On behalf of Imagine Meaford, I would like to express our collective dismay with the decision by SkyDev to appeal to the Land Appeal Tribunal (LAT) prior to an important special Council meeting on July 18.
Council was to consider an amendment to a bylaw that would allow SkyDev to proceed along the approvals path for its development. By appealing to the Tribunal BEFORE this special Council meeting, SkyDev has effectively prevented Meaford Council – made up of officials elected by Meaford residents – from making a decision on a development that would forever change Meaford’s waterfront.
In short, Meaford’s Council and residents have been told they have no say in this development. Instead, a decision on what’s best for Meaford’s waterfront will be left to a provincial decision-making body that is development-friendly, to say the least. This is completely unacceptable – and a very calculated ploy on the part of SkyDev. The developer is arguing that Meaford Council took too long to make a decision. Yet, a meeting was scheduled for July 18 that would have considered the bylaw amendment. What’s more, a staff report actually recommended that the bylaw amendment be passed.
It is especially disappointing that SkyDev appealed to the Tribunal without a word to anyone at Imagine Meaford – after 18 months of Imagine Meaford working with SkyDev to achieve progressive changes to the plan.
There should be no doubt left about SkyDev’s integrity. This large developer intends to bully Meaford into submission to get its development built, regardless of whether it respects our Official Plan or is compatible with the neighbourhood. We understand that it did the same to get a development pushed through approvals in Guelph.
Imagine Meaford believes the decision on this development should rest with Meaford residents and elected officials who can best determine whether it is in the best interests of our municipality. SkyDev’s decision to appeal at this point of the approval process is cynical and disrespectful, and we can only envision what’s to come if and when the Tribunal rules in their favour.”
Laurie Stephens on behalf of Imagine Meaford