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There must be an early by-election in Ward 5

Newmarket’s Committee of the Whole is to meet on 25 July 2016 to consider the options for filling Joe Sponga’s vacated Ward 5 seat.

The Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs (as it was) tells Newmarket councillors they have two options. They can (a) opt for a by-election or (b) appoint someone who is eligible to serve on the Council and who is willing to accept the appointment. It goes on:

 The legislation does not set out any other criteria. It is up to the council or board to determine how they will decide who to appoint. Different approaches include:

  • appointing the candidate who came second in the general election
  • inviting interested persons to apply for the position
  • offering the appointment to a member of the community

Given that the next general Council election in Newmarket is over two years away, it seems to me inconceivable that councillors would have the brass neck to appoint someone.

There is also the unresolved matter of Bob Forrest's Clock Tower, a new disfiguring and out-of-place development smack bang in the middle of Ward 5.

This hugely controversial planning application is penciled in for the meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Monday 29 August 2016.

Scandalously, the Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, has already shown his hand saying the seven storey apartment building is just the kind of intensification the historic downtown needs. There must be no procedural chicanery to deliver what Van Bynen wants and Forrest expects.

Any decision on Forrest’s Clock Tower application should now be postponed until a new councillor is elected for Ward 5. And the process for calling the by-election should be expedited.

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