Former Canadian Tire Building

I regret to inform all residents that Smart Centres has appealed the development application for the old Canadian Tire site to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). This is unfortunate, but not unexpected. During the Public Planning meeting, I had stated that in the best interest of the Town and with a goal towards ensuring positive growth, we should continue moving forward and working with the applicant to achieve the best outcome for the town. However, now that the appeal has been filed, an unelected and unaccountable provincial body will make the decision for us; we will not be able to work with the applicant in the same positive manner.

As I said at the table, while there is still work to be done on this application to address residents’ and Council’s concerns, I believed that we should have continued forward through the process ; proceeding to a General Committee while continuing to work with the applicant to resolve any issues that our residents and Council have. By following this process we could have advocated for more retail space, more greenspace, and possibly more parking. But now, we will get whatever the Tribunal thinks is best for Aurora.

As I said previously, in my opinion, sending this application back to yet another Public Planning meeting, opened our Town up to the likely possibility of the Applicant taking us to the Board and having an unelected, unaccountable body decide the fate of our community. And, unfortunately, that is exactly what has occurred.

Resident’s know, that I have been a fierce advocate for the right of our municipality to have the authority to uphold our Official Plan;  I have fought hard to ensure that our voices are heard by the province so that we have a say in land use planning decisions in our community.  That is why I felt that this application was a prime opportunity to demonstrate to the Province that when presented with an application for much needed housing, including rentals, with appropriate intensification that is in line with our Official Plan, our vision for our community, that we would make the responsible decision to uphold that vision.  That we would use the decision making power available to us to ensure a better outcome for our Town and mitigate the potential of ending up at the OLT.

Unfortunately, Council in the majority did not agree (5-2, Councillor Kim and I the only two voting to move this forward to GC) and now, the worst has happened, and this matter is now out of our hands. More updates will follow….

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