At the November 4 Melancthon Council meeting the $110.00 an hour planning consultant for Melancthon gave a verbal report on why Council should pass Strada's OPA and ZBA.
Strada reps were in the audience. They were NOT on the agenda to make a delegation. The procedure bylaw sets out how you make a delegation request and then you are put on the agenda so everyone has notice about who is making a delegation and about what. The outgoing Chair/Mayor, however let them show charts, and speak in response to the planning consultant's verbal report for at least 15 minutes.
And then during the course of the meeting, when it became clear to Strada that council was not going to rush this through, despite the Mayor's best efforts, (and kudos to the re-elected sitting council for taking a sober second thought and time to pause) Strada made a statement to the effect that if they have to go to the OMB, they won't give Melancthon anything they had previously offered. In fact, they said that Melancthon will get nothing if Strada is forced into an OMB hearing.
Can anyone confirm?
Lets hope the new Council (to be sworn into office in early December) will become more transparent, by following the procedure bylaw AND insisting that all staff/council reports be in WRITING.
How does this make them more transparent?
Firstly, if Council veers from the procedure bylaw and listed items on the agenda, how does anyone have NOTICE about what is to be discussed at meetings (and by the way municipalities are legislatively obligated to provide notice)?
I could probably name at least 10 people who would have moved heaven and earth to be at the 9am Council meeting had they known Strada would be making a delegation. But they didn't know because Strada was not listed on the agenda as being a delegant. weren't supposed to, according to the agenda that is to provide the public NOTICE.
And lack of WRITTEN reports mean the only way you can know what is going on in terms of recommendations/history/issues is to actually attend the meetings. This is not transparent government.
AND it creates an atmosphere of he said/she said. In fact the Mayor couldn't even remember what had been agreed to during a meeting with Highlands in February 2010 regarding MORE houses they had planned to demolish. In fact she kind of revelled in the fact that it was ALL verbal. When it was pointed out to her that the minutes of a subsequent meeting indicated that Highlands was to put something in writing to confirm what was said, she couldn't even remember that. (and by the way, Highlands of course submitted NOTHING in writing, nor did Melancthon follow up on that undertaking)
Staff reports should be prepared for every issue on which Council will be asked to pass a resolution or bylaw and be posted with the agenda. The reports should contain the issue, the background, the analysis, the recommendation, planning implications and how it meets the provincial growth plan and complies with the PPS, the financial implications and how it ties in with the municipality's strategic plan.
Here are some examples from other municipalities.
Melancthon Council elect: you are playing with the big boys now about vital issues that are impacting 1,000,000 Ontarians water, your ability to be financially sustainable, to be a viable community-a community in which people want to live. These mega corporations have found your weaknesses. You need to start dealing with them.