Resident praises city's criticism of Bill 25

The Burlington Post -- Letters to the Editor 05/30/03


Re: City council rebuffs Bill 25 (May 23, The Post)

Whenever the mayor and city council speak out loudly and critically against the actions of the provincial government it is very important that the public be informed of the details. Therefore, I would like to thank the Post for making this front page news.

Since our community leaders are referring to Bill 25 as "draconian" and "highly disrespectful of municipal authority and the public's right for input," I decided to read this bill to see if I would agree.

I concluded that Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor was right when he said; "Bill 25 has got to be withdrawn. It's completely, utterly unacceptable."

Here is why I agree:

The bill amends a number of acts including the Ontario Planning and Development Act that currently provides for the establishment of development planning areas and the preparation of development plans in respect of those areas. It provides for the further establishment of infrastructure corridor planning areas and while doing so says that those areas are not undertakings under the Environmental Assessment Act.

We should all find this upsetting, but it gets even worse when it says as follows:

'The Minister of Transportation may confer with any person or public body that the minister considers may have an interest in the proposed plan. If, after considering the submissions received, modifications to the proposed plan appear "desirable" to the minister, the minister may, "at his discretion" consult further with the public and municipalities and planning boards. Then after considering the submissions received the minister may make such modifications to the proposed plan "as the minister considers desirable."

That makes it possible for the Minister of Transportation to do whatever he "desires" and accordingly gives him way too much power.

Our mayor and council were right to jump all over this bill. We live in a free country, but the provincial government should not confuse that to mean they can do "whatever they desire."

In my view our council is upset for a very good reason.

Bob Hicks, Burlington (By e-mail)

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