NIMBYism alive and well YorkDurham prepare for heat by dfhercbml


NIMBYism alive and well YorkDurham prepare for heat

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									   Virtual reporting                       Endangered bill                                               Hands out
   Revealing campaign contributors •   4   Protecting species at risk •   6                              York wants growth cash   •9

                       GREATER TORONTO AREA EDITION                                                                             • No 14
                                                                                                                           VOL 10

                                                                                                              WEDNESDAY • APRIL 4 • 2007


York/Durham prepare                                                  NIMBYism
for heat                                                             alive and well
By Anne Marie Aikins
                                                                     People hate casinos, landfills, power plants and big-box
Now that York Region and Durham Region councillors                   stores, but welcome single-family homes, hospitals and
have accepted the consultants’ short-list of five potential          even office towers in their backyards, according to the
sites—four in Clarington and one in East                             first national survey of Canadian attitudes toward real
Gwillimbury—for an energy-from-waste facility, the                   estate developments.
community heat is already beginning to boil. Although all                The survey by Saint Consulting Group, which
of the incinerator sites are expected to generate a NIMBY            recently opened its first Canadian office in Toronto, also
response from the public, the York site is smack dab in the          found that contrary to recent polls claiming the public is
greenbelt—a broken promise, environmentalists say,                   gaga over the environment these days, the biggest sources
which may end up making it a deal breaker. A final deci-             of opposition to these developments cited was the protec-
sion on the site is not expected until September, but heat           tion of community character and distrust in local politi-
is bound to rise even more over the next 60 days. During             cians, who are often viewed as too cozy with developers.
that time councils must decide, NRU has learned, whether             Opposition to development in general was so strong, 29
to continue down the full environmental assessment route             per cent of respondents in the GTA claim they have
or choose the province’s new speedy process. (See NRU                actively opposed new development in their community.
GTA March 28.)                                                           The “Saint Index” points to tough times ahead for
    “It is much too early to say which site may be the like-         almost any type of real estate development in Canada.
ly best candidate for an energy-from-waste facility as we            The survey results found that 3 out of 4 respondents feel
still must continue to do extensive public consultation,”            their communities are just fine the way they are, or are
York waste management director Andy Campbell told                    already overdeveloped.
NRU. “Once a site is determined, much more detailed                      “That number increases to over 80 per cent in major
studies must be done.”                                               cities,” said Saint Consulting president Patrick Fox.
    “Councils have the next 60 days to decide if they want           “Eighty per cent levels of opposition can spell expensive
to go with the shorter EA process,” Campbell said.                                                                    CONTINUED PAGE 4
    The “greenbelt confusion” in the community, he said,
has arisen because the property in East Gwillimbury
received site specific zoning for employment lands, which
pre-dated the greenbelt legislation.
                                                                          Find the legal solution.
    “Back in the ‘90s, the York site received planning                    For information about how our legal team can
approvals so although the consultants promised no poten-                  help you, please contact us at (416) 869-5500.
tial sites would be in the greenbelt, this site is an excep-              Jim Harbell
tion,” Campbell said. He argues that the planning                         Calvin Lantz
approvals on the site make it eligible for consideration
despite its location.
    York’s adoption of the East Gwillimbury greenbelt                     STIKEMAN ELLIOTT LLP
                                            CONTINUED PAGE 5
WEDNESDAY • APRIL 4 • 2007                                                                NRU • GREATER TORONTO AREA EDITION • 4

Toronto launches virtual                                         leaving many with big deficits.
                                                                    A case in point—Oakville mayor Rob Burton, who
election financing reporting                                     after several attempts finally outseated incumbent mayor
                                                                 Ann Mulvale, joined a long list of green candidates that
                                                                 rejected corporate contributions. Burton has filed interim
In the City of Toronto, the public now has online access
                                                                 reports claiming only $6,130 in donations leaving him with
to financial information for all candidates who ran in the
                                                                 over $77,000 in the hole. He has filed for a campaign exten-
November 13 municipal election—the first municipality in
Canada to implement an electronic financial filing applica-
                                                                    The new mayor also had a deficit of nearly $82,000
tion for elections, said city clerk Ulli Watkiss. The move
                                                                 from his barely failed 2003 bid. At that time Burton lost to
enhances transparency and improves public access to infor-
                                                                 Mulvale by only 15 votes and successfully won a recount,
mation, she said.
                                                                 but not the election.
    Although other municipalities in the GTA do not have
                                                                    Interestingly, Mulvale raised nearly $62,000 in contribu-
as sophisticated a method of handling financial reports, a
                                                                 tions with a good percentage coming from the develop-
few have begun posting hand written reports online and it
                                                                 ment community. She was left with less than $1,000 in
is expected more will follow in the coming weeks. All
reports are available to the public through clerks’ offices.
                                                                    The financial reports also show a continued pattern of
    During the election, however, many municipal candi-
                                                                 candidates spending more money on fund-raising events,
dates quickly reported contributions on their websites that
                                                                 often significantly more, than the event actually raises in
made most of this old news by the deadline on Monday for
filing candidate financial reports.
                                                                    In spite of repeated calls and promises of election
    But there is an interesting pattern developing as a result
                                                                 financing reforms, however, Queen’s Park has not gotten
of the new found interest in rejecting developer and cor-
                                                                 around to introducing the recommended changes.          NRU
porate donations. It was clear that if you were not a big
name, with a big constituency base, like Toronto Mayor
                                                                   To Advertise in NRU GTA Edition or City of Toronto Edition,
David Miller, who did not accept corporate donations, it           please go to or call 416.260.1304
was very difficult to raise cash without corporate backing

Planning survey                          continued from page 1
                                                                    The survey, which has been conducted in the U.S. and
                                                                 U.K. since 2006, found that most—86 per cent—of
                                                                 Ontarians believe they should be able to appeal local zon-
delays or even cancellation for many types of develop-           ing/planning decisions to the provincial government.
ment.”                                                              As for the public’s support for alternative energy
   When asked about the big projects such as hospitals,          sources—most (76 per cent) oppose nuclear energy; most
landfills and nuclear power plants, the study found high         support wind (79 per cent) and hydroelectric (62 per
levels of distrust for local politicians and a perception that   cent); and the numbers reflect an almost even split on
their “often close relationship with developers makes the        support for energy-from-waste technologies.            NRU
planning process unfair.” In fact, 60 per cent of respon-
dents expressed concern that these perceived close rela-
tionships can “compromise fairness.” The survey also
revealed that 87 per cent of respondents believe that a
political candidate’s position on community growth is an          KIRCHER                      ♦ real estate strategy
important issue to consider when casting their votes.             Research Associates Ltd. ♦ consumer research
   “These findings should send a warning to both politi-                                       ♦ market demand analysis
cians and developers,” said Fox.
                                                                                               ♦ impact assessment
   When asked about which developments they would                 Contact:
most oppose in their communities, 80 per cent of the
                                                                  Hermann J. Kircher           ♦ highest & best land use
respondents placed casinos at the top of their list. Levels                                    ♦ expert testimony
of opposition fell below 25 per cent when asked about   
                                                                                               ♦ 40+ years experience
hospitals and single-family homes being built in their com-

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