Council goes down procedural rabbit hole

“I apologize to my colleagues that we got to this point,” Oliver said. “That wasn’t my intent. I’m disappointed that the mayor feels the way that he does.”

At issue is an ongoing Ontario Municipal Board hearing regarding future land uses on Hastings Drive in Long Point.Norfolk council wants owners of vacant lots on Hastings to have the right to use camping trailers on their property from April through October. A handful of cottage owners on Hastings want the OMB to strike this down, citing the area’s hazard land zoning.

On May 23 of this year, Norfolk council directed county solicitor Peter Tice to work out the best compromise he could with the OMB and the appellants.

That was before council learned that a number of vacant property owners on Hastings have also gained standing at the upcoming hearing. The appellants have also proposed their own resolution for Hastings as a substitute for council’s. In light of this information, Oliver says council needs to recall Tice and give him a new game plan for the January hearing. This is where Luke and Oliver part company.

Norfolk’s procedural bylaw allows council to revisit decisions made within the past calendar year provided council votes two-thirds in favour of doing so. Luke says Oliver’s motion Tuesday required a super-majority to get on the floor. As a notice-of-motion, Oliver’s resolution to redirect Tice wasn’t scheduled to come to the floor until Nov. 21. Instead, council voted by a two-thirds majority to hear it Tuesday. Oliver and a majority of councillors considered this sufficient to proceed. Luke did not and excused himself so he wouldn’t be associated with a potentially problematic procedure.

Oliver’s motion passed in a 4-3 vote. Tice will meet with council in-camera next week to discuss the way forward on Hastings Drive.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Grozelle said after Tuesday’s meeting. “It was weird. But we got through it, which is the important thing.”

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