Who’s more credible?
Who has the most credibility – citizens trying to protect the integrity of their community or developers who stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars by pushing through their development?
Over 30 years ago I was involved in the fight to save a Carolinian woodlot in Vaughan from being leveled to make way for a stormwater pond for a large industrial development near Jane Street and Highway 7. The developers had hired a consultant to assess the quality of this woodlot. The consultant produced a report stating that the vegetation was basically scrub brush of no value. Knowing this to be false, we solicited the help of the Toronto Field Naturalist club and their skilled, although amateur, botanists. They assessed the woodlot and produced their own report citing trees upwards of 3 feet in diameter. With that information and some political support the woodlot was saved.
That experience taught me that you cannot rely on the integrity of consultants being paid big bucks by wealthy developers to provide honest assessments. I call these people “hired guns.” And he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Recently I heard planning consultants give sworn evidence at the OMB that the Midhurst Secondary Plan represents good planning. Without any opposing views from other expert witnesses the OMB seemed forced to accept this evidence and allow a proposal that was clearly not good planning or in the public interest.
Unfortunately this seems to be the way our democracy works, especially the legal system and pseudo-legal agencies like the OMB. If you have lots of money and can pay “experts” you can always find someone who will argue that black is white, bad is good.
The only way to counter this distortion of truth and democracy by wealthy corporations for their own self-interest is for people to band together and fight to protect their community as the residents of Midhurst are doing right now. You can help with this fight by voting for candidates who truly value community character over mega development.