Thursday, October 15, 2009

New HCBP Developments

City looking at amendments to HCBP plan

From the Weirdness of the Week file, it seems that talking softly does work after all. A letter signed by many prominent environmentalists was sent to city councillors and staff stating that while the project “has appreciable merits,” it also has “significant shortcomings” that could end up being harmful to the environment. In response, the city is bringing in consultants to review some of the proposed changes. “The decision was really made in 2006 with the signing of the OMB minutes of settlement,” Farbridge told the Guelph Mercury adding that the City is open to compromise as long as terms of settlement aren’t breached. “It is now at a technical stage and a lot of (residents’) suggestions would have to be dealt with at a technical level.”

Norah Chaloner, a member of the Guelph chapter of the Council of Canadians said that with the City announcing suspension of work until the spring, the time was ripe to explore a more conciliatory process. Of course, she refers to the occupation of the construction site in the HCBP land this past July, which lead to a court ordered suspension of construction for further investigation of environmental concerns, which, by the time it was over, was too late for work to continue on the site. But while groups like Land Is More Important Than Sprawl and the HCBP occupiers want a complete cessation of construction on the land, the signatories of the letter are looking for a third path. “I’m satisfied that there is good potential in the Hanlon Creek Business Park proposal,” said Hugh Whiteley adding that there is “not an ideal balance” between proposed development and natural areas.

Meanwhile LIMITS is gearing up again to take full advantage of the winter months to continue to push for their goals. A meeting was held at the ebar on Tuesday looked to such action as organizing an information sharing event, tabling at local events, poster campaign, and walking tours. Stay tuned for more.

A Quick Dose of Updates

Because you demanded it (I assume since I got no factual demands), here’s the latest news on a couple of stories I previously reported about.

First, it seems that the frogs are on their own once again. Last week the City announced that the nightly closures of Laird Road for amphibian migration had ended after being closed two weeks earlier when local residents brought some 200 dead frogs and toads to the front door of City Hall in protest. So did the City just give up on the frogs? Well no, environmentalists say that amphibian movement stops when the nightly temperature dips below 10 degrees celsius. The plan to install a culvert below the road and drift fencing above is scheduled to proceed next month in anticipation for the even bigger spring migration which can start as early as March and end as late as June.

Meanwhile, the hammer came down on the two people being investigated for leaving an allegedly threatening letter at the home of someone connected to Drexler Construction… only it was one of those inflatable novelty hammers. Police Chief Rob Davis told the Guelph Mercury that no charges would be filed against Julian Ichim or Kelly Pflug-Back, who outed themselves as persons of interest following the delivery of the letter over the Labour Day long weekend. The chief said that there was no evidence against Ichim and Pflug-Back even despite their admission. As for their intention to file defamation suits against the police, there’s been no word on how that’s going.

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