As a resident and taxpayer of Niagara-on-the-Lake, I am represented in all municipal matters by the elected town council. In response to your Jan. 23 article, “Hummel sues town for $500,000 over development freeze in Old Town,” I would like to express my viewpoint with respect to the claim by Rainer Hummel against town council.
While I have no expertise on the subject of municipal affairs or the complexities of the interim control bylaw, I do have a personal opinion on several issues contained in the report.
To begin with, the present town council, on being elected, inherited many issues that previous councils had failed to act on. One very important one was, of course, a means of governing development in the interests of the residents before those of the developer.
Faced immediately with the appearance of rapid and uncontrolled development, and challenged by the controversial Randwood development as envisioned by Solmar Development Corp., it is obvious that council required time to gain an understanding and control of a complex situation.
Regardless of all of the legal arguments and technical issues involved, I support the town council in its decision to enact the interim bylaw. To even suggest that this was done for fun reaches the height of silliness.
Mr. Hummel claims that the bylaw is illegal and that simple argument alone provides him with the opportunity to launch a lawsuit for $500,000.
It will be noted, obviously, that this money comes, not from the pockets of council, but from the resident taxpayer and means that there is that much less that can be spent on other needed local services.
This disturbs me greatly and I am sure that others feel much the same. Of course, this is of no apparent concern to Mr. Hummel and his self-interests.
He acknowledges that municipalities are given the right to enact the interim control bylaw from the province and this presumably gives them the final right to determine its duration regardless of any previous undertakings allegedly given to him, but he argues without explanation that in this case it is without proper jurisdiction and is for an improper purpose.
The remaining comments contained in the article appear to me to be either irrelevant to his specific claim or are typical and common self-serving complaints made in the interests of the developer and offer no proof that council has acted wrongfully.
Finally, as Mr. Hummel himself has recorded elsewhere: Rules (in other words laws) are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men. (Brickhill). What an interesting comment coming from him.