Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hastings Drive Down Zone Meeting Highlights

In case you missed the Hastings Drive Downzone Meeting on April 15th, 2014 at Norfolk County Council and don't want to spend the $22.50 for the DVD we've taken a few highlights on the discussion and posted them on www.youtube.com for you.

For those of you coming into the game late there's a pretty serious battle going on over property uses on a small piece of beach properties in Norfolk County.  In the mid 1980's a storm hit Long Point and caused serious destruction.  According to Long Point Biosphere there were 40 cottages destroyed on Long Point and another 15 on Hastings Drive.  The owners of the destroyed cottages on Hastings Drive were not allowed to rebuild after that and a temporary road was put in to allow the remaining cottage owners access.




As time passed some of these 'lots' have changed hands and have been used by owners for various recreational activities such as beach outings and fishing.  Many visitors frequent the area as well looking for privacy away from the busy public beach area and to avoid the high price of parking at the Provincial Parks.

Now before Council is a group of lot owners who would like to extend their enjoyment of their properties by being able to place a trailer trailer or rv on their lots.  It's been threatened that you can't even put a tent on those lots overnight but we've been unable to uncover such a document.  We have reason to believe that no such document exists but if you do find such a treasure feel free to send it our way.  This could be the only possible document that prohibits pitching a tent in all of Canada and we'd be very interested in this precious find.

There's two sides to every story and this is no exception.  The remaining cottage owners are against said proposal as they have enjoyed the use of these lots and the privacy that having no neighbours affords.  They feel that since they pay more taxes on their cottages they should have a louder say in the matter.  

With the timing of the new bylaw consolidation county planners have seized to moment to remove the rights of these lot owners.  To quell the dastardly deem of wanting to use their lands, Norfolk County Senior Planner, Mary Elder put forth to council a proposed plan to restrict any activity by down zoning the selected lots as park land.

Her proposal to council can be viewed here :


We are not surprised that this is another conflict of interest which seems to be happening very frequently in Norfolk County.

Mary Elder is also a Director of the Board on Carolinian Canada.

Mary Elder is a Registered Professional Planner and works as a Senior Planner for Norfolk County. Previously she was a Policy Planner with the Region of Haldimand-Norfolk and a member of Carolinian Canada. In addition to group facilitation and policy development, sustainable rural development and environmental planning are her main planning interests. She is the staff liaison for the Norfolk Environmental Advisory Committee. Mary has lived in Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Huron and Norfolk Counties, all municipalities that are part of Carolinian Canada. Mary has a B.E.S. in Geography from the University of Waterloo.

Having residents wanting to use their property is contrary to the Big Picture 

A range of conservation policy tools are also needed including improved land use planning, private land stewardship, incentives, wildlife protection and securing of key habitats through acquisition.

Of special note you will notice that Ms. Elder is recommending to down zone these lots to a park.

""PARK" shall mean an area of land owned and operated by a government agency, a
community service club or charitable organization and used for open space, horticulture, outdoor recreation, or maintenance of a natural area but excludes a tent and trailer park."


Reduce property owners rights / down zone to reduce value / swoop in to buy said properties at the reduced rate.  Great plan.  Will Ms. Elder also recommend which charitable organization should purchase these properties at a fraction of their actual costs?  We doubt asking her would be of much assistance in obtaining the truth and we'd recommend speaking with Councilor Jim Oliver.  He's also associated with Carolinian Canada.

Having such a Planner on Staff should send bells ringing across the 'Open For Business' platform of the current administration.  With Norfolk County's bloated planning department unable to keep up to the work asked of them we can just imagine how their full time job is effecting all of their side projects.

When the Nature Conservancy of Canada asked to have their Norfolk Office rezoned from hazard to commercial it was done with a simple stoke of the pen.  Any guess who was pushing the pen?  NCC doesn't even need permits for any of their work!

Thanks to Mayor Travale and Councilor Geysens for seeing thru this back door attempt. They are asking for a postponement on a decision and to have a public meeting again on the issue.

For those of you Citizen's that have a hard time understanding what the definition of 'public meeting' is, Councilor Betty Chanyi asked for verification so that no uncertainty exists.


Councilor Roger Geysens thoughts on the subject :


Mayor Dennis Travales response on the proposal :


Hastings Drive is in Ward 1.  Councilor Betty Chanyi is the elected representative in that ward.  Here are her thoughts.


Councilor Jim Oliver couldn't quite find his thoughts when asked but now that we've produced the connection you should have a clear enough picture what side of the marsh he sits on.

While we're on the subject of dysfunction in Ward 1, we thought we'd share this video of another conversation that took place that evening during a discussion on line painting for roads in the County.


Remember that post we wrote about voter apathy and people not showing up to cast their ballots

How's that working out for you?  #ilovenorfolk  #weneedtochange

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