Former Brantford, Ontario city councillor, Mr. John Starkey gave us a crash course in misguided urban planning. At the recent information meeting on the latest iteration of the Brantford-Brant boundary adjustment proposal he gave an interview to ArcPro HD Inc.
Following are paraphrased highlights of his comments.
The meeting seemed purposeless. Elected officials did not really listen to the concerns from the floor. Officials gave the impression it was a done deal before the vote (the following night), which disrespected the vote. So, this meeting was just a formality to fulfill a legal requirement set forth by the ministry.
1. Initial impact of annexation is the cost—dollars to the County of Brant for loss of land—$22 Million.
But, development is several years away; therefore, the dollars must come from somewhere. Guess where? Yes, you got it—Brantford taxpayers will provide the cash flow through increased taxes.
2. There is also an agreement to allow development on county lands (Cainsville and Airport). The city will provide water and sewage services. The County will pay for these services. They are first in line for these services.
But, no cost recovery is included for demands put on Brantford’s existing sewage and water treatment plants. Again, city taxpayers will be tapped, if necessary, to bolster these facilities.
This sub-agreement happens regardless of annexation—this point is lost on some politicians and staff. The lack of detailed knowledge of the plan on the part of some politicians (and staff) who were about to vote on the proposal is frightening.
3. “I don’t think anyone who has asked questions about the wisdom of this proposal has been heard.”
A rural area person says: “I bought my home because it was in an agricultural zone. I was assured that I had agricultural zoning around my home.” When annexation happens all former agricultural lands becomes urban. All protections for the owner for the quality of life he bought into are gone. The benefits for everyone of farm and food production are gone.
The meeting was resplendent in maps. However, the most important map was missing: The Canadian Land Inventory Map showing gradations of agricultural land. At Class 1 and 2, the north end lands are some of the best agricultural land in Canada!
So, the best agricultural land will become subdivisions and malls. (It’s hypocritical of the city to say there is a hue and cry for more employment lands yet support a proposal that emphasizes residential lands.)
4. Home builders are for this proposal because they need land for business. West Brantford development saw tens of thousands of acres added to Brantford. Did it go to local home builders? No. It went to mega urban sprawl developers. Precious few home builders got an opportunity to get lots to build homes there.
5. Who benefits from the Brantford-Brant boundary adjustment proposal?
- County of Brant looses land and tax revenue
- City of Brantford taxpayers must provide cash flow for deal and servicing of new lands, so taxes go up
- everybody looses prime agricultural land
therefore: No one wins!