EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: At the February 11th council meeting, Ward 1 Councillor Pamela Beach declared a potential pecuniary (financial) interest in matters relating to Grain Boys Holdings Inc.'s Goodwood land re-zoning application "because there is — have been — continuing emails and theories talking about the conflict and misinformation they're putting out there and, you know, I'm just looking at myself and the corporation, as I stated this morning, that I think [it is] for the betterment of all for me to step away if people, you know, seem to feel that, then they will not have representation in this manner:.. their choice."
Beach's decision to remove herself from any discussions or communication regarding the Grain Boys application came despite a ruling from Township Integrity Commissioner Guy Giorno, who wrote "Assuming you have no business relationship with Grain Boys and no current intention to enter into a business relationship with Grain Boys, I believe you do not have a pecuniary interest... in the application..." She excused herself when correspondence from Uxbridge residents regarding her potential conflict of interest was to be discussed.
Speaking for a group of Uxbridge residents who'd signed a letter to the Township regarding Beach's potential conflict of interest, Conrad Richter told council he remained concerned, despite what he'd heard at the meeting. "One fact not presented (to the integrity commissioner) was that the applicant wants to purchase from local grain farmers. I consulted with an expert and he agreed with the (commissioner's) conclusion when given the same facts. But when I gave (him) documents saying there was a supply possibility, it changed everything."
"That's why she's stepping out," said Mayor Barton, to which Richter replied, "But it looks like nothing was wrong." Councillor Popp noted, "She cannot do anymore." Clerk Leroux reminded Mr. Richter that he had until March 1st to bring forth legal action.
While considering the correspondence, council discussed the conflict issue, with Mayor Dave Barton stating that "From our perspective, Councillor Beach doesn't have a conflict. The advice we paid for says we do not have a conflict, but she's declared a conflict anyway to avoid legal issues." Councillor Willie Popp returned to the application's status and informed the meeting that Grain Boys Holdings had yet to provide answers to residents' questions, despite council "going back to them a couple of times."
With a grain processing facility now in an Aurora industrial park, the Grain Boys Holdings wishes to change the zoning by-law on their 351 Regional Road 47 property from a rural to acceptable agricultural use to allow a dry grain processing plant featuring 60 foot processing towers, warehouse and office space. Since the proposed site is designated Countryside Area on the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Grain Boys Holdings has been asked to provide information to the public, including an open house held at the Goodwood Community Centre on January 7th.
A January 21st council resolution asked the company to respond to residents' questions and the township planner was to release a report on the issue at the February 4th council meeting. No questions were answered by. Grain Boys Holdings and planner Elizabeth Howson did not file her report.
After much discussion and consideration of the need for interested parties to review planner Howson's report, council decided to make the report available March 4th and to hold a special evening meeting at 7 p.m. on March 18th.