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Fact not Fiction: Settlement a win for Caledon

A recent article in the Toronto Star made inaccurate claims that the Town of Caledon will explode to 600,000 residents in the next 10 years, and that the Region of Peel has taken control of the planning process in Caledon.  Neither is true.

“A historic decision by Peel Region council could lead to the creation of the GTA’s next boom city, as much of Caledon — long resistant to growth — will now be forced to develop according to provincially mandated guidelines.” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

A similar article in the Caledon Enterprise last week contained similar inaccurate statements.

FACTS: 

Caledon is, and remains, in control of our planning.  The normal process is to work WITH the Region on planning:  Caledon submits plans for the Region’s comment and approval.  Region of Peel senior staff have confirmed – and support – the good planning that Caledon does. 

Caledon’s population growth numbers have not changed.

“Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie stated, ‘Caledon is resisting the growth plan set out by the province.’” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

FACT:  This is False.  Caledon’s planning process follows, and has always followed, provincially-mandated guidelines.  Caledon has completed an open, public and transparent process in consultation with all stakeholders, as mandated by various provincial acts.  It submitted the resulting application for the Bolton Residential Expansion Study (BRES) to the Region of Peel one year ago.  The next step in that process is for the Region’s planning staff to review the application, hold its own public consultation, and provide comments or approve the application.  This is the normal process.  The only thing abnormal about the BRES application, is the unprecedented political intervention in this process by Mississauga politicians.

“On Thursday, Peel council voted to accept provincial mediation of the dispute, which means the lawsuit will not go forward.” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

FACT: This is Inaccurate.  Caledon applied the Superior Court of Justice to quash a June 25, 2015 Region of Peel motion that was illegal.  On Thursday, Peel Council voted to revoke this illegal motion.  Having achieved its objective, Caledon has withdrawn its application to have the courts order the Region to do what it did Thursday.

“It also means the region, guided by provincial growth policies, will dictate Caledon’s planning around its major growth centre, Bolton.” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

FACT:  This is False.  By signing the Minutes of Settlement, the Region of Peel has agreed to:

  • accept Caledon’s position that the ROPA 28 lands be restricted to Employment Use only,
  • Caledon’s planning principles and proposal
  • a timeline for approving the BRES application – which has been stalled for purely political reasons for over a year, as Caledon has repeatedly requested.

The Minutes of Settlement reflect Caledon’s position throughout the matter.

“With Thursday’s decision, Caledon — the GTA’s largest geographic municipality, even bigger than Toronto — will effectively lose control over most of its own residential growth, around Bolton.” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

FACT:  This is False.  On Thursday, Regional Council approved the Minutes of Settlement – which support Caledon’s position 100 per cent.  They restrict the ROPA 28 lands for employment use only, as approved by the Town.  The Minutes also set out all party agreement to adopting the normal approval process for the Bolton Residential Expansion Study (BRES).

Caledon has completed its portion of the planning process for the BRES lands and submitted an application to the Region of Peel for approval. The next step is, and has always been, for the Region to conduct its own review of the Town’s plan, including the holding of a public consultation, and approve the plan or make remarks back to the Town.  This is the normal approval process.

The Minutes of Settlement change nothing. They do, however, commit the Region to proceed with its review of the BRES application – something it has delayed more than a year for political reasons.

The Minutes of Settlement also prescribe a timeline that reflects Caledon’s position that further delay be avoided.

“With Thursday’s decision, Caledon’s population, currently at just over 60,000, could in a few decades reach that of its regional neighbours to the south, Mississauga and Brampton.” – San Grewal, the Toronto Star Nov 18, 2015

FACT:  This is Misleading.  Caledon’s population growth numbers have not changed.  Growth in Caledon is constrained by a number of overlapping provincial statues, including:

  • Planning Act
  • Places to Grow Act
  • Greenbelt Act
  • Provincial policy statements
  • Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
  • Niagara Escarpment Plan
  • Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Residential growth in Caledon is dictated by the population allocations assigned to the Town by the Region of Peel. Given these constraints, it is extremely unlikely for Caledon to grow from 60,000 to 600,000 in 10 years.  It just won’t happen.   

“Caledon did not get what it wanted.” – Matthew Strader, the Caledon Enterprise, Nov. 13, 2015

FACT:  False. Caledon got exactly what it wanted: no changes to ROPA 28 and agreement from the Region to finally move the BRES application forward through its normal planning process.

“(Mayor Bonnie Crombie) went on to say regional staff had expressed concerns about the process Caledon had used to come to their decision, and she was confident what had been endorsed by her staff now was a fair and open process with set timelines that will come to a conclusion.” – Matthew Strader, the Caledon Enterprise, Nov. 13, 2015

FACT:  False.  Region of Peel staff have never expressed concern with the Town’s planning process regarding the BRES application.  In fact, senior Region staff publicly confirmed Caledon does good planning.  The now-agreed path forward is the same path the application should have taken one year ago; it’s the normal regional planning process.

The delay in planning approval at the Region of Peel has been entirely a political one. The process now “endorsed by her staff” is the same planning process the region normally uses and should have begun one year ago.

Caledon Council stands up for Town’s ability to plan its future

Caledon Town Council today adopted a motion reaffirming its commitment to ensure that land use planning in Caledon remains under the control of the Town. It authorized staff to participate under protest in an ongoing provincial facilitation process regarding Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 28.

“Caledon Council remains committed to the principle that planning in Caledon should be done by Caledon,” explained Mayor Allan Thompson. “That’s how it’s always been, that’s how the Peel Region Official Plan says it should be, and that’s how it works best.”

“Our Council has considered this at length and remains committed to standing up for the best interests of and the future of the Town of Caledon,” said Thompson.

On June 25, 2015, Peel Regional Council voted to enter into provincial facilitation with a private developer on the matter of ROPA 28 despite Caledon’s objections and the fact that Caledon followed all appropriate planning processes.  This is an intervention in local planning; this interference has never occurred in Peel. The Town has applied to the Superior Court of Justice to quash the Regional resolution on the basis that it is illegal.  Last week, Peel Regional Council voted to repeal its decision, however the vote failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority, so the original illegal decision stands.

In the meantime, the provincial facilitation remains ongoing without any party representing the interests of the people of Caledon.  Today’s Council decision addresses this situation by authorizing staff to attend the facilitation, under protest, to represent the Town’s interests.

Fact not Fiction: So-called “conflict” is distraction tactic

When you’re serious about suing someone, you normally have to serve notice of court action on the respondent. When it’s more of a publicity stunt, intended to distract public attention from something else, you might provide advance notice of the lawsuit to the media. It is unheard of, however, to have a newspaper serve notice for you. Yet, that’s pretty close to what happened yesterday in Caledon.

At 8:24 am, July 22, 2015Toronto Star reporter San Grewal sent an email to Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson, asking him to comment on a lawsuit being brought against him.  Attached to the email was a notice of court action against the mayor.  What is surprising is that Mayor Thompson had not been served with any notice of action – and, in fact, still hasn’t been served.

Grewal email meta 22 Jul“I sent (you a request) to comment yesterday on conflict of interest allegations that have been filed against (you) in court. I am attaching the two separate public court documents that anyone is allowed to obtain from the court.” – Email from San Grewal, Toronto Star, July 22, 2015 8:24 AM.

FACT:  Mayor Thompson received a copy of the court filing from the Toronto Star before he was served with the documents. As of this writing, he still hasn’t been served.

FACT:  The court action against the Mayor is baseless and unfounded in fact.

You may find it unusual that a newspaper would receive court documents about a lawsuit even before the respondent receives them. But then, you may also find the following pattern of events to be unusual.

FACT:  Caledon’s planning process is open, transparent, accountable and complies with all Ontario and Peel region laws and regulations.

FACT:  Mayor Thompson has no conflict of interest and never has.


A pattern of events is emerging… 

Judge for yourself, based on facts, not fiction…

June 10, 2015: San Grewal writes in the Toronto Star:

“… group is raising questions about whether or not a councillor and the town’s mayor were in a conflict of interest during a recent council meeting that dealt with a proposed development site.

“Councillor Gord McClure owns land on the site, and sale documents dated days after the meeting show Mayor Allan Thompson sold land to a developer adjacent to the site.” – Toronto Star June 10, 2015.

“The issue involves 2,000 acres of farm land called the ALLOA development site. A delegation to town council was made April 14 by a real-estate representative asking councillors to approve a future highway corridor that would keep ALLOA open for development. Both Thompson and McClure attended the meeting. Neither declared a pecuniary interest at the start of the meeting. Council then voted to direct staff to consult with the development group and revisit options for the highway corridor.” – Toronto Star June 10, 2015.

June 11, 2015:  Metro News (owned by the Toronto Star) reprinted the same Star article, repeating its baseless allegations against the mayor.

June 24, 2015:  San Grewal repeated the same unsubstantiated smear against the mayor in the Toronto Star and adds a quote from Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish. Notice how what the Toronto Star called “questions” have become “allegations:”

“Allegations of a conflict of interest in a recent $9.4-million property sale to a developer by Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson were thrown at him two weeks ago and questions were raised about how the town is making land use decisions that will affect the entire GTA.”

“If they’re afraid that facilitation is going to lead to revelations like Allan Thompson selling his farm to a developer, is that what they’re concerned about?” – Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, quoted by Grewal in the Toronto Star, June 24, 2015.

June 25, 2015:  Mathew Strader repeats Parrish’s smear in the Caledon Enterprise (also owned by the Toronto Star) and suggests there are now more people making not just “allegations” but now “accusations” – all of them anonymous, and all of them apparently speaking only to him:

“Thompson has been accused of being in a conflict of interest by regional councillors andlocal residents after The Star revealed he sold his land to Primont Homes, a Mayfield West home builder, earlier this year for $9.4 million.” – Mathew Strader, Caledon Enterprise.

We don’t know who these accusers are, because Strader doesn’t name them.  No one before has been quoted, even anonymously, as making accusations.  What began as “questions” from a local community group, and speculation about “revelations” by Councillor Parrish have now somehow transformed into anonymous “accusations” of conflict of interest.

Also June 25, 2015:  Yet more newspapers owned by (you guessed it) the Toronto Star print the same set of unsubstantiated smears. They’re back to “allegations” now, Grewal email meta 22 Julbut apparently, they’re “swirling:”

“Allegations of a conflict of interest in a recent $9.4-million property sale to a developer by Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson were thrown at him two weeks ago…” – Brampton Guardian June 25, 2015.

“With allegations of a conflict in a $9.4-million land deal swirling against Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson…” –  Metro News June 25, 2015.

June 30, 2015:  The Caledon Enterprise repeats the smear again, now linking it more closely to Councillor Carolyn Parrish as an “allusion:”

“Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish alluded to Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson being in a conflict when it comes to making votes on where population and development should go in Caledon when she asked about the recent sale of his farm.” – Caledon Enterprise, June 30, 2015.

And, again on July 9, 2015 when anonymous “colleagues” reappear:

“Asked about the accusations being made by her colleagues, Mississauga councillor Carolyn Parrish, who tabled the second motion asking for facilitation, and openly questioned the sale of Mayor Allan Thompson’s land to a home developer from Mayfield West… ” – Caledon Enterprise, July 9, 2015.

It’s almost as if there is an orchestrated smear campaign aimed at tarring Mayor Allan Thompson with unsubstantiated allegations in order to distract your attention from a calculated attempt to thwart  Caledon’s planning process.

Enough Fiction.  Time for some facts

FACT:  Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson has been very clear, repeatedly stating he has no conflict of interest involving the land previously owned jointly by him and members of his family.

FACT:  Thompson’s land is not even in or near the ALLOA site.  The allegations centre on the disposition of the ALLOA lands which the Toronto Star has said are “adjacent” to the Thompson family’s land. This is false. The Thompson family sold 100 acres of farmland that is nowhere near the ALLOA site. In fact, there are 1,000 acres between the Thompson land and the ALLOA land. Mayor Thompson has no pecuniary interest in the ALLOA lands and, therefore, no conflict of interest is even possible.

July 9, 2015

Caledon asks Court to Quash Peel Region Decision

The Town of Caledon is today applying to the Superior Court of Justice to quash Region of Peel Resolution 2015-83. This resolution, adopted at Regional Council on June 25, 2015, directs Regional staff to enter into negotiations to expand the boundary of Caledon industrial lands to include a residential development. Caledon’s representatives on Regional Council voted unanimously against the resolution.

The quashing or repealing of the Region of Peel resolution is being sought because the direction in the resolution is beyond the Region’s authority and is therefore illegal. Its adoption also contravened the Region’s Procedural By-law.

“The Town of Caledon went through an open, transparent and accountable planning process to decide on new land for development,” said Mayor Allan Thompson. “To have Regional Council set aside that public process and decide they know better, without any land use evaluations, without any staff reports, without even following their own rules or Ontario’s laws, is simply wrong.”

“They’ve turned an open public process into a dirty game of back-room bait and switch,” said Thompson. “Caledon will not be part of it. Our residents deserve better.”

On June 25, 2015, Peel Region Council adopted Resolution 2015-83 that violates the Planning Act, the Places to Grow Act and its own Procedural By-law:

  •  it requires action that avoids the public and technical processes required under the Planning Act;
  • it does not conform to the Region of Peel Official Plan or the Provincial Growth Plan as required under the Places to Grow Act; and
  • it did not achieve the two-thirds majority required by the Region’s Procedural By-law.

“The people of my Ward and the Town of Caledon, participated in an open public process,” said Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis. “Now, one lone wolf developer complains and Regional Council wants to take the discussion into a back-room for secret discussions? No way.”

June 29, 2015

Town of Caledon Council stands united for fair and transparent planning in the Region of Peel Town of Caledon Council stood united in defence of the Town’s Official Plan and fair and transparent public consultation at Peel Regional Council on June 25, 2015. Town of Caledon Regional Council members voted unanimously to avoid unnecessary Provincial Facilitation following a Special Meeting of Council on Tuesday, June 25, 2015, where the majority of residents clearly supported this action. “More than a dozen landowners and developers and numerous community stakeholders have participated in every aspect of a lengthy public planning process for the lands in question here and with one exception, they are all satisfied it was conducted properly,” said Mayor Thompson. “We have one developer, a lone wolf, who seems to feel his financial interests should take precedence over the community’s interest, input and good planning. The motion before Regional Council yesterday was a blatant attempt to set aside the guiding principles of the Peel Official Plan and interfere in the local planning process. This is not in the best interests of the people of Caledon. And it does not serve the interests of the Region of Peel.” “It’s hard to understand why a Mississauga Councillor would set aside years of precedent to impose on a local municipality a negotiation process that would benefit one lone wolf developer,” said Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis. Caledon remains committed to an open, transparent and accountable public planning process for land development.

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