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Tell council approving rental units on farm land is wrong

A recent planning public meeting was a pure example of democracy gone wrong. Going against the planning department’s report to deny the application, council voted to approve an application to rezone a rural property to approve two illegally built rental units.  Land that is classified prime agricultural area.

Council voted to approve this application totally ignoring the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). This was an emotional and misguided decision based on how nice the units are and a sob story not facts, policy and totally dismissing any concerns brought forward by the planning department and concerned citizens.  They had obviously made their decision to approve before that July 17th meeting. Where was the democratic process? A question I would also like to ask council: “Would you be so quick to vote for this if it was in your own backyard?”

What struck us at the meeting of July 17th, were the comments made by councillors such as: “These units are so nice I would like to live there. Well this is not different than a B&B with six rooms (six rooms falls under an ‘Inn’ by the way). This is the hardest decision I have had to make. How many of these illegal units do we already have in the county?”

The “PPS” includes policies that promote efficient development patterns, long-term economic prosperity, the wise use of resources such as water, agriculture, natural heritage and cultural heritage, as well as policies that protect public health and safety in regard to natural hazards like flooding and human-made hazards like contaminated sites.

As many of us who live in prime agricultural areas of Ontario we elect our local government to responsibly develop the land around us according to the PPS. If our local council thinks that going against the PSS is for them to decide and break the rules based on a sob story, they have truly forgotten why we elected them, what their job is and that they work for us the voters.

We are opposing this rezoning not only as neighbours but because it goes against PPS policy, creates density development, affects property rights, sets precedent for further rezoning of rural residential and fails to retain the historical and agricultural heritage. If this is approved this will indeed open up a whole can of worms as they say.

The owner built two illegal units already and has a lot more space to build more and I ask what will stop that from happening if the current ones are approved?

Council is sending the message “come here, build what you want not only illegally but even if your property is not zoned for what you build  and no matter what you will get our blessing” even if council itself has to break the rules to make you happy.

We imagine that this issue is the topic of conversation around the County! If you share our concerns, don’t like the direction council is taking the County, this might be just the time for you to step up to the plate, stand up for what you believe in and tell them so. And don’t forget to remind them they work for us.  I don’t think a politician can be reminded of that too often.

Register NOW to make your deputation at the August 27th meeting. If you can’t make the meeting at least speak to your councillor as word on the street is some are digging their heels in about their misguided decision.

Linda and David Mather, Bloomfield

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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