Statement from Councillor Rob Hutchison

It seems that Tuesday’s council meeting will be even more exciting than we may have anticipated. Rob Hutchison explains:

On Thursday, February 26, 2015 the Mayor contacted me to indicate that he had heard from developers that they objected to the motion to cancel the extension that I had put forward. Their position is that the motion is premature, potentially interferes with their business expectations and is open to legal challenges from them.

Despite this road bump, the Extension can still be cancelled. However, the City must follow the proper legal process for amendments to any official documents such as the Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan. If due process is not followed, while we could win the initial Council vote to cancel, we may well ultimately lose through a court case or OMB challenge for failing to follow the proper procedures and public consultation.

In this context, I have agreed to withdraw the current cancellation motion, in favour of a motion that will present a comprehensive review of the City documents related to the Extension on March 24th and staff report in May 2015 on what is required to explore alternative transportation solutions in place of the Wellington St. Extension.

In short, the political process to cancel the Extension is still going forward.

This represents a frustrating delay for those of us working to stop the extension. However, it would appear that if it is normal practice to have consultation prior to changes to the Official Plan, that is something we must do here as well. The majority of council stands against the WSE. The trick will be to stay mobilized so that even if heavy-duty traffic arguments are mounted by staff, developers, and some councillors over the coming months, we ensure that they do not trump more current and progressive approaches to the health of our environment, our economy, and our community. On March 3, councillors will debate an alternative motion, and it is more important than ever for us to communicate to them our steadfast opposition to this road, and for us to come to council to witness their actions. Please write, and please come.

— Laura Murray

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