SOS Stratford



Instead of working towards a mediated solution that would have prevented our neighbourhood from becoming a mini-Mississauga, Councillors Vassilakos, Ingram, Burbach, Henderson, Beatty, Bunting, and mayor Mathieson voted to approve this project.

Robert Roth

Thanks again for keeping on top of things — namely the apparent, imminent attempt by our current crop of councillors to approve an unsuitable high-density development proposal for Ontario Street. It is important for all to realize that they should put in formal objections if council does vote to approve this development plan via an Official Plan amendment. If council proceeds with the amendment, it must hold a public meeting. Those attending the meeting or, alternatively, those who submit opposition to the amendment in writing, will have the right to force an appeal before the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board) and can speak at said hearing. Any number of people can, thusly, oppose the amendment and speak at the appeal hearing.

What is particularly disturbing about the most recent actions of the majority of council is that they have clearly shown that the lessons of the glass factory fiasco have not been learned. Not since R. Thomas Orr had to rally public opinion back in 1905 against council’s plans to put a CPR rail line along the north bank of the Avon River have we seen such devastating short-sightedness in appreciating, and protecting, the aesthetic features of this community.  

Too many of our councillors are clearly oblivious to the fact that this community thrives — while other small Ontario communities languish — largely because of the aesthetic and cultural uniqueness Stratford has carved out for itself. When our councillors are not trying to turn the city into a replica of 19th Century Liverpool with looming, omnipresent industrial smokestacks, they are trying to turn us into Mississauga West with unwelcoming, out-of-character, high-density development on the main tourist thoroughfare through town. In short, for the second time in less than a year, our councillors have proven that they just don’t get it. Public accountability has been abandoned in favour of an ever-spinning, revolving door for developers. We have been re-electing too many of the same local politicians for too long. They have become arrogant, insensitive and unrepentant. The future of this city depends on their removal in the next municipal election.

Robert Roth
Stratford native and retired newspaper editor