VICTORY FOR LOCAL DEMOCRACY THREATENED

Stratford won the OMB decision. Official Plan Amendment 10 is official. OMB forced Stratford to pay legal fees incurred protecting our Official Plan. Walmart is Again Disrespecting the spirit and intent of our Official Plan by taking advantage of zoning loophole and building in East area of Strtaford.

READ AND CONTRIBUTE TO 'If You Love Stratford' FOR INFORMATION, NEWS, VIEWS AND IDEAS

*PROTECTING OUR SPECIAL DOWN TOWN AND HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY*

*LOCAL ECONOMY VERSUS CORPORATE LOOTING*

*SHINING A LIGHT ON WHAT MAKES STRATFORD SPECIAL*

*CONTROLLING SPRAWL*

*QUALITY OF LIFE*


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beacon Article on Latest Walmart Threat to the Character of Our Unique City

Please note that councilor Frank Mark was the only one not to support the interim control by-law that would help protect Stratford.

Wal-Mart intentions stun city council
Local News
Have sights set on Gary Stockie property on Ontario Street
By Donal O'Connor

Wal-Mart, it appears, has not given up on its idea of locating a department store in Stratford's east end commercial area.

In a startling revelation to city council last night, planning consultant Warren Sorensen informed council that CRAFT Development Corp. representatives have advised they are working with Wal-Mart and that the retailer "wants them to proceed with plans and building as they have submitted."

The city's planning consultant said that although no large commercial owner has been formally identified for a proposed 89,000 square foot building at Ontario St. and C.H. Meier Blvd., "Wal-Mart Project, Stratford, 892-920 Ontario Street" appears in the title block on landscape drawings submitted as part of a site plan application.
"The impression conveyed is that Wal-Mart is interested in locating on the site," said Sorensen in a written report to council that he presented in person.

"That would constitute a significant departure from the intent of the city policies so recently endorsed by the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board)," Sorensen said.

Following discussions that included a closed-door meeting with city solicitor Jose Matera, council accepted Sorensen's advice to bring in an interim control bylaw to prohibit use of a commercially zoned strip of land along the north side of Ontario Street for a department store.

As well, council accepted advice that a planning study be undertaken that would "at a minimum" examine all the lands along Ontario St. East between Romeo St. and the city limits that are designated commercial or zoned highway commercial.

The control bylaw, that would be in effect for up to a year, would ensure that the planning study can be carried out before any development occurs that would prejudice the results of the study or prejudice the achievement of the city's commercial structure policies, explained Sorensen.

As a story in Saturday's Beacon Herald indicated, the land assembled by CRAFT Development Corp. includes the former Gary Stockie automobile dealership property and a former Taco Bell restaurant.

Responding to a question from Coun. Dave Gaffney, Matera told council the proposed interim control bylaw could be appealed to the OMB by property owners and she expected there might be some appeals.

Lands proposed for inclusion in the study area extend from the east city limits to Romeo St. and are mostly, but not exclusively, on the north side of Ontario St. The proposed study area does not include industrial lands.

In his report Sorensen points out that the prospect of building demolition and redevelopment can increase the potential for developing significant retail facilities within developed areas of the Ontario St. East commercial corridor and there are other locations where that could also occur and "unanticipated retail developments" could come forward.

At 90,000 square feet, compared to the 135,000 square feet Wal-Mart/Avonwood Shopping Centres Ltd. had proposed for an earlier store, the new configuration doesn't reflect "conventional Wal-Mart footprints," Sorensen said.

But he advised the development proposal for the northwest corner of Ontario and C.H. Meier would prejudice the city's ability to achieve its long range commercial plans - plans supported by the OMB in its decision earlier this year.

Only Coun. Frank Mark voted against following the planner's advice.

NEW WALMART THREAT IN EAST END

This latest action by the disrespectful mega sprawl company Walmart ignores the accepted recommendations of Ontario Municipal Board Chairman Colin Hefferon regarding the best commercial structure for Stratford. It also flies against the passion of Stratford's citizens to protect the character of our community. Again our local planning rights are under attack.

I think this quote is very appropriate:"In a time when urban sprawl and suburban big box stores have left our formerly vibrant downtowns struggling to hold on to some vestige of retail business, Stratford stands alone as a beacon of hope. There is no model for a Wal-Mart that could accurately reflect the artistry and creativity that define downtown Stratford and its population. Don't even try to define it.

Living in Windsor, I know what urban sprawl can accomplish. Don't let big box banality ruin this unique example of Canadian urban success!" BPM


NEW PETITION COMING

Please come back when I have a new petition to protect Stratford from mega sprawl in our east end.

Monday, August 2, 2010

IF YOU LOVE STRATFORD: Two Cents Worth

sign the petition to increase garment workers salary at
http://wakeupwalmart.com

Two Cents Worth



Please join Wake Up Walmart and the National Labor Committee in calling on Walmart to support a 35 cent per hour minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh.

Last week we posted on our blog about how Walmart's $8 pairs of jeans were made by Bengali garment workers, mostly young women, who are paid the equivalent of 11.5 cents an hour. This week these workers took to the streets in protest over wages, where at least 25 workers were injured by authorities.

Please join us in calling on Rajan Kamalanathan, Walmart's Vice President of "Ethical" Sourcing, to support protesting workers in Bangladesh in calling for a garment worker minimum wage of 35 cents an hour.

Walmart’s claim that it sources its products in an ethical manner is completely undermined when workers are forced to take to the streets in protest over wages so low they have been called “not only insufficient, but also inhumane” by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

The rumor about Walmart Watching.... is true!



Walmart Will Use Electronic “Smart” Tags to Track Clothing

If you thought there wasn’t already enough to get riled up over when it came to Walmart, here comes news that this big-box retailer will soon be employing “smart” tags to manage their inventory. While this move may simply seem like an obvious technological trade-up, don’t be fooled, these electronic tags are doing a lot more than telling the store what’s on the shelves. Retailers have long employed radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags to track pallets of merchandise as they move from storage to store, but Walmart will be the first implement this technology where consumers roam. While they are removable, RFID tags cannot be turned off, meaning they’ll follow you wherever you go. So what does this technology mean for your privacy? Read ahead to see why this little tag has watchdog groups crying foul.

Walmart, Luxury Labels to Track Clothing With Electronic “Smart” Tags
by Jasmin Malik Chua, 07/26/10

Privacy advocates, prepare to have a field day. Walmart has just announced plans to embed individual garments with scannable electronic ID tags, the first step in a real-time tracking system for controlling inventory and preventing theft, according to the Wall Street Journal. Starting August 1, the big-box retailer will be placing removable radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags on its jeans and underwear, a move that will allow its employees to find out which sizes are missing from the shelves—and what additional items remain in the storeroom—with a wave of a handheld scanner.

YOU’RE BEING WATCHED

Retailers have long employed RFID tags, which act like long-range barcodes that can be scanned from a distance, to track pallets of merchandise moving through their supply chains. Walmart is the first to implement the tags in-store, rather than behind the scenes, but its broad adoption of the costly technology may result in enough of a price drop for other retailers to follow suit.

Although you can rip the radio tags off your new pair of 501s, you can’t turn them off.

Although you can rip the radio tags off your new pair of 501s, you can’t turn them off, a fact that has watchdog groups crying foul—or rather, “Big Brother.” Underhanded marketers or crooks driving by could scan your garbage to identify recent purchases, for one.

Another concern that has privacy experts ruffled up: Sneaky retailers could scan customers who carry RFID-enhanced ID cards (such as drivers’ licenses, which states like Washington and New York have begun issuing) as they browse the store’s wares. Combined with their credit card information, the data could allow retailers to put a number to person and identify them the next time they step into their premises.

Thanks Glenn E. for the reference.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meadowlily Woods

Stratford's victory against big sprawl is providing hope for many other communities struggling to maintain their individuality and character and the integrity of their neighborhoods. Best of luck to those fighting to protect Meadowlily Woods in London from big box asphalt, noise, traffic, cheap goods, and destruction of the community they know and love.

'Quote This' Beacon Herald Thursday June 24, 2010:
"I'm very aware that it's a wonderful precedent for a lot of communities trying to be more progressive and forward thinking in terms of their planning." Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick

STRATFORD BLUE SKIES AND GULF OF MEXICO DISASTER BLUES

Living in this wonderful city with such richness of opportunities and high quality of life, it is almost possible to ignore the disaster unfolding - or rather overwhelming - the Gulf of Mexico.
The constant spewing of Earth's deep blood in this deep water gaping wound sits heavy in my heart and I can feel the terror of the birds and beasts trapped in the poisonous nightmare. How many thousands of deep well cuts are there? This constant blood letting can't be good for the health of the planet.

We had an earthquake yesterday - the epi-centre in Quebec radiating to Toronto and area. It has always been a concern of mine - and seems a logical fear - with all the drilling and mining, all the excavation of deep water, oil, gas and the many mines digging out countless tons of coal, shale, gold, minerals... when will the thin crust that we live on begin to become unstable?

But here in Stratford we have had a great victory in local planning rights. The time for Avonwood / Walmart to appeal has expired and so OPA 10 is now the law.

Friday, May 28, 2010

STOP SPRAWL AND SAVE THE OCEANS



With the horror unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico - we all need to envision a healthier sustainable future. Time is crucial. Sprawl in our cities is the result of an oil dependent addiction.
Startford inherited an intact downtown from visionaries of the past. It is our responsibility to hold on to this important asset and past it on to the future.
We need policies that:
* restrict the size of parking lots on the periphery of our city
*require parking lots to be located away from the street scape - possibly behind the box store
* require the store to plant trees and a green-scape in front of their store
*require Victorian style architecture to fit the character of our city

What other ideas do you have to prevent any more sprawl in Stratford? And Preserve Beauty....


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Envisioning Stratford


From the online environmental magazine www.grist.org there is an article "10 ways to kick the offshore-oil habit".
Number 5 on the list addresses sprawl: 5. Smarter land use Congress could direct (and help fund) local government efforts to update zoning and land-use regulations in ways that encourage compact development compatible with transit service and friendly to walkers and bikers. (Obama's Partnership for Sustainable Communities is already taking steps in this direction.)Read about Smart Growth. The principles of Smart Growth were presented to the OMB chairman by citizen participant Sheila Clarke. Stop sprawl in Stratford and help the planet.

A Huge Thank You To Our Lawyers

Our team of lawyers did a wonderful job protecting Stratford's local democratic planning rights. Lawyers for the City of Stratford: J. Matera, E. Costello and T. Halinski were clear, precise and to the crucial point in their defense of Stratford and OPA 10. For the City Centre Committee: M. Bowman and S. Stein were very effective in defending the future health and well being of Stratford's downtown heart and core.

THANK YOU

View the entire OMB decision by Colin Hefferon on The City of Stratford website:

Selections From OMB Decision: Page 36 and 37


A key element of the City-adopted version of OPA 10 is the concept of “healthy interaction and balance” between and among what Council envisions to be a three-node commercial structure. From east to west, then, the regional-serving commercial structure of Stratford is composed of the existing Ontario Street East Commercial Area, the Downtown Core itself and the West End Commercial Area. Mr. Goldberg and the other experts supporting the Avonwood proposal reject completely the concept of a balanced 3-node commercial structure along an east-west axis. As noted, Avonwood sees a 2-node commercial structure – one part is centered on the current Ontario Street East Commercial Area and the second on the Downtown Core. ...


Again, the evidence from the parties represents two diametrically opposed visions of appropriate land use planning policy. The Goldberg Version of OPA 10 reacts to what may be termed the imperative of the marketplace. Confirming the land use planning opinions of Messrs. Clarkson and Goldberg, Avonwood’s retail market expert witness, Mr. Parsons, told the Board that the Ontario Street East Commercial Area exists primarily because it’s where the market determined it should be. ...


The Board was told that the City-adopted OPA 10, on the other hand, takes a pro-active approach to development applications. It directs development (most especially commercial retail) to where Council has determined it will best serve the

public interest, which is consistent with the policy-led approach to land use planning advocated by the PPS (Part 1, Preamble). The City’s expert witnesses contend that the Ontario Street East Commercial Area has succeeded as a shopping area because shopping centres and large format stores were permitted to develop there during the

past few decades, which has been an era of unprecedented growth in disposable income and automobile ownership. ...


After consideration of all the evidence, I find that the City-adopted OPA 10 will protect the planned function of the Downtown Core by limiting the amount of lands designated to commercial retail development in the Ontario Street East Commercial Area to what currently exists. This has been Council’s policy for decades. The Board was told that the result of this policy direction has been the preservation of downtown Stratford, one of the few smaller city centres that have managed to survive the changes in contemporary shopping practices including the introduction in the past 10 years of “power centres” composed of multiple large format retail stores.

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 35 and 36


I find that the language of the Goldberg Version of OPA 10 provides little direction as to Council’s intent vis-à-vis the planned function of the Downtown Core than does the City-adopted version of OPA 10. Adherence to policies that protect the planned function of the Downtown Core is essential to the long-term prosperity of the City and therefore worthy of whatever protection or assistance can reasonably be afforded (as required by PPS policies 1.7.1.b and 1.7.1.f). In my view, and in the view of the vast majority of the participants and lay witnesses who testified before this Board,

anything that risks the health of the Shakespeare Festival – including threats to the City’s image as “the Festival City” – must therefore be avoided. After consideration of the information made available to it and clearly mindful of the local insights of its constituent members, Council has determined that a large format department store use on the Avonwood lands poses considerable risk to the planned function of the Downtown Core and thus considerable risk to the Festival itself and has endorsed policies that protect the planned function of the Downtown Core. I find on the evidence that this City policy represents good planning.

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 34


Mr. Butler also testified that it is a key principle of land use planning in Ontario that industrial lands should only be allowed to be removed from a municipal inventory under what the 1993 Official Plan describes as “substantive or extenuating” circumstances. ... Mr. Butler testified that preserving industrial land for future industrial uses makes a far greater

contribution to the overall long term well-being of a community than does Mr. Clarkson’s approach, which in Mr. Butler’s opinion, only offers reduced potential for land use conflict with existing residential. ...

After consideration of the evidence and the submissions of Council, I find that the Goldberg Version of OPA 10 does not further the intent of the 1993 Official Plan and is not consistent with the policies of the PPS. I find, on the other hand, that the Sorensen version of OPA 10 furthers the intent of the 1993 Official Plan and is consistent with the provisions of the PPS specifying a “policy-led” approach to planning.

Colin Hefferon

Selections From OMB Decision: Page 33 and 34

Second: the City-adopted version of OPA 10 recommends a policy-led approach to commercial retail planning. It would, for example, direct new large format retail to the West End Commercial Area. The Goldberg Version of OPA 10, on the other hand, suggests a market-centred or application-driven approach to planning for future retail commercial development in the City. ...

The land use planning witness retained by the CCC, Mr. Butler, expressed deep concern with Mr. Goldberg’s recommended cautious, application-driven approach as it would apply to the Ontario Street East Commercial Area and particularly to the Avonwood lands. He contended that if the Goldberg version of OPA 10 were approved, there would be no effective means of controlling the loss of the several remaining smaller parcels of industrial land on the Avonwood site within the City limits to commercial uses and of discouraging speculation in the Industrial Area (including the F.A.G. and Samsonite plants) along the south side of Ontario Street east of Romeo Street. ...

With respect to the second key concern, the Board finds Mr. Butler’s evidence more persuasive than that of either Mr. Clarkson or Mr. Dragicevic. In Mr. Butler’s opinion, industrial-type jobs create wealth in a community, whereas retail jobs are only

created where wealth already exists. In my view, this takes on added significance when considered in light of Stratford’s motto, “industry and arts”. This view was also put forward in evidence by one of the participants, Ms L. Walker-Fitzpatrick.

Colin Hefferon



Selections From OMB Decision: Page 32

The Goldberg Version of OPA 10 differed significantly in several key areas from the Sorensen version. For example, the Goldberg Version of OPA 10 promotes two rather than three nodes of commercial retail development along Highways 7 & 8 – the Downtown Core and the Ontario Street East Commercial Area. It also does not prohibit commercial development of the Avonwood lands but rather recommends a “cautious” approach to the re-designation of all non-commercial lands in all of Stratford.

In addition to its submission that the data on which the Sorensen-version of OPA 10 is based were flawed (see Objection 1 above), Avonwood took issue with the inclusion of what it described as ‘emotive” words in the Sorensen version. In particular, the use of the term “eroded” in section 6.2 was cited, viz, “the relative prominence of the Downtown Core has been eroded over recent years.” Avonwood further alleges that the words “relative decline” in section 6.2, Goals and Objectives (ii): “…to reverse the relative decline in the retail sector (of the Downtown Core)…” were used to stir up strong reactions in the reader. Avonwood suggested that Mr. Goldberg’s use of “less emotional” words in his version of OPA 10 is “more helpful” to an applicant attempting to determine Council’s thinking regarding land use in certain areas of Stratford. Mr. Sorensen disagreed with this assessment, confirming to the Board in cross-examination that the words he used exactly describe the conditions he saw. After consideration of all the evidence on this question, I find that the words chosen by Mr. Sorensen in his recommended version of OPA 10 are appropriate. I therefore reject the submission of counsel for Avonwood in this regard.

Colin Hefferon

Selections From OMB Decision: Page 30 and 31


The Board was told by many witnesses – both the expert and lay witnesses – that Wal-Mart Canada Corp.is not an ordinary retailer. It is one that has an immediate impact on any market area it enters. It was the evidence of both the City’s expert witnesses and Mr. Butler, a qualified land use planner testifying on behalf of the CCC, that if a Walmart store were permitted to locate on the Avonwood lands, other large format retail stores would insist on locating nearby. Mr. Butler told me that in these circumstances it would be difficult, if not impossible, to stop them. Testifying in support of the Avonwood proposal, Mr. Parsons did not attempt to dispute this judgement, stating merely that in his opinion, the West End Commercial Area was not an appropriate location for regional-serving, large format retail stores (such as a Walmart store).

After considering all the evidence, I find that Avonwood’s attempt to persuade the Board that the locational preferences of any developer or retailer – even a major developer like Avonwood or a major retailer like Wal-Mart Canada Corp. – should take precedence over the City’s planning policies is inconsistent with the policy-led planning approach instituted by the Province and endorsed by Council in both the 1993 Official Plan and OPA 10.

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 28, 29 and 30

Mr. Annand expressed his professional opinion that an Ontario Street East commercial Area location has greater potential for the recapture of the household shopping dollars that he indicated are currently leaving Stratford for centres like Kitchener-Waterloo and Woodstock, than would a West End Commercial Area location (Exhibit 53, page 27, conclusion vi). Mr. Annand told the Board that his research shows that people generally prefer to do all the weekly family shopping in one location if at all possible. The Kitchener-Waterloo area’s Sunrise Centre on Highways 7 & 8, with its new large format Walmart store, was used as an example of such an attractive one-stop shopping destination. The Avonwood lands represent, he testified, an opportunity for the Ontario Street East Commercial Area to develop into a shopping destination in the order of the Sunrise Centre.

Although much was made by Mr. Annand and Avonwood’s land use planning witnesses (Messrs. Clarkson and Goldberg) on the benefits of an east end over a west end location with respect to recapturing retail dollar outflow, beyond some travel time estimates (Exhibit 152) prepared by Mr. Clarkson that in the end only succeeded in showing that no place in Stratford is less than 10 minutes drive from anyplace else, no data were presented to me that would justify Avonwood’s contention. The Board was told by Avonwood’s witnesses that regardless of travel distances, the main point is that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which Avonwood suggested is the world’s most successful retailer, is the best arbiter of what is a suitable location for one of its stores. And, for its proposed Stratford store, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. has selected Avonwood’s east end site. As noted above, no one from Wal-Mart Canada Corp. was called as a witness and as a consequence this evidence was not tested by cross-examination.


The City and Avonwood’s planning witnesses differed in their view of the land use implications of an east end versus a west end location. Avonwood’s land use planner – Mr. Clarkson, whose views were supported by Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Parsons –stated that it is “bad land use planning” to try to force a retailer to go where it does not want to go and where the community is not prepared for it to go. Mr. Sorensen contended that the West End Commercial Area has been planned for space extensive and large format retail uses since at least 1993 with the adoption of the City’s 1993 Official Plan, then re-confirmed with the adoption of OPA 10, and that this is good planning in the context of the City. ... With respect to the recapture of shopping dollars now spent outside Stratford by City residents: Messrs. Annand and Parsons were of the opinion that an Ontario Street East Commercial Area location is preferable to a location in the West End Commercial Area for the recapture of outflow dollars. However, no evidence was presented by Avonwood to support the testimony of Mr. Annand and Mr. Parsons. The City’s witness, Mr. Dee, on the other hand said that the east end and west end locations would be equally effective in recapturing outflow dollars. After considering the testimony of all the witnesses on this question, I preferred the opinion of the City’s witness since I was not given any hard evidence that showed any difference in the capability of either the west end or the east end to recapture outflow dollars.

Colin Hefferon

Selections From OMB Decision: Page 26, 27 and 28

Avonwood’s first objection to OPA 10 is that market data on which OPA 10 is based are flawed. Avonwood submitted that since the major retail policy initiatives of OPA 10 flow directly from (the recommendations of) the CNS 2002 and it is flawed, OPA 10 is itself flawed and should not be approved by the Board. ...


Counsel for the City did not agree that the CNS 2002 was in any way flawed and pointed out the lengthy process by which it was reviewed before being adopted by Council. They also pointed out that Council waited almost five years before adopting OPA 10.During that period, updated data about retail store vacancies in the Downtown Core and information about commercial retail in the City as a whole came available and were used to measure the validity and applicability of the data collected in 2000 for the CNS 2002. I was also told that during this period both the overall thrust as well as the specific policies of the Sorensen-prepared version of OPA 10 were subjected to rigorous analysis and close examination, and were found to be fundamentally sound. ...


I find on the evidence then that the City-adopted OPA 10 is not “flawed” as submitted by Avonwood.

Colin Hefferon




Selections From OMB Decision: Page 23

In my view, the City-Adopted OPA 10 clarifies the City’s intent to protect the planned function of the Downtown Core. After reviewing the policies of the 1993 Official Plan in light of the City-adopted OPA 10, the evidence of all the witnesses, and the submissions of counsel, I find that a large format department store on the subject lands threatens the planned function of the Downtown Core and that it does not represent good planning.

Colin Hefferon

Selections From OMB Decision: Page 19 and 20

The term ‘discourage” as used in sections 6.2, 6.4.2, 6.5 and 15.1.11 of the 1993 Official Plan expresses Council’s policy that large format retail development should not take place on lands designated for industrial uses. I am of the view that this policy, which antedates the earliest of the Avonwood applications, represents good planning. ...


Testifying in support of the Avonwood applications, both Mr. Annand and Mr. Goldberg told the Board that the term, “discourage” allows an action to continue along the selected path but denotes caution. Mr. Stein, counsel for the CCC, argued to the contrary. He submitted that the word “discourage” denotes “prohibition”. ...


In my view, the proposed new phraseology makes unmistakably clear what “discourage” in the 1993 Official Plan was not only intended to mean, but in fact does mean. As noted above, I find the phrase used to be a linguistic progression or evolution and a clarification of the City’s intent as expressed in the 1993 Official Plan. I accept the submission of counsel for the CCC that the new phraseology does not change the City’s policies contained in the 1993 Official Plan but does clarifies them.

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 19

Having regard to all the evidence and the provisions of the 1993 Official Plan including section 6.5, I adopt the evidence of the City and CCC planning witnesses on this point that the introduction of the retail uses proposed by Avonwood into the designated industrial area would reduce the potential attractiveness of the Romeo Industrial Park for future industrial users and would lead to other applications being made for the conversion of nearby lands within the Industrial Area to retail commercial uses. Accordingly, I find that the planned function of the Industrial Area is likely to be adversely affected if Avonwood’s applications are allowed.

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 17


After consideration of all the evidence, I find that the Avonwood proposal poses a threat to sustainable tourism in Stratford, in large part because of the demonstrated fragility of the specialty retail and high end restaurant businesses in the Downtown Core, and is therefore not consistent with PPS policy 1.7.1 (g). I am of the view that sustainable tourism development in the City would be at serious risk of being eroded if the Avonwood proposal were to be accepted. (PPS is Provincial Policy Statement)

Colin Hefferon


Selections From OMB Decision: Page 9 of 39 page Document



Testimony of the Participants
Several important points were made by the participants in their evidence.They are all, with the exception of Mr. L. Ryan, residents of Stratford.Mr. Ryan stated his support of the Avonwood appeals.The others spoke in opposition to the Avonwood appeals.Residents of the City in opposition to the Avonwood appeals expressed their view that the success of the Shakespearean Festival and the Downtown Core are inextricably linked – “as goes the one, so goes the other” as one witness put it. According to this group, locating a large format retail store, such as a Walmart store, in the West End Commercial Area (rather than on the Avonwood lands in the east end Industrial Area of the City) would help achieve the planned objective of City Council for what the City’s expert witnesses described as a three-node retail structure balanced along an east/west axis. This structure would, they contended, have the least impact on the economic health of the Downtown Core. All members of this group agreed that the protection of the Downtown Core is a priority. They perceived that another large format retail store located near the existing retailers in the Ontario Street East Commercial Area would be a threat to the Downtown Core.They also testified that since the City’s motto connotes the dual pillars on which Stratford is built – industry and the arts - the removal of any land from the industrial inventory for use as a commercial retail shopping centre would be contrary to the City’s mission and a threat to its attractiveness as a centre for clean industry, which could result in a loss of well-paid industrial jobs.
C. Hefferon

A Sincere Thank You


A sincere thank you to Mr. Colin Hefferon for his wise and considered decision. The photo here is a view from the OMB offices in Toronto. Note the small building under the shadow of the skyscrapers. The geography of Stratford is so very different. With Mr. Hefferon's intelligent opinion, Stratford will be able to better protect what makes this small city of diverse economic activities - Industry, Arts and Culture, Agriculture - remain strong and unique.

Yes to Petition and Opinion

Stratford does not need a Walmart Store.
submitted by H.D.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yes to Petition and Opinion

I cannot comment on this question, (what would a 'store of the community' look like?) because I do not wish to see a Walmart store in Stratford in any shape or form.
Donna D.

Yes to Petition and an Artist's Opinion

What should this "Store of the Community" look like?:

It should not be a \"Big Box\". The architecture should reflect that of the
uptown core. There should be trees and a park area.
Eric Sansom

Yes: Protect Stratford & 'Store of Community' Ideas


Building should have a stone or Victorian style facing as a minimum.
Perhaps entrance should be grand and reflect a theatre entrance, bright
lights, marque, red carpet.
submitted by Debra Ann March

Yes: Protect Stratford & 'Store' ideas

It will be a small store (small by WalMart standards). Parking will be behind it, so that what adjoins the street is a friendly, human-size building, not a few acres of asphalt and cars. But it would be good to have a strip of open space and greenery between the building and the street. Even if the store is on the outskirts of town, town may in due course reach it and then a pedestrian-friendly place will be an asset. Moreover, a store like that would set a pattern for subsequent development to follow. (We\'re dreaming, right? In any case, if the townspeople have some say in how development takes place, this can be part of what we demand.)

If the store could be nearer to the centre of town than has been discussed, that would -- if it were the kind of place I am visualizing -- be a benefit and would avoid sprawl.

The store will sell a fair amount of Canadian-made merchandise, not only things made in China and such places, and it will showcase this Canadian merchandise.

Its manager will have Stratford\'s interests at heart at least as much as those of the corporation\'s head office.

But I still oppose the prospect of having a foreign-owned store, with its proceeds going across the border, becoming such a big player in a community which has comparatively few big retail and hotel chains doing business in it. Nothing that I can realistically visualize would be an asset to our community as it now is and as we hope to see it become.

I\'ll go away and dream, and send in more suggestions later.
submitted by M.B.

Yes to Defending Against Any Appeal

Congratulations to Stratford on having the foresight and fortitude to engage in, and win, this battle.

Stratford is one of the most unique and creative cities in Canada, blessed with a rich artistic heritage, steeped in culture and tradition, and boasting a downtown that can be held up as a shining example of what 21st century cities across North America are striving to create. In a time when urban sprawl and suburban big box stores have left our formerly vibrant downtowns struggling to hold on to some vestige of retail business, Stratford stands alone as a beacon of hope.
There is no model for a Wal-Mart that could accurately reflect the artistry and creativity that define downtown Stratford and its population. Don't even try to define it.
Living in Windsor, I know what urban sprawl can accomplish. Don't let big box banality ruin this unique example of Canadian urban success!
Barbara Pierce Marshall

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comments from Mayor in the Beacon Herald

Mayor Dan Mathieson said he was "very pleased" with the outcome.
"I think it speaks volumes to the many years of hard work and to the sound planning of city staff, our lawyers and our experts through public consultations. And I think it speaks well of Stratford's future development."
Mathieson said he felt it was significant for the decision that the city did not rush through the OPA 10 policy adopted by council and that the city went through a public consultation process and had professional studies done to come to "a very sound decision."
***
The cost to the municipality in defending its planning policies before the OMB is about $800,000, but Mathieson said the city can ask for its costs to be reimbursed by Avonwood if, after a review of the board's decision, there is justifiable merit in law or precedent.
"I'm very proud of not only our staff but our legal team and their experts. They represent some of the best minds in planning, commercial needs and transportation development," he said. "They gave good, solid advice that will put the city on strong footing for future development."
Mathieson said if the developer and Wal-Mart decide to appeal the decision they will first have to seek leave to appeal before the Ontario Divisional Court and will have to convince the judge there was a significant error made at the OMB hearing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OMB APPEAL PROCESS

There are two potential appeal routes from any decision of the OMB.

1. Request to review under s. 43 * of the OMB Act: It must be filed within 30 days, absent special circumstances.

2. Appeal to the Divisional Court, with leave of the Court, on a question of law (i.e. pure legal issue). The motion must be served within 15 days of the decision.

Needless to say, whether either route is viable in any particular case depends on the circumstances and the decision itself.

Stratford's official flower is the iris. With this OMB decision, Stratford can now begin to bloom and fulfill her potential as a visionary centre.

THE EXPENSE AND EFFORT THAT AVONWOOD AND WAL-MART CAUSED THE CITY OF STRATFORD IN DEFENDING LOCAL DEMOCRACY SHOULD BE RECOMPENSED BY THIS DEVELOPER AND CORPORATION.

An idea: Avonwood could turn the land in the east into community garden plots. This would support the strong local and healthy food initiatives gaining strength in Stratford and Perth County.

A Victory for Community





The decision of Mr. Colin Hefferon of the OMB is the right decision for Stratford. It is a victory for local democracy and for the rights of a community to determine it's own commercial structure instead of having this structure imposed upon it by distant corporations.

It is a victory for community, for quality of life and for the vitality of the heart and core of our city.

It is a victory against helplessness in the face of big box sprawl. It is a victory for Mother Earth. Maybe the tide is turning. One more meadow still brimming with life, a healthy part of the water cycle not an asphalt nightmare.

WE WON! WE WON! WE WON!

This time, it was a hall of justice. The OMB supported a city official plan instead of giving power to big sprawl developers.

"After weighing all the facts and the arguments of opposing counsel, I find that the

Avonwood do not conform either to the planning policies set out in the 1993 Official Plan

or with the progression or evolution of these policies in OPA 10 and that these policies

represent good planning. Furthermore, it is my view that Avonwood’s proposals are

neither in the public interest nor represent good planning.

The Board therefore dismisses Avonwood’s appeals against the decision of City

Council refusing its applications for amendments to the 1993 Official Plan and to Zoning

By-law 201-2000. The Board also dismisses the Avonwood appeal (other than the part

of the Tanurb appeal referred to below) against the decision of Council to adopt OPA

10, and approves OPA 10 as modified in accordance with the 2008 and 2009

modifications as shown in Exhibit 183 (Attachment “1”)."


Colin Hefferon

Excerpt from OMB decision

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sleepless in Stratford

After all the time, effort, letters, speeches, articles, public meetings, money, lawyers, arguments... and from a strong green growing grass roots, passionate citizenry.... it comes down to the decision of one man at the OMB.

I know I will have a sleepless night awaiting the fate of the city of Stratford.

Local control? or big box developers corporate control.

OMB DECISION WILL BE ANNOUNCED Tuesday, MAY 18th

I just received an email telling me that the OMB decision about Stratford's OPA 10 versus Avonwood will be sent tomorrow. Watch the Blog .... FINGERS CROSSED!

DRILLS AND SPILLS

Deep water DRILLS AND SPILLS ... Oil gushes in the Gulf ... Feeling so helpless as devastation hits sea and shore, birds and beasts. Oily greed is the cause as our planet is under assault.

ACT LOCALLY. Stop sprawl in Stratford. Fulfill our potential as a VISIONARY CENTRE. What is valuable in life? Life itself. Quality of life. We can't wait any longer.

TAX UGLY

Money talks so lets make it speak for us.

Tax ugly sprawling environmentally damaging asphalt big box parking lots.





Remove the parking meters in the heart of our community.

Visionary policy to protect Stratford from overwhelming sprawl.

SHINING ANOTHER LIGHT ON OUR SYMPHONY

SOLD OUT! The last concert; "Mostly Mozart" was sold out. Get your tickets ahead of time for the next two concerts of this season: "Summer 'Idyll' Time", June 12th and "Sunset" July 10th both at City Hall.
The next season - the sixth was announced last week at Factory 163 by Music Director, Jerome David Summers:

and Executive Director; John David Sterne:










And next Friday, May the 13th, 2011 "Last Night At The Proms" actor Richard Fitzpatrick will recite poetry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Views From Toronto OMB Window

Clear decisions about land use and a very different way of life from offices with a high rise sprawl view? Stratford has inherited a gentler more human way of life. None of the people involved with the OMB hearings and decision, except the citizen participants, live in Stratford. We must hold on to our local rights.

We know and understand our own community.

Yes to Petition - Great Ideas

*Green roof plus windmill or solar to take advantage of Feed in Tariff program
* Solar hot water for stores need.
*Preferred parking for energy efficient vehicles.
*Free community space for performances, clubs, community groups - Zehrs does this.
*Analysis of buildings in Stratford for unique local architecture - features incorporated into design.
Robert Howard

Friday, April 30, 2010

BEAUTY IS PROGRESS



SPRAWL IS NOT PROGRESS - it is out of date and detrimental to quality of life. Let's truly protect what we have in Stratford - charm and a special urban environment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

JANE'S WALK

Jane Jacobs was an urban visionary. She was the author of 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities'. Jane's Walk began in 2007 to celebrate Jane Jacobs and her work. Hundreds of cities in Canada and around the world now conduct Jane's Walks to promote livable cities and neighborhoods - mainly on May 1st and 2nd to coincide with her birthdate. Perhaps in the future Stratford will join this growing list of communities involved with 'Jane's Walk'. Stratford has been able to hold on to many of the characteristics of an intact healthy urban environment but is in danger of increasing sprawl. Here is the link to the Jane's Walk website: http://janeswalk.net

Legendary urban thinker, writer and activist Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists.
A firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighbourhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work and play with words like these:
“No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at … suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk.” _-Downtown is for People, 1957.
Jacobs’ wrote incisively and beautifully on the importance of dense and vibrant city-scapes, famously uncovering the ‘sidewalk ballet’, that intricate dance between neighbours and passers-by that make a street enjoyable and friendly.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yes to Petition - Store of the Community Ideas

Avonwood developers claim that Walmart hopes to create a Store of the Community and that in doing so, a building would be designed to reflect customers, neighbours and the community on the whole. If this were the case, what should this "Store of the Commu: It will be a small store (small by WalMart standards). Parking will be behind it, so that what adjoins the street is a friendly, human-size building, not a few acres of asphalt and cars. But it would be good to have a strip of open space and greenery between the building and the street. Even if the store is on the outskirts of town, town may in due course reach it and then a pedestrian-friendly place will be an asset. Moreover, a store like that would set a pattern for subsequent development to follow. (We\'re dreaming, right? In any case, if the townspeople have some say in how development takes place, this can be part of what we demand.)

If the store could be nearer to the centre of town than has been discussed, that would -- if it were the kind of place I an visualizing -- be a benefit and would avoid sprawl.

The store will sell a fair amount of Canadian-made merchandise, not only things made in China and such places, and it will showcase this Canadian merchandise.

Its manager will have Stratford\'s interests at heart at least as much as those of the corporation\'s head office.

But I still oppose the prospect of having a foreign-owned store, with its proceeds going across the border, becoming such a big player in a community which has comparatively few big retail and hotel chains doing business in it. Nothing that I can realistically visualize would be an asset to our community as it now is and as we hope to see it become.

submitted by M.B.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yes to Petition - Wal-mart is NOT cheaper

'I am a Stratford citizen who feels that WalMart is nothing but a bully and the money they spend extending action after action until those who do not want them in their community have run out of money, is but a drop in the bucket to them.
There are WalMart stores within a half-hour drive and I know, from human nature, that once they get a foothold in Stratford, people will still want to have a trip out of town just to see what else there is to see but, in the meantime, Stratford's stores will have been decimated. Why can't people see that WalMart is NOT any cheaper for food, etc. as I'm told by my son , who lives in London, that groceries are more expensive when he shops there.'
I wish more people would speak up. What is that quotation, "The only way for evil to prevail is for good men/women do nothing"
submitted by Shirley Davis

SHINING A LIGHT ON PERTH ARTS CONNECT

Perth Arts Connect is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization whose mission is to encourage, promote and support arts, culture and heritage, to enrich and enliven Perth County communities and to ensure that creativity and imagination remain a vital part of our social and economic life.
Are you interested in the arts, culture and heritage of Perth County? perthartsconnect.ca

Friday, April 16, 2010

PERTH COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Front page article by Brian Shypula in The Beacon Herald on Friday, April 16th titled "Agri-food, small business lead potential growth sectors". This article shines a light on the importance of controlling big sprawl for our future economic health - and creating a local healthy economy.
"Value-added agriculture and agri-food and small business hold the most potential for local economic development." according to Peter Blais of Miller Dickinson Blais from the recent economic report for Perth County. He also stated; " Perth County has tremendous opportunities for economic growth, they have a diversified economy and one of the things we emphasize is to carry on with that diversity."
A healthy local economy does not mean huge sprawl with chain stores that suck the money out of our county and send it straight to head offices often not even in Canada.
'Strong downtown vital to community' continues the article on page three and concludes with this crucial statement: "Protecting small town atmosphere against big-box mentalities, maintaining and encouraging diversity of business and culture, attracting young families, protecting agriculture, cutting red tape in municipal approval processes, environmental awareness and downtown revitalizationn were key points."
The Avonwood development, if it were allowed in the already sprawl heavy east of Stratford, would weaken our local economy.

Yes to Petition - Questioning the Role of the OMB

As a citizen and city councillor, I think the leverage and power given an unelected adjudicator to negate a planning decision made by a duly elected municipal council is an affront to the democratic process.It begs the question, \\\"why have an elected municipal body\\\", when provincial appointees with no connection to the municipality make the final decision. It is a sham to pretend that the debate, discussion and thought that goes into wise municipal planning by elected councillors is a mandated and collective process when it can be overuled by one appointed official.
submitted by Paul F. Nickel

Thursday, April 15, 2010

FOR EARTH WEEK

For Earth Week we can act locally to protect this piece of Earth, our Stratford. Sign the petition to protect the meadowland in the east of Stratford where Avonwood wants to build huge ugly sprawl including small box chain stores that would serve our city better in the empty store fronts down town. Sign the petition and pass it on to your friends and network, as an act to celebrate Earth Week. Imagine community agriculture thriving in that meadow instead of sprawl.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Educational Sources

Want to understand more about the dangers of irresponsible big box? Check out:
WakeUpWalmart.com
sprawl-busters.com
A message from Mr. Al Norman of sprawl-busters:
"I have written about Stratford.
Go to www.sprawl-busters.com, click on "Newsflash" then search by
"Stratford," or for that matter, "Canada" and see all the stories.
Best,
Al Norman"
Another educational resource is: http://walmartwatch.com

James Howard Kunstler Website

Bless Mr. Kunstler for focusing on the problems created by destructive sprawl in our lives and cities. Visit his website for more information about his work and writings.
www.kunstler.com
An interesting section of the website is the 'Eyesore of the Month'. Perhaps we in Stratford should shine a light on our eyesores and sprawl areas?
website submitted by D.L.

SHINING A LIGHT ON LIBRARY LECTURES

I did not know that 2010 is the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF BIODIVERSITY until I attended the Stratford Library and University of Waterloo lecture April 13th given by Naturalist and Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies, Brendan Larson. Humans are having such an intense effect on the natural world with increasing urbanization and development. What will the future be like on our planet with decreasing diversity. Opportunities such as this lecture series is one of the reasons Stratford is special and must be protected.
Sprawl is not natural. Life dependent functions such as facilitating the water cycle and transpiration, the source of all life are not supported, sprawl being so car dependent and downright ugly. Nature not only provides oxygen and water but beauty. How do we begin to again incorporate the values of creativity, beauty and nourishing nature in the development of urban landscapes? Begin we must. Do we continue to create 'disturbed landscapes'? or reach towards more wholesome environments?
Not only biodiversity is under threat by the possibility of huge sprawl in Stratford but also retail diversity is endangered. We can start to make positive changes - here in Stratford - where we have held on to a beautiful downtown, our gift from the past, but we must insure the heart of our city comes with us into the future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes to Petition and The New Earth

Dear Wal-Mart Admistration,
The times of colonization by other countries and mega businesses are
a thing of the past. The New Earth is now ruled by principles of
respect, cooperation and community. Please step up to the plate to
become totally modern and up to speed with the rapidly changing
times. Do not let the world leave you behind. You could make a
formidable contribution by showing the world how to conduct a
business that is totally New Earth.
submitted by T.C.

Yes to Petition - Keep It Local

I really do believe that if people want to shop at Walmart...they can find one nearby.
As for Stratford...let\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s keep it local from now on!
submitted by Jim Reed

Yes To Petition and Community Ideas

Stratford is unique....and Walmart, a "cookie cutter" box store, dropped on the outskirts of towns... as if by aliens...as only aliens could assume that a big box solution fits every community.
Exterior "window dressing" will not make a big box any more a part of the community.
Walmart has not proven to be a Good Corporate Citizen for many of the communities it has moved into. A trail of economic destablization seems to follow it where ever it goes. Not to mention the ugly and useless premises left behind by this retail giant once they decide that it is no longer profitable to remain in their present location in your community.
That being said...if 'They' have to come...the city must do everything it can to strengthen the community aspects of our town.
This should include the removal of parking meters in the core (why fine the customer base for supporting our merchants ?), and remove the buses from what is strangely refered to as 'Market Square'...allow a market in market square...make it a community zone...it seems like a no brainer.
submitted by Luke Sheepers

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yes to the Petition and A Question About the OMB

I also think it is time to review the role and scope of the OMB. It should act as a mediator between municipalities and not overturn local municipal planning. It is absolutely ridiculous for the tax payer to have to hire lawyers to deal with line by line stalling tactics of large corporations with salaried lawyers !!!
submitted by Stephen Chandler

ROLL BACK - OUR RIGHTS

Do we roll over? Roll back our rights? Give up our freedom to determine the commercial structure of our own city?
Stratford is ours to lose. There are those that say "Give up - we'll never be able to stop them. Why spend more money, the OMB hearings already cost the city. The citizens won't accept any more cost."
HOW DO WE VALUE WHAT WE HAVE IN STRATFORD?
How could we get back what we so love about Stratford, our strong and vibrant downtown, with sudden overwhelming sprawl in the east end? We need our downtown strong for the next blossoming growth of our unique city. How do we protect the nature and character of Stratford? The heart of our city is not for sale. There are still things in life more valuable than money.
WHAT PRICE DEMOCRACY? LET'S STAND OUR GROUND.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

SHINING A LIGHT ON 'WALK AND ROLL'

A magical morning in Stratford today, Sunday April 11th, as Lakeshore Drive was closed to all cars from 6 a.m. till noon. This lovely event will happen again for the next two Sunday mornings.

This is quality of life! Another reason to fight to keep Stratford the way so many love her. We all need to say NO TO SPRAWL. Less car domination of our lives.... You could hear bird song instead of motors. And see a steady stream of families enjoying the safety and security of walking, biking, roller blading, pushing strollers without the dominating presence of cars.

One gentleman was walking down the center line of the road, with his dog and singing. A pleasure to see and hear.

One shy little girl was trying out her wings on her new bike - still with her training wheels but with such an open safe practice opportunity she will soon be able to loose the trainers and gain the freedom of her unmotorized wheels.

People out and chatting and walking on a spring morning. After noon - our downtown was alive and vibrant. Many thanks to movingON, Healthy Living Perth, Wendy McNaughton and all those who organized this life affirming community event. See you next Sunday and the Sunday after that too...

SHINING A LIGHT ON OUR SYMPHONY


Saturday night (April 10th) was a stunning evening of music. Our Canadian treasure, Louise Petrie, performed with The Stratford Symphony at Knox Church. Ms. Petrie was in Stratford between engagements at Carnegie Hall In New York - last week and Albert Hall in London, England - the next evening - April 11th! Just one more special night that makes the quality of life in Stratford so rare and precious.

Ms. Petrie is a powerful artist with an eloquent and extremely expressive voice. Vive la langue Francais! Her choice of songs poignantly elucidated the human condition.

Congratulations to Jerome Summers and his orchestra and to John David Sterne and Jamie Klassen for creating such a night.

I knew there was magic in the air from the beginning of the concert. In the first opening swells of moving music I looked up at the majestic windows of Knox Church and saw that there were other beings there enjoying the good vibrations... Against the soft peach light of the growing evening I could see the silhouettes of song birds huddled against the window frames. One bird couple appeared to be especially enjoying the concert as their wings fluttered in the air - love was in the air. Naturally - as the birds and bees....

A CHORUS OF CITIZEN'S VOICES

This blog is for the citizens of Stratford. A forum where we can raise our voices to protect our city from overwhelming sprawl. And a place to shine light on what gives our city such a high quality of life. Be Brave Stratford! With the community standing strong together we can either stop this destructive development or at least hold the corporation to their word of building a 'Store of the Community'. Our community. Send in your ideas of what a store of Stratford specifically would be like - a model for other communities fighting the same issues. If you would like to contribute ideas and writings please get in touch. SIGN THE PETITION and SEND THE BLOG ON! Thanks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If You Love Stratford featured in Stratford Beacon Herald

Decision coming down any day now. Read most recent Beacon Herald article here.

VISIONARY CENTER

Stratford has such potential to become a visionary center, a center of light in this era of over-consumption and environmental decline. We have a high quality of life. What is important? Friends, family, creativity, collaborative opportunities, robust local economy, health, nature... livable communities. Our downtown is still strong and we are working to make it even more vibrant. A gathering place. We have a wealth of artists and skilled people. We are located in a rich agricultural area. We can see positive growth with the coming of The Stratford Institute focused on culture and commerce in the digital era. I am looking forward to a strong Business Ethics component.

We can begin to celebrate and shine light on what makes Stratford special.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

PLEASE SIGN THE ABOVE PETITION TO PROTECT STRATFORD FROM SPRAWL

The Ontario Municipal Board decision regarding the future commercial development of Stratford will be announced soon. Please sign the above petition to protect our community's democratic rights.

The democratic, city council and citizen endorsed version of OPA 10 is needed to protect our local right to guide future growth and development in our city. If there is any doubt at all that the heart and core of our city would be endangered by Avonwood’s plan then it must be rejected. The simple truth? The overwhelming evidence of damage done to communities all over North America by the dominance of unregulated sprawl. This was the ‘elephant’ in the OMB hearings room.

I am proud that our city is taking pro-active measures to lessen the negative effects of sprawl on our crucially important downtown by enacting forward looking and protective commercial policies. In the vision of our city and planners, the downtown is central with a strong commercial area at each end of an east – west axis along Ontario and Huron. This is the idea of a three node commercial structure. It has symmetry and insures the downtown remains the central focus of our city. With all the positive directions possible for Stratford, the image of a great bird with two effective wings comes to mind as we soar into a bright future.

Compare this to Avonwood’s vision for Stratford: which is the commercial dominance of the east end of Stratford. This top heavy concentration involving a rapid, sudden and overwhelming increase of corporate big box and chain stores only in the east end will take over and eventually become the only option for shoppers in Stratford. Avonwood says it is important because Stratford will become a regional centre. Stratford already serves this role very well. Why would we endanger our important role as an international centre by weakening our core? We need our downtown to remain strong for the health of our local economy. The smaller chain stores that Avonwood plans for their development should be re-directed to the empty stores downtown. Canada needs Stratford to remain strong and healthy as a cultural, agricultural and digital media center. Stratford needs to lead the way as a visionary center.

"STORE of the COMMUNITY"

“STORE OF THE COMMUNITY”

In the ‘Stratford Wal-Mart Development Update’ flyer dated May 2005 under ‘The Facts’ you will find this statement:

“Wal-Mart hopes to create a Store of the Community with each location. Merchandise is chosen, people are hired, and buildings are designed to reflect customers, neighbors and the community on the whole.”

Let’s hold them to this statement. Let’s dream and visualize what a Wal-Mart that actually reflected the Community of Stratford would look like! Please add your ideas and comments.

In my opinion, Wal-Mart would first and foremost respect our City Council version of OPA 10 which protects our industrially zoned lands in the east end of the city and re-directs any new commercial developments that can’t be accommodated in the downtown core to the west end of the city where the city plans to grow in the future. This would give Stratford a ‘three node commercial structure’ where the downtown core remains central. Just as in the design of large commercial malls that have 2 large anchors stores at either end where the traffic pattern created benefits the smaller stores in the middle, the downtown would benefit and have some protection.

*Wal-Mart would use the architectural method of using an existing building façade to keep the architectural and historical integrity of Stratford. It would be a modest sized store.

*Wal-Mart would build a modest sized parking lot behind the building and hidden from the main thoroughfare and fill it with many trees and plants.

*Wal-Mart would use the most up to date environmental building methods including solar power.

*Wal-Mart would allow the employees to unionize at a Stratford store.

*Wal-Mart would not sell dangerous products.

*Wal-Mart should reimburse the citizens and City of Stratford for the legal costs incurred in defending Stratford’s Official Plan Amendment 10 at the OMB.

*Wal-Mart should donate some of the land they hold in the east end of the city to create community garden plots.

*Wal-Mart should not sell products from off shore sweat shops.

*Wal-Mart should find local suppliers and pay them a fair price.

WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE?

OMB APPEAL PROCESS

There are two potential appeal routes from any

decision of the OMB.

1. Request to review under s. 43 * of the OMB Act:

It must be filed within 30 days, absent

special circumstances.

2. Appeal to the Divisional Court, with leave of the Court, on a

question of law (i.e. pure legal issue). The motion must be served

within 15 days of the decision.

Needless to say, whether either route is viable in any particular case

depends on the circumstances and the decision itself.

*Contents of a Request A party making a request for review shall file notice of such request with the Chair within 30 days of the date of the Board’s written decision. Such notice shall include:

(a) the requestor’s full name, address, telephone, fax number, and e-mail address (if any);

(b) the full name, address, telephone and fax number and e-mail address (if any) of the requestor’s representative (if any);

(c) the requestor’s or representative’s signature;

(d) the reasons for the request;

(e) the desired result of the review (such as a change or alteration to the decision or a rehearing of the proceeding);

(f) any documents that support the request, including copies of any new evidence that was unavailable at

the hearing;

(g) an affidavit stating the facts relied upon in support of the request;

(h) a statement as to whether the requestor has or will submit an application for leave to appeal or judicial review to the court; and

(i) the prescribed filing fee (cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance).