By­law change in Har­bour Grace en­dan­gers pub­lic

The Compass - - OPINION -

Fol­low­ing his elec­tion, Mayor Terry Barnes in­di­cated that coun­cil was look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge ahead to bring Har­bour Grace for­ward as a pro­duc­tive, safe com­mu­nity for ev­ery­one to en­joy, as well as en­tic­ing new res­i­dents and new com­merce to our beau­ti­ful his­toric town. The com­mu­nity and in par­tic­u­lar se­niors need to be made aware that his vi­sion for a safe com­mu­nity no longer in­cludes them.

At the Nov. 19 coun­cil meet­ing, the mayor and all but two coun­cil­lors voted to re­move the reg­u­la­tory safe­guards re­quired for se­nior de­vel­op­ments. This amend­ment was put for­ward to help a de­vel­oper evade the town’s by­laws, so that the de­vel­oper can place more units than is safe on the piece of prop­erty that he owns. If the de­vel­op­ment moves for­ward, there will be so lit­tle space that not only will the fire depart­ment not be able to do their job, but in the event that emer­gency ser­vices are called to the de­vel­op­ment, there will be in­suf­fi­cient room to al­low am­bu­lance and po­lice ser­vices to func­tion ef­fec­tively. Coun­cil has been re­peat­edly ad­vised of th­ese risks, but seems to be of the opin­ion that se­niors are not de­serv­ing of the same level of safety in the com­mu­nity as other res­i­dents.

If coun­cil truly be­lieved that the res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace would ap­prove of treat­ing its se­niors in such a cav­a­lier man­ner than they

This amend­ment was put for­ward to help a de­vel­oper evade the town’s by­laws, so that the de­vel­oper can place more units than is safe on the piece of prop­erty that he owns.

would not have avoided their obli­ga­tion to hold a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on an amend­ment that fun­da­men­tally changes the way se­niors are treated in our com­mu­nity. Rather, not only was the pub­lic not in­formed, the two coun­cil­lors who would not support treat­ing se­niors in this way were not ad­vised that this amend­ment was be­ing put for­ward at the coun­cil meet­ing. Coun­cil re­fused to an­swer any ques­tions from res­i­dents that were in attendance at the meet­ing and ei­ther could not or would not an­swer coun­cil­lor’s ques­tions.

When I asked to have time on the agenda to ad­dress the fire safety is­sues, con­flict of in­ter­est of one of the coun­cil­lors, their obli­ga­tion to al­low for a proper pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, and the in­equitable ap­pli­ca­tion of town reg­u­la­tions, I was in­formed that I would only be al­lowed ap­prox­i­mately 15 min­utes to have my say. I was also in­formed that it would not be an open dis­cus­sion or a ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod. I was also ad­vised by the town man­ager that when I was seek­ing in­for­ma­tion from her in re­gards to the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment that would put se­niors at risk, she had been di­rected not to re­turn my calls or re­spond to me. Clearly, the mayor is no longer com­mit­ted to mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort to keep the res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace in­formed, as he promised just after be­ing elected. How­ever, it is not sur­pris­ing that he and the other Coun­cil­lors would not want the com­mu­nity know­ing they sup­ported an amend­ment putting se­niors at risk for the sake of a de­vel­oper.

I would urge you to publish my let­ter so that the res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace are aware that the town is will­ing to dis­crim­i­nate against se­niors and put them at risk. I am sure that the res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace would not ap­prove of treat­ing its se­niors in such a cav­a­lier man­ner.

— Sean Ash writes from

Toronto, Ont.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.