The story behind 260 Main Street

The development that was proposed for 260 Main St. will not be going ahead. The developers have given up and are moving to Ont. That is not a new story just a sad one. A tragi-comedy really.  It finally hit the local press (Oct. 5 Kings Co. Register) when the developers wrote two scathing letters of “thanks” no thanks to the Wolfville Town Council and the UARB, copying to the press.

Since it is not online we will give the whole Register article and some readings “between the lines” These Wolfville residents “…  first had approval and then didn’t”

There is much behind this sentence that is not stated. The Council thought they had passed an approval for the development agreement but in fact hadn’t which shows you that they don’t know their asses from their elbows. If you look at the minutes for May 15th there is this “decision.”

07-05-06: ZIMMERMAN/SIMPSON THAT COUNCIL APPROVE ENTERING INTO A DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT TO ALLOW FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL BUILDING TO THE REAR OF THE EXISTING BUILDING AT 260 MAIN STREET, PID 55278659, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE PLANNING SERVICES PUBLIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FEBRUARY 23, 2006 AND AS PRESENTED TO THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER PRIOR TO THIS MEETING AND AS AMENDED BY RESOLUTION NO. 06-05-06. CARRIED WITH MAYOR STEAD AND COUNCILLOR SIMPSON VOTING IN FAVOUR, COUNCILLOR MANGLE VOTING NAY AND COUNCILLOR ZIMMERMAN ABSTAINING. [emph. ours]

CLARIFICATION
The Chair declared the motion carried on the basis that the failure to vote [ie. the Zimmerman abstention WW] was interpreted as a vote in favour. The Councillor who failed to vote later confirmed that his failure to vote was not intended as a vote in favour. [although he introduced the motion to approve it] Under the Municipal Government Act a failure to vote is deemed to be a negative vote. As a consequence the result of the vote was 2 in favour and 2 opposed. Under the Municipal Government Act a tie vote determines the question in the negative. At the meeting of June 19 the motion was declared lost. [emph ours]



From the minutes of June 19th

The Town Solicitor suggested that we should also have clarification in the
May 15 minutes of the vote for the resolution dealing with the Ken Enns
Development Agreement.

The Town Solicitor provided clarification as follows: He noted that his
understanding was that the Mayor as Chair of the meeting interpreted
Councillor Zimmerman’s abstention as a vote in favour. Mayor Stead
confirmed this.
The Town Solicitor informed members that staff spoke with Councillor
Zimmerman after that meeting, and his understanding of Councillor
Zimmerman’s explanation of his abstention was that it was intended not
to be in support of the motion, but that an abstention would be a yes
vote.
The Town Solicitor explained that under the Municipal Government
Act an abstention is a NO vote. Therefore the result was two in favour
and two opposed on the motion before Council, and under the Municipal
Government a tie vote is lost. Councillor Zimmerman explained that his
conscience could not let him vote in favour, so he felt the need to
abstain.

In other words Zimmerman didn’t want to block the development ( after all he introduced the positive motion) but at the same time didn’t want to vote for it and sully his environmentally friendly name. He wanted his cake and to eat it too. He thought his abstention would allow it to pass without bothering his sleep. Only it didn’t work out that way.

Back to the Register article:

In May the couple appealed the decision to the province’s Utility and Review Board. Then after what they described as 18months of wrangling [why the “what they described as” – 18 months is 18months! It had to be a wrangle.] the Enns decided to move to Niagra on the Lake . Enns said he found the whole experience frustrating. ‘It was naive of me to assume that the UARB exists to ensure fairness when government [ i.e. our Town Hall] runs rough over the taxpayer.”

This has very little of the colour of the Enns letters (which we have seen). It is not at all complimentary to either the Councillors or the UARB Board.

Not much detail in the article, is there, about the hoops the Town put the Enns through and the idiotic positive vote that turned into a negative vote. And the mayor is given a chance by the Advertiser/Register to soften the impact of the Enns’ complaints.

Commenting on the Enns departure Mayor Bob Stead said ” I always regret losing people who contribute to the community.

Note he didn’t say he is sorry to lose the Enns themselves. Pretty well crafted statement that. There are residents the mayor would be very happy to see pack their bags because they don’t contribute to HIS idea of the community.


Stead went on to say ” the convergence of circumstances that led to the
kind of table that decided the vote in the 260 Main St. development was
most unusual. It felt terribly uncomfortable throughout.”

Unusual indeed as we outlined above! One wonders why if the Council intended to pass the motion and the first vote was a misunderstanding why one of the Concillors didn’t reintroduce the motion at the next meeting when there would have been enough votes to pass it. Instead they let it fail and let it go to appeal.

Here is the rest of the article:

Wolfville is 10 months into what is expected to be a two year planning review process with a [sic] avowed sustainability focus. In the interim , Stead has said he is hopeful no other developments in sensitive places [what isn’t sensitive we would like to know] were on the horizon because of the Town’s involvement in a complete re-evaluation of its planning principles.

What  residents need is a complete re-evaluation of the make up of Council. The next Municipal election can’t come soon enough.

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