Thursday, April 29, 2010
Mom & Dad = Council
Staff/Public/Stakeholders = kids/banker/employer/neighbours
Their VISION = take a trip to China
They do a STRATEGIC PLAN = a slow boat to China, a supersonic jet, dirt cheap trip or most expensive possible done on credit cards, a weekend trip or a year long event with input from their banker, kids, employers, neighbours as to the feasibility of their plan
The ACTION ITEMS = tickets are booked, mail is cancelled, bags packs, animals delivered to the kennel, arrangements made with the neighbours to watch the house, etc. etc.
Each “department” (kid) makes their plans based on the VISION/STRAT PLAN/ACTION ITEMS = book their time off work/school, ensure they have their passports, pack their own bags and be at the airport on time.
Therefore, based on this analogy:
Council = VISION
Council/public/staff = STRAT PLAN
Staff (including the Planner) = ACTION ITEMS
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
"..the north end of Vaughan will remain agricultural, with an eye to trying to cultivate local food production on those lands."
Click for entire article:
Yes it will be a tough sell in Vaughan, but pretty visionary. Imagine then why, with probably THE best prime agricultural land in Ontario, if not Canada, in an agricultural area our local Council doesn't have this vision.
In fact Vaughan's draft OP calls for 6,000 acres in the north end to remain in farm production. That nicely offsets the 6,000 acres Melancthon's planning consultant has designated in the draft OP for aggregate.
It seems urban municipalities are "getting it". We need food to live. Even Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff seems to "get it" when he announced that if elected (cough, cough) the Liberals would enact a national food policy.
"the agricultural food sector is the cornerstone of the country’s economy, he said. This sector provides one out of every eight jobs and generates $42 billion annually, accounting for 8 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product."
Click for entire article: http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/805462--liberals-pitch-food-plan
I wish our local Council would "get it".
We have sustainable jobs now As long as the prime agricultural land remains ON the ground, the farming/agricultural sector will employ people. Once a giant hole is dug and the limestone removed, there is nothing-no farmland, no jobs, no community NOTHING, well except a big hole in the ground filled with water.
Sadly Melancthon Council's main priority seems to be not going to the OMB every for any reason at all. Not over a tree cutting bylaw, not a demolition control bylaw and certainly not over a 2,400 acre 200 foot hole in the ground.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Bill’s final sentence in his letter states:
“Council has nothing to hide if either of the Malloy’s are not clear about things all they have to do is ask.”
Well he is right; all you have to do is ask.
BUT there are rules about HOW you ask.
If you want an answer in a meeting of Council, so everyone knows what was asked and and the reply/answer gets into the public record via the meeting minutes the rules are:
You get to ask ONE question at each Council meeting;
The question must be submitted in writing, in advance;
There is no opportunity for follow up questions because that would mean you asked TWO questions;
If there is time, then they will accept verbal questions, but again ONE question per person;
Anyone who has attended a Council meeting in the past 16 months knows this because Melancthon’s procedure bylaw, which was revamped in 2009 by this Council (exception to Councillor White) says so.
On the other hand, if you are Highlands you apparently get to submit one written question per employee per meeting AND then the Highland spokesperson who attends every meeting of Council still gets to ask a question at the meeting, which at times is a follow up question to one of the written questions that was submitted in advance.
AND as the spokesperson for Highlands, at times you even get to ANSWER some of the questions that are posed by ratepayers to Councillors.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
This took about 15 minutes to do. Albeit, it may look like it took 15 minutes and it clearly can use some work, perhaps it could be a starting point for our local Council....??
I would suggest that Council could have a pretty good plan done in a month, even with staff and public consultation.
Recognize and protect the heritage and social fabric of the community as well as the unique farming soil in the municipality:
· promote Melancthon through various local fairs by offering a special prize for the most unique antique farming implement displayed
· encourage a special yearly display at the County Museum to celebrate the history of agriculture and how it shaped and formed Melancthon
· sponsor and promote a contest to provide a slogan for Melancthon Township with a slant on agriculture and our unique soil
· conduct the necessary studies to have the land designated specialty crop/soil
· amend the OP to designate the specialty soil lands under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA)
· designate homes under the Heritage Designation Act
· pass a demolition control bylaw with respect to barns and houses
· take part in local festivals and events in parades and celebrations promoting Melancthon and its history and heritage
Promote economic development in the Township of Melancthon through diversification based on the principles of the new economy as well as support of existing business:
· support existing aggregate operations and new operations in areas that will not impact prime agricultural land
· support through the OP& zoning process home based businesses
· promote Melancthon’s agricultural diversity and uniqueness through a farmers market, partnering with local food and 100 mile food initiatives
· support existing aggregate operations and designate new aggregate areas in Melancthon which do not impact prime agricultural land
· create signage unique to Melancthon and post at all major transportation corridors
· designate a councillor to sit on the Shelburne & District Economic Development Committee
· support the Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce
· continue to support and monitor existing wind turbines facilities and operations
· ensure that all of the municipality has access to broadband/high speed internet which is integral to the success of existing business as well as the recruitment relocation of the creative class
Recognize and promote the citizen’s right to a balanced environment and secure source of water and ensure safeguards are in place to protect citizens:
· declare the municipality one of the most important recharge areas in the province of Ontario and circulate to all Ministries
· ensure that no one industry/business/operation is permitted to jeapordize the environment or water sources through zoning, OP’s and various designations available
· pass a municipal tree cutting bylaw
· do all studies for source water protection, hydrology, etc. as is prudent
· continue to monitor the landfill site closely
· etc. etc.
· ensure that all native species and species at risk are acknowledged and protected
Promote and provide a balanced and healthy quality of life for residents:
· continue to support the Mulmur, Dundalk and Shelburne arenas and pools
· support local sports teams
· lobby with other local municipalities to keep the Shelburne hospital site open
· continue to lobby with other municipalities to recruit physicians and nurse practitioners
· support the existing trail system on which there are various recreational activities including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, horseback riding, walking, ATV’ing, etc. etc.
· officially recognize the Township of Melancthon as the home of Aaron Downey, Stanley Cup Champion and Bert Wilson, NHL player through permanent signage
· promote cultural events in neighbouring municipalities including the Shelburne and Dundalk theatre groups
Over the past few blogs I have been taking select lines and quotes and doing a play by play analysis.
Bill states in this letter:
"The Official Plan has to comply with Provincial legislation. Council and the public want to have their say as well. The suggestion that we aren’t putting our vision on the report is not correct.
Once the review is done, input digested and
incorporated as the law allows, Council will be able to articulate the views held by them and the ratepayers and it will form part of the plan.
To do it before the report has been reviewed and revised is premature. "
So here it is broken down step by step:
Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. "
A council is elected.
EARLY in their term, usually within weeks of being sworn in, they have strategic planning meetings to each put forth their vision/mandate/plan for the municipality. You know, to formulate the reasons why they ran and what they want to accomplish in their mandate.
Staff and public input are sought as part of the process.
A facilitator works with them to moderate the session and the group comes to a consenus. There are usually 3-5 priorities, under which objectives/action plans are initiated and budget implications are calculated
For instance, lets say for argument's sake one priority agreed upon would be to have THE best agricultural community in Ontario based on specialty soils.
Every report with a recommendation to Council (note to Melancthon: most municipalities do not read the correspondence/requests out loud, staff provide WRITTEN reports with recommendations upon which Council needs to vote) sets out how it ties into the Strategic Plan and the financial implications.
Pretty simple actually.
The strategic plan/vision statement becomes the overarching high level "map" for lack of a better word for the term of Council
That would ALSO mean any Official Plan would be tied into the Strategic plan, NOT the other way around.
Don't believe me? Take a look at the City of Windsor's links. They set a strat plan, THEN did their OP review.
http://www.citywindsor.ca/002167.asp (note the date, 2006)
http://www.citywindsor.ca/DisplayAttach.asp?AttachID=10375 (note the date, 2007)
The City of Barrie even has their strategic priorities laminated and on the walls throughout their municipal building.
The point here is COUNCIL is to set the direction/policy with input from staff and the public-not the municipal planner, lawyer, staff, public or Highlands and everything ELSE, including the OP, ties into that.
Maybe I am interpreting Bill's letter incorrectly, but he seems to be saying that AFTER the province, the planner and the lawyer tell them what they have to do, then each one of Council will put their "own" vision forward and somehow out of that will come forth a plan for Melancthon.
I have to ask again, if the planner and province are going to tell Council what do to, what do we need Council for? And seriously, FIVE individual councillors are each going to put forth their own vision, as opposed to coming on a consensus as to what the ONE vision for the township should be.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Well, consider this - first of all that is the going rate for planners. (NOTE TO KIDS: go to school and be a planner.)
So lets do the math.
At $81,000.00 a year, based on a 35 hour work week for 52 weeks a year comes to:
Since we have no idea how many hours the current planning consultant charges us (except for the 7 committed hours a month in office since June 2009) lets be generous and say he charges us for 20 hours a month for 12 months of the year, based on the planning consultant fees paid in 2009 of $65,000.00, comes to:
Friday, April 23, 2010
“To suggest Melanchthon needs a full time planner is not accurate. We did 7 severances in 2009. "
FIRSTLY : Melancthon’s own figures for 2009 show taxpayers paid Planning & Development fees of $65,039.08. Bill’s letter seems to intimate that all the planner did was 7 severances in 2009. Wow, if that is true, that is approximately $9,200 per severance in planning fees.
IF however you look at Melancthon’s breakdown in numbers, the OP planning expense was $12,000.00, the wind projects required planning fees of about $12,000.00, and general planning fees of $40,000.00 were paid.
And don’t forget, until June 2009 Melancthon’s planning consultant never stepped foot in the office. It was only in June and ONLY on pressure from ratepayers that Melancthon Council had the planner attend – ONE DAY A MONTH.
And the planning consultant has been “working on” Melancthon’s OP for 6 years and has not produced a completed map or final draft. Seems like he is trying his best to make a full time job out of that.
Bill goes on to state:
“The cost would NOT be a few thousand dollars more but probably two or three times the current amount, because there would not be the work to employ him full time.”
So by Bill’s figures it would cost Melancthon about $200,000 a year for a full time planner. And by a full time planner we don't mean a full time planning consultant, but a full time employee.
Lets take a look:
Here is a link to the City of Hamilton’s website advertising for an experienced senior planner:
You will note the salary range is from $70,980 to $81,062.00 per year. Lets take the highest amount, add 20% for benefits and Melancthon can have a FULL TIME PLANNER for about $97,000.00 a year-NOT the $200,000.00 that Bill projects.
As for Bill’s statement there wouldn’t be enough work: HONESTLY... this planner would be dealing with the biggest aggregate application EVER proposed in Ontario. And it appears there will be more wind projects. And the next OP review.
And perhaps they could actually get someone who could multi-task, you know produce all bylaws in house as most other municipalities do, instead of paying a solicitor every single time you need a bylaw. Maybe this planner could even do the reports that go with the bylaws, instead of having to hire ANOTHER planning consultant to do that job. The planner could do bylaw enforcement and legislative research. Dare I suggest even work on a Strategic Plan????
Mono has a Deputy Clerk/Planner. Melancthon has a CAO/Clerk/Treasurer. That employee can do three jobs....
Just a thought.
More in another post.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Does this picture remind anyone of our current Deputy Mayor/Mayoralty Candidate Mister Bill.....
You know, the Black Knight (aka Bill) in the Monty Python sketch who argues, "tis but a scratch", then "it is just a flesh wound" as Arthur/ratepayers, in disbelief and frustration, cut off limb after limb after limb, leaving the Black Knight, nothing but a torso lying there, spurting blood, still arguing..... "Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!" IT IS THE PROVINCES FAULT!!!!
Moral of the story and someone's potential campaign slogan: If you never give up, you can't possibly lose.
Anyone.....or is it just me????
Maybe it is just me....
Oh no, he is at it again.
You would think Mayoralty Candidate Bill Hill (currently Deputy Mayor) of Melancthon would have enough do to with sitting on Council and various committees and running for Mayor in the October 2010 election and running a business, but no...
It appears he has time to take pen to paper yet again to argue with ratepayers (potential voters) and other municipal candidates.
Bill has never been one to take criticism lying down, well...actually he's never been one to take criticism at all, so this shouldn't be surprising, but surprised I am.
Here is a link to this week's Mister Bill letter to the editor:
Keep in mind, this is Bill's SECOND letter to this ratepayer (and declared candidate) on the same issue in two weeks. Check out the blog posting for April 15 for the backstory.
So, in the interests of keeping people engaged in the forthcoming rant I will address some of his letter in today's post and some in tomorrow's post. After all I don't want to bore people or tire them out.
Bill states in this week's letter to the editor:
"When I heard Mr. Malloy filed his papers for the position of Councillor I called him to congratulate him for “stepping up” and offered to meet with him at his convenience to have a “big picture” discussion and bring him up to speed on some issues. He wasted no time declining my offer of help."
Read that again-Bill offered to bring this candidate "up to speed" on some issues. NOT that Bill offered to have a mutual dialogue, but rather Bill is going to tell this guy the way it is.
Any wonder why this candidate/ratepayer wasted no time in declining help from Bill????
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I know from the conversations around town that people want to do that. I mean we have known each other for years having been neighbours, friends, relatives and involved in business together.
Here is yet another example, however, of why it is very difficult.
Highlands (who are no friends) has taken out 21 burn permits for structures in Melancthon and have demolished 16. They state these homes were in "poor condition".
Their spokesperson stated at a June 2009 meeting that in fact these structures were condemned.
Their spokesperson stated at the same meeting that people were fearmongering and Highlands had plans to "only" demolish less than double digits.
In response to the loss of cultural heritage and tax base, ratepayer after ratepayer after ratepayer wrote and attended Council to implore/beg/plead/demand they pass a demolition control bylaw.
In December 2009 a demolition control bylaw appeared on Melancthon's agenda.
After that, 18 letters of support for passing the bylaw were submitted to Melancthon Council.
One letter in opposition was received from guess who? Highland Corporations.
Who did Melancthon choose to meet with in a private meeting?
Not one of the 18 individuals who wrote in to support the passing of the bylaw.
They met privately with John Lowndes of Highlands and his solicitor. The ONE objector.
Funny that Johnny had time to attend that meeting, because he hasn't been able to find the time to attend a meeting on the invitation of Council to defend the jobs that were projected in their very widely distributed DVD as a result of their proposed 2,400 acre 200 foot open pit mine.
Did the bylaw get passed?
Gee, wonder what happened at the private meeting?
Gee, wonder why people find it so hard to support Council?
Monday, April 19, 2010
Provincial Order Freezes Zoning ToStop-The-Quarry, April 2010
Puslinch Residents Stop Quarry, January 21, 2010
Environment Wins over Gravel
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Chuck and Phil show their office address as 95 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto. Why is that familiar? Well that is because Daniher's office address for his business Special Situations is ALSO at 95 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto. (google it) You know Daniher, Michael Daniher, mouthpiece/spokesperson for everything Highlands???
But THE most interesting observation?
Google map street view shows that 1063 King Street West is a UPS Store and UPS confirms that suite 234 is a letter box. (google it).
I would imagine it is very difficult to have corporate meetings around a board table in a mailing box in a UPS store.
On the other hand, if anyone gets fired it won't take long to clean out their desk.
You can't believe everything you find on the internet, so if anyone can prove this information is not correct, please, please I will post a retraction.
Daniher? Lowndes....r u still out there?
Friday, April 16, 2010
Orica's own website states: "Orica Mining Services offers commercial explosives, initiating systems and Blast-Based Services to the mining, quarrying and construction industries".
When the residents were objecting to Orica's expansion proposal, they were told they were fear mongering, NIMBY, etc. etc.
Orica's website states: "Orica's bulk delivery systems are efficient, effective and, above all, safe."
Imagine our surprise then when the local paper reported this week that this world class company had a driver who ran a stop sign with a truck loaded with dynamite!! (see link for article: http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2010-04-15/Front_Page/Orica_driver_charged_in_collision.html )
Amazingly here is a letter to the editor almost one year prior to the accident stating: "Nitrate trucking an accident waiting to happen".
A bit of research shows that if you pay enough, you can seemingly do whatever you want: "Orica pays $10,000 for half load repreive (click to link: http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2010-03-25/Local_News/Orica_pays_10000_for_halfload_reprieve.html )
In addition, there is speculation among the residents that Orica would sue the township for upwards of $2 million if it were to refuse permanent rezoning, as it had allowed the company to build on the strength of the temporary zoning."
Does this sound familiar to anyone in Melancthon? You know, trust the Council and Highlands to get the best deal for the municipality (even if that means a 2,400 acre 200 foot open pit mine) and to NOT to take anything to the OMB.
According to the Hamilton Spectator (link attached: http://www.thespec.com/article/753053)
Wow, that is pocket change for Highland Companies. The cost of purchasing the rail line from Orangeville alone is $5 million, PLUS the $2 million signing bonus for a portion of the County owned railline.
Add that to the cost of the YMCA they want to build for us and wow, there is $20 million right there.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
What does this mean for Melancthon ratepayers who are fighting a 2,400 acre 200 foot open pit limestone mine on prime agricultural land?
Well, it must be remembered that Flamborough ratepayers had a municipal champion from the very first tree that the corporation started felling. Her name is Councillor Margaret McCarthy. She did what politicians are elected to do, work in the best interests of ratepayers.
The anti-quarry Friends of Rural Communities for the Environment, (FORCE) wasn't alone. The quarry was strongly opposed by Hamilton, Halton, Burlington and Milton councils, medical officers of health, conservation authorities, school boards, farm groups and the Ontario Environment Ministry, as well as hundreds of people in Hamilton, Halton and the Greater Toronto Area.
Councillor McCarthy actually went to Queen's Park, several times to raise the profile of the issue with McGuinty and she courted the media. Hamilton even paid for many of the studies and expenses related to fighting this, thanks to her diligence and perserverance.
Here is her website: http://www.margaretmccarthy.ca/html/issues_-_quarry.html
Now what are Melancthon and County politicians doing to help their ratepayers who have begged, pleaded and argued for assistance in this issue for the past year.
Nothing, no municipal tree cutting bylaw, no enforcement of the County tree cutting bylaw for the past year until two weeks ago when legal action was threatened if they didn't start, no demolition control bylaw, no studies, no money, no trips to Queen's Park, NO PUBLIC SUPPORT for anyone, except well Highland Companies.
What is our Mayoralty candidate, the current Deputy Mayor busy doing? Taking pen to paper to PUBLICALLY ARGUE with a ratepayer who, with all due respect, dared to criticize Melancthon Council.
Here is a link to the original ratepayers letter:
Here is Mayoralty candidate, the current Deputy Mayor's reply:
So we know he knows how to write, but why in the hell isn't he fighting TOGETHER WITH his ratepayers instead of AGAINST them in the quarry battle?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
"Province Listens, Stops Proposed Quarry in Hamilton"
link to entire article:
(Just to recap, this is the Flamborough quarry that brother David Lowndes was involved in, sort of the way "our" John Lowndes is involved in the proposed quarry in Melancthon. You know, buy the land, find the investors, tell them it will be a cakewalk, grab the money and ...)
Since I couldn't be there in St. Mary's big expensive boardroom when the news came through, I let my imagination picture some various scenarious:
OMG-this cost us how much???
Let me get my hands on him, where is he???
Gee, I hope the Baupost Group doesn't find out about this....
Photo: Michael Daniher, Highlands "spokesperson"
Saturday, April 10, 2010
There wasn't even anything like oh say, MAPS, for people to review to keep them awake. I mean seriously anyone who had printed off the draft and read it themselves could have made the same presentation.
And the most common statement by the planner when questioned on anything..."I think" or "I am not sure, I will have to look into that". Seriously, he has been working on this for FIVE years and in the Mayor's own words has been paid at least $100,000.00 for his work on the draft OP alone and he doesn't know and still have to look into stuff. Not very encouraging for sure.
Anyhew things livened up a bit during question period.
Jorden stated that the bottom line was there would be no impact on water for any approved aggregate operation -not quality or quantity.
A ratepayer asked what would happen if Highlands application got approved and there WAS impact on the quality or quantity of someone's water who had never had a problem before a 2,400 acre 200 foot mine was dug.
He replied that it would not be an issue with the municipality, but the property owner experiencing the issues would have go through the courts and PROVE that their problems with water were caused by the 2,400 acre 200 foot mine operating.
Now I am paraphrasing here, but that means if you have a problem, you take your own limited resources, hire a lawyer and try to win a court case against a company with more money than God.
This ratepayer suggested that because of the size of this proposed application, as stated by the company themselves, was beyond any other standard ever seen in Ontario, perhaps Melancthon through site plans and bylaws should set the standard higher and perhaps request money on deposit from this company to assist individuals in their lawsuits. (If people remember, this was suggested in the summer of 2009 by a ratepayer who made an impassioned plea to Council.)
The planner, in his infinate wisdom, however didn't feel that was necessary, citing past precedent that people had to prove their cases in court at THEIR expense.
God help us all.....because Council doesn't seem to be in a position to impose anything beyond the bare minimum because of course it is the province's fault.
And my own opinion, the planner for Melancthon is out of his element and a dinosour in the planning world. Just saying....
Friday, April 9, 2010
In summary it is a letter to Melancthon Council saying, we warned you, but you didn't listen. The final sentence says it all:
"These same council members will soon be faced with a Quarry application. "
Here is the link to the entire letter:
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Watch NDACT's website for updates.