To The Editor,
A few comments on the February 28 editorial regarding Action Champlain’s request of Champlain Council for $200,000 to assist with the payment of legal representation at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing on Colacem’s rezoning plans.
It was stated that Champlain council might deny the request because of the ‘precedent’ it could create. ‘Precedent’ is an oft-used and convenient excuse for shutting down discussion without any engagement in Common Sense. For example: a) When was the last time any citizens’ group requested financial support from council before an OMB hearing? b) Have any opponents of wind farms, solar projects or clear-cutting requested financial support from council to go before the OMB? c) Does Champlain Council share the same position as Action Champlain?
The answer to the above is: a) Not in recent memory; b) No group has requested financial support; c) Yes, Champlain, Hawkesbury and East Hawkesbury voted against the re-zoning. Clearly, the argument of ‘precedent’ holds no water whatsoever.
The editorial also states, “Perhaps the answer is not really about whether or not the township should support Action Champlain. Perhaps the real need is effecting changes to the OMB...” This is not an either/or situation. The OMB is outdated, undemocratic and answerable to no one. It consistently rules in favour of developers and against citizens and often even against democratically-elected municipalities. Developers have bottomless pockets; citizens have empty pockets. The province recognizes this and is moving to ‘de-fang’ the OMB.
The Colacem cement plant is a public health issue. On that matter alone, Action Champlain should be supported by Champlain Council. And the Council should be prepared to go further. When the OMB inevitably sides with Colacem and against the citizens, Council should appeal directly to premier Kathleen Wynn – the only one who can overturn an OMB ruling.
ian hepburn, Vankleek Hill