A commendable attempt by Ward 7 councillor, Christina Bisanz, to get a debate going in Council on the “Glenway Lessons Learned” report may fail to do it justice as the discussion comes at the tail end of a packed agenda.
Glenn Pothier’s lessons learned report with a brief accompanying staff commentary has been relegated to agenda item 25 with “Outstanding Matters” bringing up the rear at item 26.
The report captures comments made at the Lessons Learned meeting on 23 June but makes no attempt to synthesise these into a series of recommendations. Pothier says his summary
“reflects all participant input… and makes no judgements about the views shared”.
It follows that the various groups represented at the 23 June meeting will each have learned their own lessons from the Glenway saga. The rapacious developers will know all the weak points in the Town’s defences and its personnel. Senior Newmarket staff, with a lifetime’s skill at kicking difficult issues into the long grass, will be struggling to reconcile opening up the system to more scrutiny without losing their grip on events.
Our ineffectual figurehead of a Mayor, who rashly promised to make reform of the OMB a central plank of his term of office, will be doing his level best to put Glenway behind him and to move on.
Personally, I am interested in the views of our councillors, especially those who were on the Council back in 2008 who voted not to buy the Glenway lands because they swallowed the line that the Town “is not in the golf course business”. That decision was taken in a closed session meeting lasting 35 minutes after councillors had heard a verbal report from the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bob Shelton. The public – and the OMB - didn’t know about this until eight weeks ago when the Town was forced to open the files.
What lessons have Tony Van Bynen, John Taylor and Joe Sponga learned from Glenway and the way it was handled? And what about Tom Vegh and Dave Kerwin who were also Newmarket councillors back in 2008?
Do they agree with former councillor Chris Emanuel that too much is kept secret and this should change?
If so, how do they propose to do this?
Were they shocked when they learned that the Town’s planning staff had decided to boycott the Glenway OMB Hearing? If not, why not?
By calling for a debate on the Information Report on the Glenway lessons learned meeting, Christina Bisanz has done us all a favour. She has given us the opportunity to hear the views of councillors who, up until now, have chosen to remain silent.
You can see the chronology of my Glenway blogs here.