March 15, 2005—At the March 14 Council meeting planner Michael Rosen formally announced that the owners of the Cape Roger Curtis property were withdrawing from the Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP). In his report to Council Michael indicated that the property owners (CRC Joint Venture) were unwilling to accept the the modified terms of reference that had been drafted collaboratively by community members (including every chair plus additional members) from all of the committees (CRCTS, APC, Sustainability, Parks and Rec, Trails, Nature Club) that ultimately would have been represented in the NCP.
The apparent reasons for the withdrawal are outlined in a March 7 letter to Council written by Wolfgang Duntz for the CRC Joint Venture. In the letter Wolfgang identified “uncertainty concerning the Terms of Reference and its effect on the agreed to time schedule” as the reason for the withdrawal. He further states “To ‘front load’ such a planning process with a non-representatives group’s ‘community expectations’ which are biased against CRC Joint Venture is unacceptable to us. We do not accept the opinions of a small private group of unelected and unappointed people as a credible voice to represent ‘community expectations’.” Quite a remarkable statement given the composition of the community group that met on February 3 to draft modifications to the terms of reference.
The owner’s withdrawal is even more puzzling given the following facts:
- The NCP process was initiated by the owners
- Council and staff made every effort to expedite the process.
- None of the proposed amendments to the terms of reference invalidated or caused delay to any part of the process that had occurred to date.
- Given that Council at its Jan. 24 meeting authorized staff to hold a meeting with community members to review the terms of reference, the Feb. 3 meeting of representatives from the various community committees occurred remarkably quickly and consensus was reached on modifications to the terms of reference.
- The modified terms of reference allowed for all possible land uses (i.e. no preconceived restrictions on development) and included the clause that “the financial return from the ultimate development should be equal to or greater than would be the case under the existing land use regulatory framework“.
- The process was proceeding somewhat more slowly than the owners had proposed in their timelines, but not significantly so given the completion date of March 2006 proposed by the owners.
How to proceed from here? Should the process continue? The CRCTS believes that it should.