, I wish I knew this information before we voted”. No kidding ! Council clearly ignored the repeated attempts of the OPA, the Task Force (which the town once supported), power companies, APPrO and other well informed sources because, from my perspective, its stance was pre-determined by the likes of Mayor Morris and Councillor MacEachern. It is also notable that that Mayor’s close friend, Sue Walmer, who headed EAC at the time, and who ignored the power supply issues facing out town for over three and a half years prior to the vote and who then subsequently joined MegaWHAT (which Mayor Morris misrepresented at one point) while she messed up her facts and logic, seems to suggest a whole lot about what may well have been happening behind the scenes if you ask me. It appears that the facts did not matter as much as relationships. Surprise, surprise.

    I am also on record for suggesting that all municipalities should be doing a better job of managing our development and corresponding infrastructure and environmental needs. The municipality continues to approve massive development schemes without ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is supplied in a responsible and considerate fashion. You will no doubt argue that power supply is a provincial jurisdiction but my point is that the apparent disconnect between the two levels of government has raised numerous issues of concern that continue to be unresolved. Council clearly botched a huge opportunity to influence the OPA’s new procurement process and set new standards related to corresponding environmental impacts (including socio-economic impacts). As a result of Council’s bungling we lost all credibility and the OPA now seems to be forced to adopt the age old method of imposing unwanted infrastructure on unwilling host communities.

    Your understanding of the status of the peaker plant remains flawed and ill-informed, which serves to demonstrate my point well. The peaker plant is before the OMB and has not yet been mothballed or significantly delayed as your statement seems to imply. The fact is that the best possible site selection and mitigation measures were not understood or supported by the municipalities. The project could fail as a result of an appeal by King Township as well as the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority but we will have to await the outcome of the upcoming ten day OMB hearing. All of the region’s municipalities had an opportunity to address reasonable concerns in a well informed and proactive fashion but that is not what happened. We just said “no” to everything without proposing a single viable alternative that had not already been ruled out.

    There are technical, financial and environmental reasons to support the considerate implementation of the peaker plant however all too many people continue to not even understand the basic underlying technical need for the facility, let alone the viable alternatives.

    As a direct result of Aurora Council’s poor handling of the peaker plant issue we may now be faced with the OPA implementing its stated fallback position; namely transmission. I expect that within a couple of months we will know the end result of the peaker plant procurement debacle but I can assure you that Aurora Council has made a mess of this entire issue for years.

    The root of many problems appears to be that Council does not take the time to become well informed or to have civil debate before they take action, which any number of recent meetings seem to suggest. That’s my point, as confusing and long winded as it may be and regardless of our differences my hope is that you continue to fight your good fight as you see fit.

    Respectfully,
    RJ

    • evelyn buck said

      I would like to clarify a couple of points Richard.
      I do not challenge any person’s right to fight for or against something they believe in wholeheartedly.

      I have not opposed the right of the Well Street neighbourhood to fight the good fight. It is not my decision to make. As their elected representative, it is not my place to oppose their effort.

      I took the same position on the increased voltage in transmission lines. It was never council’s decision to make. We did send representation to the working group which recommended an alternative plan for small generating plants. I didn’t believe that would be accepted. And i knew our new mayor would not fight for its acceptance. She did not.

      But there was another factor in the hydro fight. IN a public meeting after the high voltage was proposed, our former Mayor was asked about his commitment the existing transmission lines would be buried.

      I asked at what meeting had that commitment been made and received no answer.

      There had been a mayoralty contest. I suspected, as often happens since Ms Morris has been involved in Aurora politics, the issue was
      contrived during that election. A commitment was made by one candidate and matched by the other,

      Burying the transmission corridor was never feasible nor was it a commitment either candidate could make.. But apparently they did. And prior to any indication of increased voltage overhead.

      It’s typical Morris strategy. Encourage people to believe the impossible can happen and only Phyllis can make it happen and let other candidates eat her dust.

    • Richard Johnson said

      In response to Councillor Buck, February 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm :

      Mayor Jones told a group of new home owners in Aurora Grove that he would make his best efforts to have the existing lattice towers removed and to create a “park like setting with a trail” behind the 175 (plus) homes immediately bordering the hydro corridor. When over 250 people showed up to Aurora Council at the very first public meeting to address this issue (following the 750 +++ people that showed up to Markham council), Mayor Jones did not recall ever making such a promise at which point three separate groups of long time residents of Aurora Grove stood up independently and said they were at the meeting in question where they claimed he did in fact make that claim.

      The issue was raised in the spring of 2004 which was two years before the election. It was not “contrived” as an election issue and no one promised to bury any lines during the 2006 election as I can recall, given that the 2005 OPA Working Recommondations had already been made and even blessed by Aurora Council. You recollection of events in this case is once again incorrect.

      In 2004 and 2005 there were over a dozen public meetings with most being attended by between 250 and 850 people. At least some politicians made an effort to understand the issues and represent their constituents on a major infrastructure requirement that could have had serious implications on our community aesthetics, real estate values and the environment (not to mention the health concerns). Clearly Markham, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, King and any number of other Councils feel that it is their job to weigh in on such significant issues(given that all have done so), therefore they all seem to disagree with your hands off stance, just as I do.

      As far as burying the transmission lines are concerned, that option was never priced out specifically however an estimate of $50 to $60 million was provided which would have pushed the total cost of the 25 km line to approximately $120 million. Interestingly, $50 million is the same amount of money that was estimated to have been potentially lost by thousands of impacted home owners along the 12 km corridor behind dense residential areas where the lines could have been buried.

      A law was passed in Connecticut that demands burying of high voltage transmission lines along residential corridors and on top of that their right or way for transmission lines is also a few times larger than ours. You may feel that the extra money would not have been well spent but Hydro One seems to be able to find the money to underground transmission lines in Toronto and elsewhere, when they see fit to do so. Hydro One also has an obligation under the Environmental Assessment Act to mitigate negative impacts of their projects, however they refuse to admit that a 140 foot high pole with ten lines on it would have any negative impact on a home located less than 100 feet away, which is patently ridiculous give that they lost their case before the OMB on just such an issue when lines were upgraded 500 feet away from a home (OMB, Lazar vs. HONI – 2004).

      Where there is the will there is the way. Maybe the town should have planned ahead enough to avoid putting homes so close to a 90 to 140 foot wide hydro corridor in the first place or maybe someone should demand that real estate agents follow their own code of ethics by not giving false or misleading assurances or implying to home potential buyers that the existing transmission lines are unlikely to ever be upgraded, as has apparently occurred in countless cases along the corridor in question. Developers have been known to give similar assurances as well however they have no cvode of conduct rules that address such issues as far as I’m aware. Clearly someone needs to look out for the interests of residents if our elected officials are incapable or unwilling to do so.

    • Anonymous said

      “Maybe the town should have planned ahead enough to avoid putting homes so close to a 90 to 140 foot wide hydro corridor in the first place or maybe someone should demand that real estate agents follow their own code of ethics by not giving false or misleading assurances or implying to home potential buyers that the existing transmission lines are unlikely to ever be upgraded”

      Or maybe, Mr Johnson, people shouldn’t buy houses in proximity to hydro corridors, or is it always someone else’s fault? Just a thought…

    • Richard Johnson said

      To Anonymous, February 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm

      Quote: “Or maybe, Mr Johnson, people shouldn’t buy houses in proximity to hydro corridors, or is it always someone else’s fault? Just a thought…”

      The above quote from Anonymous is a fair point, however when we bought our home we did ask about the future status of the power lines and were told that because we were located on the Oak Ridges Moraine the existing towers would not likely be expanded and in fact that they were more likely to be removed. People up and down the hydro corridor in Aurora and Markham have been given the very same type of assurances that I know now are hollow assurances. The existing lines are running at or near distribution line capacity and they are not running at their full 115kv capacity, so technically the large lattice towers could be removed or put on wood poles.

      More than one real estate agent has sold homes near us while not even mentioning the potential for the towers to expand which is their obligation under paragraph 12 of their code of ethics. When I’ve asked real estate agents what they know about the status of the corridor (even during the peak of the fight) they have virtually all given me nothing but assurances that there is little to worry about with regards to tower expansion and despite over 85 news stories appearing in the local papers over the first two or three years of the fight they have never once provided a true picture of what is happening.

      We tried to do our due diligence when we bought but clearly we did not have the full picture. If I had been told that the lines and towers were slated to double in size and frequency of spacing then I would not have bought beside the corridor. As much as we love our home now, we will be moving if the towers expand and despite the fact that our home value could well drop if the tower expansion is announced.

      I always thought that smart growth planning was supposed to work towards creating communities that people actually wanted to live in, but at the same time I realise that we also need infrastructure. All I have ever hoped for is to set reasonable mitigation standards and set backs for power supply infrastructure. the anonymous commenter has every right to disagree with my views and we could turn Aurora into an eye sore, but I think that would be very unfortunate.

    • someone who loves this town more than Anonymous said

      I often find myself agreeing with Mr. Johnson and he does raise significant points and backs them up well.
      That being said, I find myself more aligned with Anonymous 5:32pm.

      I’m not as close to this particular issue.

      I myself looked at the properties that were situated under the powerlines over by Baview when I was doing my initial search to buy a home in Aurora back in early 2005.

      There were several reasons I did not want to live in and around Baview, among them included high density housing that brings with it a lower quality of life, low build quality, lower resell value and lack of access to anything but stripmalls.

      There were some positives like access to 404, oh and maybe access to the same stripmalls but they didn’t outweigh the feeling of living in any middle American suburban sprawled faceless and cold wasteland.

      After looking at only 2 semis (detached houses in that area, that aren’t McMansions are rare) and walking around outside the area both my real estate agent and I did the friendly giant thing, we looked up, way up. We both saw the power lines and that sealed the deal right there.

      I think both of us said the same thing at the same time : “oh…..who would want to live here?”

      Regardless of the struggles of trying to resell a home underneath power lines, there is a huge health issue at play.

      From my perspective the homes that are located there are more undesirable than almost anywhere else in town that are built in the same style and same age, for the very reasons I mentioned: location, and perceived negative health risks.

      Should the town have planned ahead? I’d like to say yes.
      It is my belief that the town should do everything in its power to outline and maintain the best use and quality of its land, in conjunction with developers so that stupidity like this doesn’t happen. When it does it devalues the entire town.

      i find it hilarious when in council the mayor makes comments about unsightly buildings on Yonge St that are in the area zoned for the downtown revitalization effort, yet we have these powerlines over houses to the east and I guess we’re just supposed to ignore them.

      Should buyers beware? most certainly yes. Always yes.

      I don’t need assurances from developers (which mean absolutely nothing) that items in play will not be subject to change, because that is something out of their control.

      It is my experiences that there are people who make educated purchases, and those that don’t. The ones that don’t, like the few in our town that squawk about the train whistle don’t like certain aspects of their location.

      They cry like spoiled children.

      No one forced you to locate where you are.
      If you don’t like it you can move.

      Maybe next time you’ll pay more attention to your surroundings before you make a nest.

  5. evelyn buck said

    Richard…you do seem to be confusing things somewhat. I have taken the same stance on the Wells Street School as I took to the Hydro issue. We did not agree then You were quite critical.I had to insist I had the same right as you to take a stand.. Unlike Ms. Morris, I did not promise you and your neighbours the transmission lines would be buried. You wanted that to be true. You chose to accept her version of the matter.

    I did not agree that your childern were at risk from emmisisons from Hydro lines.I indicated if I had children and believed hydro lines endanged teir lives, I would not have bought a house in the leeof a transmission corridor. Or if I made that mistake I would waste no time selling the house and buying in a neighborhood without a transmission corridor.

    You chose to fight. You stopped the high voltage lines. The governnment created a new power agency. The alternative was a “peaking” power plant. It was never built because the people in its neighbourhood didn’t want that and Ms morris went to bat for them as well.

    Now it;s proposed for a location in King . And the people there don’t want it either.

    So, it hasn’t happened. They said we would have blackouts by 2006 if the power supply wasn’t increased. They promised to close d he coal fueled plants at the lake. They did thae,I believe. I think the crusade here gave the government the reaon they needed to close down the coal-fired generating stations and build smaller plants elsewhere. They called them ‘peaker’ plants. I didn’t believe that. Not with the huge investment necessary.

    Now where are we? Are we using less power? Are we less at risk from brown outs. Is the plant in King going ahead?

    It is no more my decision to make now than it was then? But occasionally I wonder when the lights will go out.

    You probably helped to keep my vote low in your neighbourhood in the same way you helped to get Ms Morris elected.Butthat’s your right Richard. That is your right.

    In the same way it is the right of the people in the Wells Street neighborhood to fight for a school which has been closed for several years to be re-opened. And for the people who do not agree to argue just as strongly,it should not be.

    And for someone like Ms Morris to jump in wjherever and tell you exactly what you want to hear.

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