A few residents have asked me to further delay the adoption of a second draft resolution for the development at 500 Claremont. I am not willing to do that and I will explain why.
This is the first project that has been subject to the SCAOPI by-law. There have been two public meetings on this project and, communication and dialogue with concerned residents throughout the entire process. Can we improve the communication process? Absolutely. We can get information to residents more quickly and I will work to improve that going forward.
But one thing is for sure. Everybody with an opinion on the project has had several opportunities to voice their opinion on the project. It is now time for action.
If Council adopts the second draft resolution (each Councillor is free to vote how they choose) there is then an opportunity for residents to petition to open a Registry. The window to do so will be open for a period of 8 days to ensure that interested residents have an opportunity to register in writing their wish to open a Registry. This opportunity will present itself before the Christmas holidays.
If there are enough residents petitioning to open a Registry, the next step will be for Council to decide to adopt, or not, a final resolution on the project. If it does, then the formal process to hold a Registry will be triggered and, pending the result of the Registry, the administration could be moving towards a Referendum. Obviously, none of that would take place over the holidays.
In essence, Council’s next step – the adoption of the second draft resolution – is an essential step that triggers a process enabling those interested by the project to participate in the decision making whether they are in favour or against the proposed project.
I have been asked by a few residents to delay the adoption of the second draft resolution and, as I said, I don’t believe that file should be delayed further. It has been dragged on for far too long. It has been recommended by the Planning Advisory Committee, reviewed by our Traffic Committee and it is recommended by our Administration as a suitable project. The new Council has been briefed in detail on this project and the local Councillor Conrad Peart and the Urban Planning Director met with the developer to further clarify any outstanding issues.
I am fully aware of the concerns of the residents who live adjacent to the property and I know that living near a construction site is not ideal, but I am confident that the City, along with the developer and the residents, will manage any issues that may arise.
This is a good project for the area and for Westmount as a whole. I fully support it.
Christina M. Smith,