Tonight Bob Jonkman will be making a second Delegation to Woolwich Township about Bill 66. His presentation last week at the Committee of the Whole seemed well received, and Township Staff has prepared a report, and the following Council Resolution will be proposing and passing the resolution that follows.
Whereas a Bill 66 planning by-law proposes to encourage economic development by streamlining the approval process for a major employment use,
And whereas Bill 66 proposes to give an area municipality the ability to decide under what circumstances they wish to pass a Bill 66 By-law and impose any requirement that is reasonable for and related to the appropriate use of land and that the municipality considers necessary for the protection of public health and safety,
And whereas a Bill 66 By-law cannot be appealed,
Now therefore be it resolved that the Council of the Township of Woolwich indicate its concerns with Bill 66 and indicate that the Township would only consider passing a Bill 66 By-law if it provided for the following:
- protection of drinking water quality and quantity and other water resources;
- protection of agricultural resources;
- protection of natural heritage features and hazard lands;
- conservation of cultural heritage resources;
- orderly development of safe and healthy communities;
- provision of land use compatibility;
- provision of appropriate water and wastewater servicing;
- adequate provision of employment opportunities;
- adequate provision of housing, including affordable housing;
- appropriate location of growth and development;
- promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, that supports public transit and that supports active transportation; and
- provision of adequate public and agency consultation;
And that Bill 66 needs to be revised to provide
- Clarification, acceptable to the Township of Woolwich, around the issues of how the number of employees would be ensured over time, whether there would be a distinction between full and part time employees, what mechanisms would be in place to ensure jobs continue to meet thresholds over time and what would happen if an employer is bought out, forced to lay off employees or goes bankrupt; and
- That a major employment use would not be defined as including any residential or commercial (including retail use);
And that this resolution be forwarded to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as the Township of Woolwich’s comments with regards to Bill 66 and that this resolution also be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Premier, and the Waterloo Region Members of Provincial Parliament.Wo
On the face of it, it sounds reasonable, but is it?
None of the provisions Woolwich indicates would need to be in effect before the Township would only consider passing a Bill 66 By-law are part of Bill 66. The absence of these public protections is why Bill 66 exists. Even in the unlikely event the Province of Ontario were to adopt some of these provisions, we will still be stripped of at least some public protections.
Those of us who saw what happened in Walkerton, especially those with family and friends there, understand why legal protection of public health and safety must be enshrined in law. Is it acceptable to place considerations of health and safety negotiable on a project by project basis?
Those of us who saw what severely limited public consultation imposed by the Province looked like when the Bio-En Biogas plant was imposed on our community over strenuous public objection, when the economic interests of a single business owner were allowed to override citizen concerns. In that case the anti-democratic nature of the “Green Energy Act” eliminated any possible means for the community to stop it. Today the citizens of Woolwich bear the cost of a dramatic increase of heavy truck traffic through downtown Elmira along with significant road repairs due to wear and tear on our roadways, and although talked about, the cost of an Elmira truck bypass is too great for the Township coffers to bear.
Those of us who live or work in Elmira are living with the effects of a toxic water supply destroyed by the local Chemical companies before adequate provincial water protection laws were in place. Decades later we still depend on water piped in from Waterloo.
Much of Ontario– including Waterloo Region– relies on the drinking water drawn from the aquifers underground. What happens when Bill 66 exemptions result in damage to the water supply? If Waterloo’s water safety is threatened, Elmira could lose our drinking water in the blink of an eye.
I know this is terribly late notice, but if you can come out to tonight’s Woolwich Council Meeting please do.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Public Meeting re: Cannabis
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Woolwich Council Meeting
Location: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor 24 Church Street West, Elmira