With the public hearing for the Hay Rd. development coming up on Thursday, Sept. 17, Mayor Gary Sulz addressed misinformation being circulated in a call to action flyer.
“Our town continues to suffer from an outdated Official Community Plan (OCP) despite repeated statements by our city council about how important it is to get this fully updated and despite repeated promises by our elected officials to make it a priority,” reads the flyer.
It outlines concerns that the coalition has about the Development Cost Services Bylaw, last reviewed in 2008, as well as the Official Community Plan, which was adopted in 2009, and calls on citizens to say no to big changes until there is a fully developed plan for the city and all of its unique neighbourhoods.
The first step, according to the flyer, is to submit letters or apply to speak at the upcoming public hearing.
However, several statements in the flyer required clarification by the city, Sulz said in a news release.
“I appreciate that the public will have opinions on development applications. It is my duty as Mayor to make sure that the information distributed to the public is balanced and accurate.”
The update of the official community plan is underway with several public engagement sessions complete.
“Council considered and approved the updated OCP Vision and community priorities in accordance with public recommendations and a focus group for the Official Community Plan updates was created,” said a news release from the city. “This focus group has now initiated the next Phase in the OCP update which will help inform public consultation and further Council recommendations.”
The flyer states that the city did not insist on the full five per cent parkland portion from the developer.
However, at the Aug. 11 council meeting, council recommended that the parkland be obtained rather than cash-in-lieu and asked staff to work with the applicant to reach that five per cent. This will be a part of the public hearing package.
The flyer suggests that the solution is for council to pass a moratorium on comprehensive development until the plan and the charges are fully updated.
“Council is not authorized to pass a moratorium on development applications,” said the mayor. “Council and staff must follow provincial legislation which states the council must consider all development applications.” (Part 14, 460 of the Local Government Act.)
The mayor also took issue with the flyers statement that “telling council to reject comprehensive development and zoning changes until the overall planning house is in order will not stifle regular scale building development at all.”
Repeating that council and staff are obligated under the Local Government Act to process development applications under the current Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw.