I was in attendance at the public meeting May 16, and I think your assessment of the Trowbridge/Bayfield development proposal is on the mark. However, I disagree with the notion that we cannot reject development proposals as they come in the door.
By allowing this particular overreaching proposal to enter the process, we not only wasted staff and council time (taxpayer dollars), and sowed fear in the community, but we also gave the developer a toehold. Now expect Avrance, just like SkyDev, to scale back their proposal incrementally in stages, hoping to create enough division in the community and on council to get mostly their own way.
Why should developers have any right for their proposals to enter the process? They should only have the right to a level playing field, and this is where we can use the Official Plan. In other words, Meaford should make it clear to all developers: we will only consider development proposals that conform to the Official Plan and we do not allow site-specific amendments. Non-conforming proposals are rejected immediately, and conforming proposals can enter the process. That policy would be consistent and objective. By doing that, Meaford would keep overreaching proposals out of the process, and encourage smaller-scale projects from developers that are content to work within the Official Plan.
If we maintain our traditional development proposal process, we will give big developers the advantage through the next decade of high pressure for growth. Meaford will gradually lose control over its own destiny. Our Official Plan is a carefully considered and widely accepted guide for the way we want Meaford to grow. Let’s use it for all it’s worth.
Charles Killin, Meaford