The Town looks set to do a deal with Marianneville Developments and decide the future of Glenway behind closed doors, telling people afterwards what was decided over their heads and on their behalf.
Of all the many ironies associated with the Glenway saga this, perhaps, is the most exquisite.
Marianneville's lawyer, Ira Kagan has made a habit of putting so-called “settlement offers” into the public domain to allow the Town to consult residents before any decision was made. He used this ploy with Slessor Square and again, twice, with Glenway. In the case of the former, the settlement offer was accepted by the Town. The two on Glenway were rejected.
In his concluding statement in the Glenway Hearing, Kagan told the adjudicator, Susan Schiller:
“… the fact that both of these settlement offers were intentionally made public and specifically provided to the GPA is further evidence of just how far Marianneville went to ensure a proper consultative process.”
Kagan is fond of telling us he was breaking with convention in putting the settlement offers into the public domain. He would tell us that, usually, councillors and developers would meet in closed session, do a deal and then tell the public afterwards.
Is this what is happening now? Are Glenway people – and their leaders – being cut right out of things?
Take a look at the video of the Special Council meeting at 5pm on Monday 7 April 2014 when the Mayor asks councillors to ratify the minutes of meetings held in camera. It is painful to watch. Staff are charged to implement decisions of councillors taken in closed session. Advice to them from Ruth Victor and the less-than-impressive Mary Bull is, for the moment, secret.
Of course, at the end of the day the Town has got to make a decision on how best to close the matter and move forward.
But if the Town is abandoning Phase 2 of the OMB Hearing in favour of negotiating a settlement with the developer, why can’t the terms of any settlement with Marianneville be put into the public domain before a final decision is taken?
Glenway people may appreciate such a gesture.
And Kagan, for one, can hardly object.