Another Council Facepalm Moment

Double facepalm
In a story on CollingwoodToday, this week council again discussed their job-growth-and revenue-killing interim control bylaw (ICBL) that has stopped the town from issuing new home building permits for the next four or more years, until a new water treatment plant is built.

Of course, none of the developers or the construction industry, or anyone in the water treatment plant business, were consulted about the ICBL before it was passed. Why would council want to set a precedent and actually engage anyone that their dictates affected?

According to town staff, even after being forced to beg for exemptions from the ICBL, “about 60 per cent” of developers who received an exemption “still haven’t applied for their permits.” Councillor McLeod snarkily commented,

“It seems as though there were so many people who were so upset about the interim control bylaw, I thought they would be pulling permits the minute they got their exemptions.”

Facepalm right there. Even after all this time on council, she still doesn’t have a clue how the construction and development cycle works, let alone how the ICBL affected it. But never let an opportunity to sound condescending pass you by.

She’s not alone in her ignorance. Councillor Doherty asked, “whether control bylaw-exempt projects would be given a deadline to make an application for their building permits.” She added:

“If they are not intending to proceed in the short-term, we could at least make way for others.”

Double facepalm. Nothing like threatening developers who are already angry at the town for the arbitrary ICBL and the alleged water “crisis” council itself created by ignoring then mishandling the water contract with New Tecumseth. And they must be really happy with council for having to humiliate themselves by begging in public for exemptions for permits they had already been promised. I’m sure that this comment will endear council to them even more.

Really, councillors? You don’t know that you can’t just grab a permit then rush off the build a house the next day? That you need servicing, locates, work crews, deliveries, materials, leased equipment, job schedules, skilled trades booked, concrete ordered, trucks leased… all the criteria that have to be fulfilled BEFORE you start to build? And it takes even longer and more effort when you’re doing a subdivision? And that at least some of the previous planning was cancelled when you suddenly announced the ICBL to kill it all?

Didn’t you even once consider that developers would have to reschedule and reorder everything in order to start building and that takes time? Or that supplies and workers might not be available right away? Or that YOU caused the delays in their work?

Picking up the permits is just one of the last steps to take.

Really, councillors? You have no idea what’s in the province’s Planning Act (you can read the entire Act here and the Building Code Act is here) that controls what you can and can’t do with permits and permissions once you’ve given them? You really want to piss off the development community even more by taking back the permits that a few were grudgingly granted?

I realize that none of our council was elected for their brains and that reading something as complex as the Planning Act or Building Code is a serious challenge to people who don’t even read their agendas. But you couldn’t think to ask someone in the planning department to explain the rules to you privately before you publicly suggested more arbitrary controls and restrictions?

Ron Glenn, interim director of planning for the town must have sighed in exasperation as he explained to our hard-of-thinking council:

“The question around sunsetting is something we can’t really do. It’s really up to them to come pull a permit. We don’t have the ability under the Planning Act or the Municipal Act to establish a sunset provision for the exemption bylaw.”

What a clusterfuck.

Collingwood deserves better.

~~~~~

PS. As I’ve noted before, discussing real estate or anything that affects real estate values represents a serious conflict of interest for our mayor and deputy mayor, both of whom are in the real estate business, and whose coworkers and friends are also in that business. And this is EXACTLY the sort of conflict the report from the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry warned about. Yet, once again neither Saunderson nor Hull declared a conflict and stepped away from the table. That spells corruption to me. Laws, I suppose, are made for others to follow, not our council. Saunderson expects to be our next MPP but this is how he respects the law.

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