Mayor decides to try on transparency for size – it looked pretty good on him. He just might do that again.

The city decided it would be easier to fight a residents’ appeal than that of a developer and so they threw the people in the Ghent Avenue neighbourhood under the bus and gave the developer what staff  had recommended.

The number of trees on the property that will be cut down were a concern to many who felt there was a way for a developer to work them into the project. This is the only tree lot in Ward 2.

We would learn later in the evening how council would vote on the matter but before they got to that point there were several motions that came out of the Closed Session. Usually the public learns very little, if anything,  when they go behind those closed doors but Monday night Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward decided she wanted her colleagues to waive the right they had to keep everything confidential and at least tell the public what part of their decision was about.

On matters like this Meed Ward and Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor are usually the only two that care more than a hoot about transparency.  Meed Ward asked that the decision to let the public see something be a recorded vote.

To our surprise Mayor Goldring voted with Meed Ward and Taylor to let the public see part of the confidential document.

Councillor Craven might have voted for the motion if it had come from anyone other than Meed Ward.

So – on this one – some progress.  The Mayor is beginning to see the merits of some transparency on matters discussed in closed sessions.

Council had a confidential legal opinion on what they would run into with the options that were in front of them on the decision they had to make on the Ghent Avenue project.  They could vote for the staff direction to approve the project; they could take the side of the residents and not approve the project but invite the developer to return with a modified project.

Ward 5 Councillor Sharman said he didn’t think the trees the residents wanted to keep were “essential” and that he was “prepared to test the resolve of the residents to go to the OMB”.  Bad form for any politician to decide to “test the resolve” of voters.

This meeting was the first time the Mayor asked for security within the Council chamber.  It was that kind of a meeting.

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