Following message is from Carolyn MacLeod:
Below is a portion of the blog Russ Ford, Executive Director of LAMP CHC, wrote on February 24, 2013. It contains information you should know about how developers can get around city by-laws.
“The city recently completed its budget process. What is always missing from any discussion of city finances is the so called section 37 money. It is money the city gets from development charges . If a developer wants to build greater than what is allowed under city by-laws, the bargaining begins and money is given to the city in exchange for being allowed to exceed building limits. The money is then used to mitigate the affects of the larger development on the community by creating some local amenities.
“The concept is all well and good. But again the process by which decisions are made for the use of this money is both highly questionable and extremely undemocratic. It is the ward boss, I mean the councillor, who gets to decide how to spend the money. In some wards the local councillors go through an extensive community consultation process to best determine how to spend this public asset.
“In other wards no consultation occurs. There is no process to determine how this money is to be spent. In a city government that seems to have rules for just about everything, the local ward boss can do pretty much anything with this money.
“How undemocratic can we get. We need a clearly defined public process for determining the best use of this money. What a great opportunity to engage citizens in the governance of our city. It is after all our money. As it is now being administered, Section 37 money has the potential to become a slush fund for the local councillor which will no doubt take on more relevance as we head closer to the next municipal election.”
[End of Russ Ford blog excerpt; text from Carolyn MacLeod continues:]
Russ writes a weekly blog addressing issues facing our community and the organizations that serve it. If you would like to read the entire blog from February 24 or to read other blogs please go to www.lampchc.org.
Co-chair, W6 Community Action Team