Procedural Irregularities with 7th Draft of Official Plan


 

To:       Clerk, Mayor and Council
From: Jordy Speake, Ontario West Coast Landowners Association
Re:      Procedural Irregularities Contributing to Draft 7 Official Plan Decisions
Date:   April 8, 2016

_________________________________________________________________________

On May 11, 2015, a special meeting of the Lambton Shores council was called by the mayor to discuss the status of the draft Official Plan for the municipality. Meetings had been scheduled on this issue in April, 2015, but were cancelled because not all members of council were available to meet. At the subsequent meeting scheduled for May 11, 2015, two members of council were unavailable for the meeting; at least one councillor had given prior notice of unavailability weeks in advance. However, unlike the April meetings, the May 11 meeting proceeded anyways with absences.

A. The minutes of the May 11, 2015 meeting, submitted to council for approval at the June 16, 2015 council meeting, clearly states the council’s intentions with regards to wastewater management for the lakefront areas;

“Council discussed sanitary servicing policies and directed staff to amend the policies to include a statement that it is the Municipality (sic) intention to service the lakefront areas in Lambton Shores, currently on private septic systems, with municipal sanitary sewers.

15-0511-03     Moved by: Councillor Goodhand

Seconded by Deputy Mayor Cook

That the recommendations discussed at the May 11, 2015 Special Council Official Plan meeting be accepted; and

That these changes be incorporated into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan for Council consideration and the public meeting process.

Carried”

A video recording of this meeting is available on-line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8hkwCngY3s  Motion at 48:30 min.

B. At the June 16, 2015 regular Lambton Shores council meeting under Item 11.2, Minutes of the Lambton Shores Official Plan Meeting held May 11, 2015 states

“In business arising from the Lambton Shores Official Plan meeting minutes, Councillor Maguire asked that the rationale for lake front sewer servicing for future long range planning be included in the proposed plan.

15-0516-11     Moved by: Councillor Maguire

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

That the minutes of the Lambton Shores Official Plan meeting held May 11, 2015 be amended to include the rationale for lake front sewer servicing for future long range planning.

Carried

15-0616-12     Moved by: Councillor Rupke

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

That the minutes of the Lambton Shores Official plan meeting held May 11, 2015 be accepted as presented.

Carried”

C. On or about June 22, 2015, under the ‘minutes’ section of the municipal website, the minutes for the May 11, 2015 Special council meeting states:

“Council discussed sanitary servicing policies and directed staff to amend the policies to include a statement that it is the Municipality’s (sic) intention to service the lakefront areas in Lambton Shores, currently on private septic systems, with municipal sanitary sewers for future long range planning and when there is proof that the sewer extension is warranted.

15-0511-03     Moved by: Councillor Goodhand

Seconded by: Deputy Mayor Cook

`That the recommendations discussed at the May 11, 2015 Special Council – Official Plan meeting be accepted; and

That these changes be incorporated into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan for Council consideration and the public meeting process.

Carried”

As seen in a video recording of the May 11, 2015 Lambton Shores Special council meeting, and reflected in the submitted May 11, 2015 minutes for the June 16, 2015 meeting, a council discussion regarding long range planning or rationale for  a sewer extension never occurred. The concept of creating a rationale for sewer extension was neither suggested nor produced at the May 11, 2015 meeting as the change of the minutes depicts under Item 11.2.

Part 14.1 of municipal Procedural By-law 41 of 2014 states:

“The Clerk or recording secretary of a committee shall record without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the council, whether it is closed to the public or not.”

Part 14.4 of municipal Procedural By-law 41 of 2014 states:

“At the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Council, the minutes of the previous meeting shall be considered so that any errors may be corrected and once approved, signed by the Mayor and Clerk.”

How were the council minutes revised and posted to the municipal website, as the official recording of events of May 11, 2015, or the June 16, 2015 meeting, without council approval in an open council meeting in accordance with the municipal Procedural By-law? At the December 15, 2015 Lambton Shores council meeting Report CL 89-2015 updated council on the revised Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Is the manner in which these May 11, 2015 minutes are being presented on the municipal website a breach of Section 6 of that Act? What action will be taken to address this very serious concern?

Why were the council minutes for the May 11, 2015 meeting not presented to Lambton Shores council at the next regularly scheduled meeting of May 26, 2015 as mandated under Part 14.4 of the Procedural By-law?

Where is the rationale for long range planning for lakefront sewer servicing recorded, for public perusal, as directed by way of resolution 15-0516-11?

D. On the posted minutes for the regularly scheduled council meeting of September 1, 2015, under agenda Item 14.1, Notices of Motion, it is stated:

“14.1 Notice of Motion from Councillor Sageman – Re:  Request for Staff to Provide a Draft of Proposed Revisions to Water and Sewer Servicing Section 13.3, 13.3.1and 13.3.2 of the Draft OP

15-0901-19     Moved by: Councillor Sageman

Seconded by: Councillor Rupke

Whereas there is continuing public uncertainty with respect to Council’s direction relative to sewer servicing in Zones 3 and 4; and

Whereas it would be beneficial for Council to confirm its intended direction on sewer servicing as reflected in the Official Plan as soon as possible; and

Whereas these sections need to be as concise as possible;

Therefore Council directs:

That staff be requested to provide a draft of proposed revisions to the water and sewer servicing sections 13.3, 13.3.1 and 12.3.3 of the Draft OP reflecting the discussions and direction of Council on this matter since May 2015; and

That these proposed revisions be presented in a report to Council at its meeting of September 22, 2015.                 

Carried”

E. The September 22, 2015 council meeting minutes under Item 11.3, Report PL 34-2015 – Re: Proposed Revision to the Draft Official Plan Servicing Policies states;

“15-0922-11    Moved by: Councillor Maguire

Seconded by: Councillor Sageman

That Report PL 34-2015 regrading proposed revisions to the Draft Official Plan Servicing Sections be received.

Carried

15-0922-12     Moved by: Deputy Mayor Cook

Seconded by: Councillor Dodge

That Council directs staff to incorporate the proposed revisions as written in Report PL 34-2015 dated September 22, 2015 into Draft 7 of the Lambton Shores Official Plan.

Carried”

The aforementioned report, PL 34-2015, in reference to a proposed revision of the current direction of council with regards to section 13.3.2 of the Draft Official Plan, states:

“Subject to… the Municipality will consider the future servicing of areas in Lambton Shores currently on private septic systems with municipal sanitary sewers, where there is sufficient demand or proof that the sewer extension is warranted.”

This new direction is substantially different from the one that council approved at the June 16, 2015 meeting. The concept of ‘sufficient demand’ had never been introduced prior to the Planner’s report PL 34-2015. Also, “will consider the future servicing” is significantly different from council’s approved direction of “it is the Municipality’s intention to service the lakefront areas in Lambton Shores, currently on private septic systems, with municipal sanitary sewers…”

Given the precision of council’s direction in May and June of 2015 on sewers and then the altered direction adopted by way of resolution on September 22, 2015, and then sudden inclusion into the municipality’s Official Plan submission to the County for Tier II approval, as directed at the November 24, 2015 council meeting, we question council as to why it deliberately chose to ignore Part 10 of Procedural By-law 41 of 2014? Why did council not use the ‘reconsideration’ requirement in Part 10.4, 10.6 or 10.7 to appropriately discuss a change in intent and tone for Section 13.3.2 of Draft 7 of the Official Plan as had been previously agreed to by way of council resolution? Why was empirical evidence of the ‘public uncertainty’ not introduced at the September 22, 2015 meeting that would have clearly mandated a reconsideration of past resolutions?

Finally, we wonder if the Lambton Shores council’s actions in this matter are in keeping with the spirit of the Municipal Act and the requirement for transparency and accountability. Where was the public input on this issue as demanded by the Planning Act and the Official Plan process and as indicated by way of resolution 15-0511-03 at the May 11, 2015 Special council meeting and reaffirmed at the June 16, 2015 regularly scheduled council meeting?

How do the actions of Lambton Shores council comply with sections 224 (a), 224 (b), 224 (d), 224 (d.1) and 224 (e) of the Municipal Act? Why did the chair not observe sections 225 (b), (c) and (c.1) of the Municipal Act to ensure that the business of council, in its corporate relationship with the municipality, was properly executed?

We ask that council deal with our questions earnestly in a transparent and expeditious manner.

 

You can contact us via email at: owcla@hay.net or by way of hard mail: OWCLA, Box 345 Thedford PO, Thedford, ON, N0M 2N0.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jordy Speake,
Ontario West Coast Landowners Association