Our appeal is set for October 31. We have an excellent case, and we are hoping to hire the best possible professionals to represent us.
If SOS Stratford fails in at the Ontario Land Tribunal appeal in October, there will be consequences for the City of Stratford. Councillor Clifford lays this out for us very clearly:
“We are talking about a heritage corridor here, and I think it should be protected. … I don’t think that stacked townhouses are what we want in a heritage area….I really believe that to make an amendment to an official plan, I believe it is precedent setting, I believe we will hear a lot more applications, so I oppose the motion on the floor.”
Councillor Clifford argued for City-directed mediation, which would have been much less expensive to everyone, including the City.
Like Councillor Clifford, Nancy Smith, the lawyer representing SOS Stratford, believes that Council should have taken the issue into mediation: “Next summer, in the fall, you will be in a public forum trying to seek reelection … against your community. That’s a given. The only answer here, respectfully, is to deny the application and go to direct mediation. It’s a win-win. You won’t lose in mediation. The developer won’t lose in mediation. He doesn’t want to try this case next summer. He knows how this community has empowered themselves. He knows how they will fight. He will engage, and you and the developer can come up with a solution.
The best solution is a mediated session. There’s a whole process, the tribunal has mediators they will give you for free.”
If Council had followed her advice, they would not be paying out tax dollars for a lawyer to represent them at the Ontario Land Tribunal in October. If Council had recommended mediation, the result would probably been as Councillor Clifford said — not everyone would be completely happy, but a compromise would have been found.
Are you happy with the way your tax dollars are being spent?
Although she voted for the project, Councillor Henderson had serious concerns about the accessibility and environmental aspects of the plan. In discussing these problems, she revealed that Council had only seen a drawing of the front of the proposed building, which is why she couldn’t tell whether there were stairs at the back of the building.
Councillor Henderson’s remarks underscore the lack of research that has been carried out on this project. Another example is the astounding lack of a traffic study, particularly for the Queen/Ontario area, which is the entrance to the Festival Theatre, and an extremely busy corner in the summer.
We will need funding to pay for professional assistance at the OLT Tribunal in October. A donation, however small, will help us succeed.