Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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The zoning from HELL!
There is a lot that will be said about this in the coming weeks, when I get around to it but right now here are the most striking details.
One of the letters sent out regarding this re-Zoning. Mar. 24, 2004
URGENT! - in regards to the Cawthra Bush Rezoning Application - OZ 00/024 W1.
The Mississauga City Council - Mar. 31-04 - Meeting
I addressed this Council meeting as the City wished to approve zoning for the Cawthra Bush that was very wrong indeed. It included;
* Allowing for
a commercial school or academy for the performing arts, within
200 feet of
* Not providing
all the documents to the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), involved in
* Not involving
the Ministry of Natural Resources MNR, as there was a threatened
* That as the
MNR was planning a study looking at the Jefferson Salamander and
* The City was
not doing the monitoring it promised in its forest management plan for
* The City has
not recognized the fact the Cawthra
Bush is an Old-Growth forest in an
* That as the
City had no environmental committee (which no self respecting City the
* Stating the City's
intends to fill-in the wells in the Cawthra Bush that have been used to
* The City Planner
(Catherine Ferguson), refuses to provide the documents regarding this
This is just a few of the things wrong with this zoning process and what I when through before the meeting while talking to the Region of Peel, CVC and the MNR, to name a few is another story best called playing the public for fools. We hear from those in government & nature conservation, the talk about how the public should get involved to save the environment we all so need for our health and well-being but when the times comes for them to stand beside those who would do so, don't bet on it. Stabbed in the back I was, not once but twice and all I wanted was for them to tell the truth and do the right thing.
The tone of this Council meeting was set just before I made my deputation. Steven Wahl, has been involved with the Mississauga Garden Council and the City in other ways for the past few years. Mr. Wahl tried to reason with Council or rather the Mayor, Hazel McCallion, regarding the environmental value of moving the planned route of Confederation Pkwy., (just west of City hall), just a little to one side, to save a unique natural feature - an old Hedge Row. This Hedge Row was also sitting on top of a unique geological formation but that did not make it into the City minutes. Hazel got on her high horse and carried on about how it has gone through the official process and approved by the Province so that was that. Forget the fact it was the City that wanted the road to be there and could have moved it. The Mayor acted as if she were afraid to question the actions of the Province and we all know how true that is. In ending his comment Mr. Wahl suggested that Council take advantage of the situation for a photo-op, all the members of City Council stand together with silver axes to begin the cutting down of the trees.
Many of the truly world class cities, like New York, have large central parks for the enjoyment of its taxpayers and as a popular tourist attraction. This action by our City Council and related zoning of the area in question, will mean the lose of the City of Mississauga's last chance to have a central park and be a world class city. What would motivate our Council to make such a urban planning blunder? Does the fact that the name Peter McCallion, (the Mayor's son who is in real-estate), was seen on a for sale sign there, factor in somehow? Personally, the lose of the undeveloped land just west of City hall, is a grand urban planning & environmental error - the likes of which were commonly made in the past, where our Mayors mind is firmly stuck!
Standing at the podium, I expected the same but got far worse. The case was presented with a letter with attachments. I was asking for the matter to be set aside till the CVC could review the matter fully and the MNR could review it as they had not been presented with the issue and asked to yet. I went on to say that the CVC biologist had E-mailed me stating so and the E-mail was enclosed. That the Region of Peel Planner dealing with this had informed me that he "will" send my concerns on to the MNR, so they could be, through proper channels, investigate this issue & the Jefferson Salamander's involvement.
The importance of the NOT zoning for a commercial school or academy for the performing arts, within 200 feet of the only breeding pond for Jefferson Salamanders, a threaten species (for both Ontario and Canada), likely left in Mississauga and maybe the Region of Peel, was the central issue. Then the City planner Catherine Ferguson (who had refuses to provide the documents in the past), address Council and Hazel was beside her self with delight.
"Catherine Ferguson, the Planner, advised that as recently as this morning she had confirmed with the Region of Peel and the Credit Valley Conservation that they have no concerns with respect to the proposed rezoning.", effectively she was saying that I was misleading Council regarding my opening remarks. This appeared to make the Mayor very happy. I noted she had a copy of the E-mail from the CVC to back up what I was saying, the Mayor refused to refer, to it. I asked that she call upon City staff Peter Lyons, a person who has in the past noted that the MNR was planing to do a study at the Cawthra Bush and he was sitting in Council chamber, to again note what he had in the past. The Mayor refused. I asked that she ask the City Planner certain questions to clarify the matter she would not. It was then noted that the Mayor didn't want to know the facts as it would affect the outcome of the decision. Yes, do not discover or care about anything that could cast doubt on the decision you want to make.
Words alone can not express how sad I am that the Region of Peel planner had promised to do what should have been done, then did the opposite. That the CVC could not express any concerns to the City, when in fact they noted to me many reasons of concern. From the City I would expect this kind of betrayal of the public's trust. No doubt, one reason this happened was I faxed to these people, the night before, the letter that was going to be presented to the City noting the Region of Peel and the CVC would appreciate more time to review this matter closer. Michael Hynes, Region of Peel Planner, even E-mailed me a letter at 8:35 am saying Peel will not be forwarding the matter to the MNR for consideration! The meeting starts at 9:00 am, and he sends a letter at 8:35 am, saying he is breaking his promise. A show of professionalism worthy of Hazel's praise. This letter was not discoved till after I got back from the meeting. More on this later.
What was also unexpected was the abusive manner in which Hazel dominant Council. In news articles about how the City of Mississauga politicians make their decisions, it was spelled out that they were back room deals, made in secret and that they only go through a dog and pony show in Council for the public's benefit. That the input of residents is usually meaningless, as the decision has already been made.
The Ward 1
Councillor (where the Cawthra Bush is located), Carmen Corbasson repeatedly
tried to speak to this issue and the Mayor would not allow it. It
got to the point where the Mayor ORDERED the elected official not to comment
on a matter she was elected to deal with. Hazel McCallion in
no uncertain terms, gave Carmen Corbasson a verbal slap up the side of
her head to SHUT
The Mayor told the Ward 1 Councillor to hold her tongue and she meekly obeyed. Maybe it was all the years that Carmen Corbasson worked at City hall as a lowly secretary that, by force of habit she did as she was told by her master's voice. None-the-less, as an elected official in a Democracy, the taxpayers and voters expect more backbone from their elected representatives than a jellyfish would provide! For the record no other Councillor spoke till the Mayor allowed them to.
The Mayor had a new plan for avoiding having public discussions with me as it usually ends up to be very embarrassing for them and unlike the media they can not control what is said about them. This too is supported by news articles. The plan is that only Hazel may address me, then the matter will be discussed later in the meeting when I am no longer at the podium and not able to respond to their statements, no matter how wrong or slanderous they might be. This was done at this meeting and when you read the City's minutes of the Council meeting , below, what jumps out is the LIE of OMISSION. The minutes do not note that discussions took place at two different times, as well as, many of the key points that I made were not included. The City minutes focus mainly on leading a person to think what I was saying was untrue. Can you hear the Mayor rubbing her hands in glee?
It is a common method at the City of Mississauga to control the meeting by controlling the minutes of the meeting. Even adding in events that did not even happen, so the minutes support other City works of fiction, put out for the public to read and have confidence in how, nearly perfectly, they are ruled. Another example of how sickening the City is in the writing of its minutes to fool people, is that they include this title beside my name "President of The Cawthra Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association and Friends of the Cawthra Bush and Greater Mississauga Area". It is all for show. The City will not recognize our ratepayers group and will not deal with our groups, as they do other groups in the City. Supreme hypocrisy but it reads well for those who do not know the facts.
she was allowed to speak, made it clear that making money and not natural
heritage treasures for future generations mattered more to the City and
therefore her. She did not address the issues I raised, not even
the 200 feet issue. Yes, make those Jefferson Salamanders and trees
get jobs and earn their keep on City land!
From the City own minutes;
Mr. Donald Barber, President of The Cawthra Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association and Friends of the Cawthra Bush and Greater Mississauga Area, appeared before Council to request that Council not approve the rezoning application at this time until further issues are investigated. Mr. Barber advised that the Region of Peel and the Credit Valley Conservation are interested in investigating recent concerns raised regarding this rezoning.
Catherine Ferguson, the Planner, advised that as recently as this morning she had confirmed with the Region of Peel and the Credit Valley Conservation that they have no concerns with respect to the proposed rezoning.
Councillor Corbasson advised that she had met with staff subsequent to the Planning and Development Committee meeting on March 22, 2004, to review the concerns raised about the community centre. The Zoning Bylaw Review Committee also took another look to refine the wording of the permitted uses. Most of the uses exist today and have for many years. Additional uses proposed are an art gallery, museum, business professional and administrative uses. The City has invested a considerable amount of money on the Estate and it is important to make it commercially viable.
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