Ron Bolin: September 16, 2011
In a 6-3 vote on third reading at Monday’s (Sept. 12) meeting, Council overturned their unanimously passed first and second readings of an amendment to zoning bylaw 4500 which would have seen the maximum height of residential housing revert to the previous limit of 8.25 metres. This amendment had been put forward just 5 weeks previously and received unanimous approval for first and second readings on the grounds of fairness to those who have purchased their homes under those rules and now face the possibility of lost value due to the loss of part of the view which came with their home. It was not a loss of view which was paramount in the discussion of fairness which led to the unanimous first and second readings of the amendment; it was the loss of the value that goes with that view which Council originally and unanimously sought to protect for homeowners. And what general public purpose is served by taking value from homeowner A and giving it to B? In the end only Councillors Holdom, Pattje and Sherry voted to maintain that fairness and the integrity of their votes on the previous two readings. The rest voted to overturn their previous votes.
At a Public Hearing on Sept. 8, just days before the Council Meeting, the public presented their views on the amendment to Council. They spoke a reported 64 to 14, i.e. nearly 5 to 1, in favour of the amendment. What happened to Councillors Bestwick, Johnston, Unger, Kipp, Greves and Mayor Ruttan between the time of their unanimous votes in favour of the amendment, the supportive message given them by citizens at the Public Hearing, and their vote to defeat the amendment which they had previously supported? Who made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Whose interests are being served? And How? And Why? Talk about your flipping and your flopping…
NCH seeks your views on Council and its record.