Firstly, I want to congratulate the five members of council who voted in favour of removing the Rainbow Street properties from the EDPA. Having sat through every meeting and town hall on the EDPA, this was the only possible conclusion to the saga, based on the wording of the bylaw and the fact that the applicants met its criteria for removal.
I also want to correct some misinformation made both in your paper and by Coun. Brownoff, about statements made at council by the public, specifically, myself.
When addressing council I expressed concern that they had been doing policy development on the fly. To be clear, this was in respect, not of the EDPA, but of the matter of policy issues on tree protection. That is because at the previous council meeting dealing with this matter, a majority had chosen, with no apparent statutory or legal support, to move a motion stating they would only consider removal of the properties from the EDPA if the owners would, in some unstated, unclear way, provide guarantees around protection of the Garry oaks, beyond that provided in the current tree bylaw. I pointed out that if there are issues with the tree bylaw, they should deal with that on a global basis, in a thorough and publicly debated review, not by trying to develop policy on the fly in respect of one property.
Clearly a majority of councillors agreed with me and others who made the same point. In moving the motion to remove the properties with no restriction, Coun. Plant noted that they probably had no authority to restrict the owners in this way, and that the owners had met the conditions for removal under the bylaw. The other four echoed those remarks in various ways.
I trust that this does, in fact, mean that any owner who meets the conditions in section 14 of the bylaw will be removed from the EDPA. The bylaw, according to councillors at the meeting, was meant to be far less difficult to navigate than it has turned out to be. Here’s hoping.