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May. 28, 2022 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Editorial: Council's history of ignoring expert advice
File photo.

During this week’s court proceedings regarding the fight over historic designation of the Rand Estate, the case was made that if Solmar Development Corp. wants to alter aspects of the property, it should seek remedy from the Conservation Review Board, which will then make a recommendation to town council.

Town lawyer Scott Snider told the court, “There’s no reason to believe town council would ignore the (Conservation Review Board’s) findings.”

Actually, there are more than a few reasons to believe that even if the conservation board did recommend allowing work on the property, council wouldn’t approve it.

It doesn’t take a scholar to conclude the town is doing everything it can to stall Solmar’s progress on the property.

For instance: Snider seems to ignore the fact that the town previously rejected advice regarding the designation of heritage attributes on the Rand Estate from its own heritage committee and town staff.

He seems to ignore the massive pressure on the town from an active resident group opposing work being done on the property, to the point that some people will call the authorities over the sound of lawnmowers.

Snider seems to ignore strong statements from council about the preservation of heritage aspects, directed at the Rand Estate situation.

And there’s also the fact our town elected an almost entirely new council whose members ran on heritage values.

We’re not attempting to be pro Solmar or anti-NOTL heritage preservation, so please don’t start claiming otherwise. This is not about choosing sides. 

But the fact is NOTL council has a history of ignoring the expert opinions of its own staff and others (note also the story this week on Page 3 about the town’s defeat at a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal hearing).

In litigation, lawyers make a lot of arguments to try to sway opinion in their client’s favour. Sometimes those arguments are valid, cogent and rooted in reality. Sometimes they are a real stretch and maybe even a bit disingenuous. This seems to be one of those occasions.