18-5. That was the vote count in the Peel Regional Council Chambers last Thursday afternoon in support of ROPA 24. Let me say that again....the vote was 18 in support of ROPA 24 and 5 against it.
Just for those of you who don't know what ROPA is (all these damn acronyms) it stands for Region of Peel Ammendment 24, re: growth and planning submission for the Province of Ontario, as guided by the Places to Grow direction.
It is a small victory, a few minutes of respite in this marathon conflict between what is right and what is wrong. We can savour this for a few minutes but I think Councillor Richard Whitehead nailed it on the head when he said "we may have just reached the end to a new beginning". Sadly to say, I believe his insight is quite correct. The shark tank activity that has turned Bolton practically into Seaworld where our Ward 5 councillors act more like trained seals will more than likely gear up for another horse and pony show. The vigilantes such as the CCRBB will re-group and re-arm themselves for another attack. It is only a matter of time until they come hunting again for their quarry. At moments living in Bolton feels like being trapped in a kill zone.
I sat in those council chambers and was absolutely astounded at the bravado and the cohones on a couple of the anti-ROPA presenters who literally referred to the Mayor of Caledon as a liar. They painted a picture of a Mayor out with a personal agenda and vendetta against one proponent and that it was her political agenda & motivation that has steered and controlled Caledon's planning vision. My jaw dropped when one presenter chided the Mayor because they knew after she was leaving the regional council today that she was heading back to the town to announce her bid for re-election. His demeanor was filled with ridicule and sarcasm. His actions played out as goading and tantamount to poking a stick through the fence at a dog. All the while I watched the Mayor as she sat composed, never flinching, focusing on the notes in front of her and at no time did she ever engage or respond. Wow, talk about taking the high road. Now those are real conads.
Oh and as for the Chip & Dale Show (Councillor Groves & Councillor Iannica) how you two treated the Executive Director from the Caledon Countryside Alliance was a disgrace. Read your notes. The Oracle poll that she brought back to council didn't ask the question "Do You Want Growth" but rather it asked what residents top concerns were and growth came out number one. When you so Wile-E-Coyote'd your rhetoric about "if you ask anybody if they want to grow they will all say no!". I just want you to know that from my seat up in the peanut gallery you looked like a couple of bobble headed dolls sitting there nodding back and forth for each other. The only thing you two didn't do, besides high five each other, was to kiss each others ass.
How do you tell a group like the Caledon Chamber of Commerce that perhaps they need to rethink their position and their strategy. Their leadership, if you can call it that, has in effect, strained their relationship with the Caledon administration and compromised their integrity so badly that I think if someone from the Chamber said good morning to me I'd have to look outside the window first. I'm simply amazed that the CCofC thinks they are within their rights to tell a Mayor that she cannot communicate or write to the businesses in Caledon. They actually accused her of spreading misinformation about economic development to their membership. Whoa. I often wonder if the membership of the Chamber fully understand the nature in which their administration has chosen to conduct themselves.
If the Chamber of Commerce really wants to champion a cause why don't they put in as much effort to help out the very beleagured local business, Garden Foods, who keeps getting charged by the Caledon OPP for being open for business on holidays. Now that is a cause a whole community could get behind.
How do we look our Ward 5 councillors in the face and say "ok, it's time to play nicely in the sandbox...get over this silliness and let's get on with the business of the corporation..." More than likely none of this will ever come to pass. It is apparently clear to me that their time has come and gone. In a time when our Council needed to stand united they chose to dissent. In that moment, through those actions, it became crystal clear to me that their integrity has been compromised and as such it compromised the integrity and values of every single resident of my beloved community. I'm watching with great interest as the election process will unfold and I remain hopeful that with it will come a new sense of hope and civility. What can I say, sometimes a girl just wants the impossible.
Finally, I don't think there is anyone in Ward 5 who honestly expects Bolton to be without any growth or expansion. It is completely unrealistic to think we can slam the door shut and not let anything else develop here. That just isn't practical thinking. I do, however, believe that we have a right to appropriate planning with its direction coming from the municipality rather than those who hold the velvet purses or the cannoli's. I am weary today...all these acronyms....CCoC; ROPA, CCRBB, OCOC....just gets me to feeling like I need some TLC from the LCBO ASAP.
The good fight continues.