Ya just can’t please all the people all the time
It’s fair to say that most of the people who attended Monday night’s special council meeting on the Grainboys zoning bylaw amendment application left the meeting feeling disgruntled, discouraged, angry and/or frustrated.
That is understandable. No one likes to see major changes to their neighbourhood. We all want our little corner of the world to remain as it is, because we’ve become comfortable with the way it looks and feels. And the construction of a large grain processing plant, complete with a number of tall silos, will change the look and feel of Goodwood to some extent.
That said, however, after months and months of working on this particular file, council could not find any reasonable excuse for denying the application. The Cosmos has a history of taking council to task for making what we think are bad decisions, for supporting badly thought-out bylaws or for approving what we believe to be unnecessary expenditures; in this case we can’t find any concrete reason to criticize council. Every piece of correspondence has been read, all the concerns raised by residents have been addressed extensively and measures have been or will be put in place to make sure the Grainboys operation does not negatively affect its neighbours. Indeed, planning committee chair Regional Councillor Gord Highet introduced three amendments to the planning consultant’s recommendations that will further protect Goodwood residents from unwanted consequences. Both council and the planning consultant wrestled long and hard with questions about noise, dust, weeds, rodents, truck traffic, fire and such and decided they can be handled effectively. It’s what council was elected to do: make hard and sometimes unpopular decisions. By taking a recorded vote, the councillors showed they were not afraid to make a difficult and unpopular decision.
As for those who complained council didn’t listen to them, what they really meant was council didn’t give them what they wanted.
Unfortunately, the result of Monday’s council meeting was not good enough for those who left feeling disgruntled, discouraged, angry and/or frustrated. Nothing short of complete rejection of the application would have appeased them. But council cannot ignore the provincial laws that govern how such applications are handled. To do so would be breaking the law and would quickly lead to an appeal by the applicant to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). Such an appeal would cost the township hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The same will hold true if the residents of Goodwood decide to appeal council’s decision to LPAT.
It is also unfortunate that some of those in attendance conducted themselves as they did. No matter how strongly they felt about the subject, there was no call for some them to threaten, menace and berate councillors. We applaud Mayor Dave Barton for maintaining his cool and attempting to calm people down.
They also interrupted the planning consultant and the fire chief, who were merely doing their jobs. They questioned the motives of three farmers who spoke in favour of the mill operation. They would accept no comments or statements that went counter to what they wanted.
Council was bound by municipal and provincial law when addressing this re-zoning application, and it appears that all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed. It’s now apparent that an entire community of I’s are more than a little cross. Grainboys won’t end here, that’s for certain.