This council meeting didn’t pass the smell test this afternoon. Why so much conferring with legal counsel?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  January 14, 2013   They are back at their first Council Committee meeting and started out with the newly formulated Development and Infrastructure Committee which handles everything that the prodigious Scott Stewart produces.  The agenda was so long that it has to be published in two parts and managed at two sessions; the first this afternoon and the second this evening.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven chairs this one and is working towards having items that has direct impact on the public held at the evening session and other “stuff” held during the day.  The intention is to give the people paying for this road show as much time as they need to speak their minds.

Council did not cover itself with glory this afternoon.

The significant seven, add in three lawyers, and you don’t get a pass on a smell test. Wonder what Councillor Taylor would have had to say had he been able to attend?

At one point the Mayor slid out of his seat and tip-toed over to the city’s in-house legal counsel, Nancy Shea Nicol.  Sometime after that Shea-Nicol tip toed up to the horse shoe and whispered in the ear of chair Craven.

Shortly after that the outside lawyer, the kind that earn enough to wear the $1,500 silk suits and the cashmere winter coats, along with Shea Nicol and Blake Hurley, the other in-house lawyer, all trooped to the horse shoe and went into a closed session of council.

What’s the big secret?  Everyone knows the city is looking for a way to rezone land along the North Service Road between Walkers Line and Guelph Line, so that IKEA can buy the property and re-locate their store from Aldershot, where they appear to feel they have run out of space.

This city does not want to lose IKEA and it is apparently going to go through every hoop it can find to make that possible.

As one listened to the discussions this afternoon it was clear that there are some issues with the Planning Act and some of the Provincial Policies, which the city has to contend with.  It was abundantly clear too that the city planner, Bruce Krushelnicki,  is going to sign off on this one with his pen in one hand and the other holding his nose.

This is not going to be pretty.

They will be at it again this evening during which time it should be clearer as to just what it is they want to pull off.

One got the sense that everyone was standing in the foyer of a criminal court-house where people whispered to each other behind cupped hands.

There is a problem with getting IKEA into the site they want to buy and re-locate to, and that problems is not limited to just the rules and regulations they have to adhere to.

Drive along the section of North Service Road between Walkers Line and Guelph Line sometime and ask yourself if that road can handle the kind of traffic IKEA draws.

This problem needs much more serious thinking and if your planner isn’t 100% behind it – maybe it is time to take a pause.   When you have to turn to the lawyer time and again – you know something just isn’t right.  I think Burlington is better than this kind of approach.  Someone needs to press the reset button.

Run that “second best city in Canada to live in” thing by me again!


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