To The Editor
Nov. 21, 2022
is absolutely critical to healthy democracy. People have a right to know the kinds of decisions and actions that are taken – and understand how it impacts them, their communities, and the general public,” Patricia Kosseim, Ontario’s Information
and Privacy Commissioner.
The recently elected Lantzville Council running on an anti development and against a higher density housing agenda, as well as unbroken
social media accusations of lack of transparency by the previous council, seems to have missed that point.
On Nov 3 2022, their first business meeting “in camara”,
and bypassing all normal legislated procedures ; “that all bylaws must be read and adopted in a meeting that is open to the public” they unanimously decided their first bylaw attempt should be developed behind a curtain.
Under the umbrella of a seldom used legal clause , that a “ Notice of a special council meeting may be waived by unanimous vote of all council members” the new council effectively bypassed the
democratic process and had a private one evening hush-hush rendezvous to lay the groundwork for a new tree bylaw. The same evening, council proceeded , to 1st, 2nd and 3rd “public” reading, conveniently without any audience or serious community
and stake holder input. Few Lantzville property owner were aware of what was happening. The new tree protection bylaw was adopted Nov 5.
Possibly recognizing their
election promised transparency objective was seriously compromised, in another unusual move[JdJ1] with a Machiavellian touch, council decided to ask for community input
after the fact. The district’s web site phrasing is revealing; “ are there any complaints regarding the new tree bylaw”. I don’t believe there is much sincerity in that request as any changes to the bylaw would likely mean the original
bylaw would needs to be rescinded.
Not many Lantzville residents would be opposed to a practical tree bylaw but pragmatism, fairness and tree protection appears
not to have been a serious deciding factor. The few treed properties in focus were for the most part non contiguous small acreages zoned and taxes residential, inter dispersed with existing housing and scheduled for housing and development in the official
It is always difficult to read a new council’s mindset, more so when the discussions are “in camera” At first blush this bylaw
is not so much about the environment and trees, but more as a disincentive for needed housing using a tree bylaw. This analysis would be consistent with the Lantzville Community Association (LCA) and council members previously associated with the organization
objectives to limit density and housing diversity. The fact that the new bylaw does not apply to properties less than one acre, which includes most of Lantzville housing and urban trees, is perhaps most revealing, but without any public discussion and stakeholder
input who really know ?
J.A. de Jong
Lantzville Nov 2022