Hugh the hero

From an attendee at Monday’s MPS/LUB meeting :

Councillor Simpson stood up for his consituents at Council. He is our hero. He put forward a motion at the meeting on Monday night, based on  wording from Rob Porter’s submission concerning the R1 zone, which would have enshrined in the MPS ( in Section 8)  an intent to retain the single family dwelling zone as an integral part of Wolfville’s character and economic viability/sustainability .  Councillor McKay  is to be applauded also for seconding the motion. In the discussion that followed the motion the Deputy Mayor argued that the statement of intent was not necessary as the wording of the MPS implied the preservation of the zone as an intent and also argued that in any case anything that was written in the document could be amended by a subsequent Council so was not written in stone.  Although a number of Councillors spoke to the motion  the mayor said nothing. The motion was defeated. Is the R1 zone safe given this attitude?

Our comments re Deputy Mayor Wrye’s arguments: 1) If an intent to retain the R1 zone was the intent of Council and the document then what harm would there be by making it explicit in the wording of the MPS?  2) If any clauses of the MPS can be so cavalierly amended as the deputy mayor implies than nothing in the MPS is safe, especially the R1 zone, which he himself advised should be revisited within the year.

The Conclusion? The only safety for residents of Wolfville regarding any zoning or any bylaw or any policy, environmentally sustainable or otherwise, is having a Council composed of members who DO feel that the MPS and LUB are not to be amended lightly.

Our other conclusion? The defeat of his motion won’t do Councillor Simpson any harm when it comes to the election which is looming. On the contrary.

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5 responses to “Hugh the hero

  1. Clayton Moore

    I’ve heard that John MacKay tried to back away from supporting Hugh Simpson’s motion Is that true? Why would the Wolfville Town Council reject a motion to protect R1 if they support it? Isn’t this what got them in trouble in the first place?

  2. What we heard was that John MacKay was reluctant to second an amendment to Hugh’s motion and that he may have expected Hugh to withdraw it after the responses from the other members of Council. We are reluctant to impute negative motives to him. He apparently readily supported the motion originally which was bold and vital to Simpson’s getting it on the table for discussion rather than dying without a seconder.
    Why would the others on Council not allow Simpson’s amendment to the draft? We are puzzled also. It is as you said what got them in trouble in the first place and belies their claim that their intent (now) is to protect R1. It will not help any of them in the upcoming election. We feel quite sure that many voters will not trust what those Councillors say on this issue and that of course colours their credibility on other issues.

  3. Your reporter’s comments were not entirely factual nor did they tell the whole story which is what one could expect if one has an agenda they are promoting. In my reply to Councillor Simpson’s amendment I first stated that it was poorly crafted with half in the wrong section. There is little sense in amending a document if your amendment is not in a proper form and place. Second I pointed out to Councillor Simpson that the protection that he was looking for was already in the document in more than one place. In fact there is additional protection in this document as the ability to re-zone a property abutting another zone which is in the current document has been removed. Third I pointed out as there seemed to be a lack of understanding in some quarters that there is nothing than can be put in an MPS that cannot be amended at some point in the future. Even a statement that “Council has no intention of amending……” can be amended by council motion. That is not advocating it be done, but fairly, openly and transparantly pointing out to everyone that it is the law. My track record in the last ten years speaks for itself. The only significant amendment that has been made was after a public consultation process surrounding residential issues in the core.

    The fact is that anything zoned R1 currently cannot be changed to any other zone without an amendment to the MPS. The is nothing that can be added to the existing draft which will provide any more protection that what is already written in the document. If Councillor Simpson or any other Councillor wants to make an amendment that makes sense I will certainly consider it.

    Your reporter also fails to mention that I did not support a motion to amend the R1 zone and add back into it Home Occupations in a modified format. I made it clear that from my point of view the public were on record on what they wanted in the zone and I would not support any change from that. The amendment was defeated.

    The motion that will come from the PAC does not refer to the R1 changes in particular and clearly states that there is nothing to be placed on the agenda other than a general discussion. I have no intention now, tomorrow or within a year to simply revisit the R1 to R1A issue and deal with it again.

    If anyone is confused or wants an accurate description on what is happening in town, please feel free to e-mail me at the Town.

  4. “My track record in the last ten years speaks for itself. The only significant amendment that has been made was after a public consultation process surrounding residential issues in the core.”

    “If Councillor Simpson or any other Councillor wants to make an amendment that makes sense I will certainly consider it.”

    “If anyone is confused or wants an accurate description on what is happening in town, please feel free to e-mail me at the Town.”

    We take it, from what you say, that you run the show, that where you go the Council and administration will follow, and that you can speak for the ToW?

  5. wolfville@live.ca ( Ratepayers Group )

    During the furor of this controversy, when asked how many Wolfville R1 ratepayers had requested a change to R1A status, Deputy Mayor Wrye responded with a firm “zero!” Mr. Wrye is apparently of the opinion that the will of the majority trumps the will of a minority. By his definition there is no security within any area zoning. He implies that zoning is subject to the will or whim of council both now and in the future. The simple truth is that this council is apparently fully prepared to change zoning against the will of those who may be affected. This is fundamentally wrong! An R1 zone should not be changed without the unanimous consent of area R1 ratepayers affected. If you buy into an R1 zone then you should be prepared to live by its rules. Any change is possible with the unanimous consent of those affected by the change. To change zoning at the will or whim of a few, without unanimous consent, creates an atmosphere of instability which will inevitably lower property values. Is this what our council is seeking to do in order to make property values “more affordable” within their definition of social justice? When Councillor Simpson tried to pass a motion to protect R1 ratepayers, seconded by Councillor MacKay ( who later tried to back away from the motion ) the motion was soundly defeated by council. Let those who support the protection of R1 zoning stand. They did . . . and the Simpson motion was defeated! If this council is returned, we can surely bid goodbye to the Town of Wolfville as we know it!