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Letter to the Editor

Local NewsLetter to the Editor

Before the SC Johnson case was settled, I wrote that the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the new rules under Bill 23 were restrictive and dangerous for hearing community voices. The recent settlement between the two parties in the SC Johnson case proves my point.

Rather than leave the decision to the OLT, which decides 97% of the time in favour of the appellant (usually a developer), the City of Brantford went to our Provincial Member of Parliament, Will Bouma, and asked for a facilitator. The situation was far too important to trust to a process that weighs heavily in favour of the opposite outcome from what was good for the Brantford community.  

In West Brant, the construction of another building on the same crowded site, ignoring the watershed problems and the travesty of a huge loss of privacy, will not have the luxury of a mediator. Perhaps not as important as SC Johnson, the issue will be decided by a group that has no idea what the neighbourhood is like nor lived with the traffic problems nor has to see people living in the shadow of a building in their backyard (space that will have been shortened by variance relief from the by-laws Brantford put in place to prevent such a situation).

Meanwhile, the City’s Committee of Adjustment agreed with us that the variance relief should not be granted. The Mayor does not intend to step in or even send representation regarding our “small” case.

Under Bill 23, the OLT can simply overturn the decision. Reporter Fatima Syed points out that new legislation coming on April Fool’s Day will weaken conservation rules such as the distance of construction from wetlands.

Now, I am not only worried for our neighborhood but for our D’Aubigny Wetlands too. Keep writing to Will Bouma expressing our opposition to this new legislation and Bill 23.

Catherine Astolfo

Brantford, Ontario

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