Letter to the Editor
Here is Avery’s response to a letter that was written by Residents of Innisfil Association president Nola Wale last month. Avery has also responded to Geranium president Earl Rumm’s comments that appeared in last week’s Scope.
I wish to respond to the letter from Nola Wale last month, and draw attention to a number of inaccuracies.
She begins by referring to her organization, The Residents of Innisfil Association, as being supporters of the Big Bay Point Project since 2002. Yet her organization was only formed in late 2005. I know this because at that time I sent a polite e-mail to Wale, suggesting that her first choice of a name The Innisfil Residents Association would have the initials IRA, which might not convey what she intended. To be honest, I was hoping she would choose a name much different from that of my organization, The Innisfil Disrtict Association, which has been in existence for over 30 years (although not always under our current name). Alas, Wale changed her association’s name but only slightly. Perhaps I should conclude that duplication is a sincere form of flattery.
She goes on to say “the identified citizens are for the most part, very wealthy property owners in Big Bay Point”. In regard to the Innisfil District Association, this is incorrect. For example, the IDA has an executive of six persons. Four of these do not own property on the waterfront, nor in Big Bay Point. Their occupations include two school teachers, a social worker and a housewife.
Further, she suggests our sole reason for opposing this project is our unwilling approach to change. However, back in 2002 the IDA presented our members (about 300 families) with a survey on the Big Bay project. It contained arguments for and against the project. It was very fair, balanced and will stand up to the strongest of media scrutiny. In fact, it even included changes requested by the developer, Earl Rumm. In opposing the Big Bay Point project, the IDA board took their direction from the strong response to this survey.
I am unaware of any similar survey that Wale conducted of her membership. Perhaps she followed the action taken by the Sandy Cove Home Owners Association. As I understand it, their board made the decision to support the BBP project, rather than survey their membership.
She states that the taxpayers are paying for the First Nations (Huron- Wendat) and for Environmental Defence. Yet, in this Big Bay Point matter I believe this to be completely false.
She blames the long duration of the OMB hearing on the IDA and the other two opponents. I would point out it was the developer that first appealed for an OMB hearing. As to dragging out the hearing, it was our lawyer, as much as anyone else, who was responsible for shortening the hearing. Further extending this matter is the Motion for Costs which was initiated by the developer, for a ridiculous $3.6 million, in what we regard as yet another intimidation tactic.
I suggest this rant on Wale’s part, with its many inaccuracies and insults, will only further reduce her credibility.
While not wishing to take the extra space to address all of the points raised by Rumm, in his letter last week, I would like to correct two points.
Rumm said “Not once did they ever offer to support a scaled-down project. Not once did they put numbers on the table.” Yet he seems to have forgotten his earlier statement, made after Geranium reached an agreement with the Town of Innisfil and the County of Simcoe on the size of the BBP project – 1,000 boat slips and 2,000 housing/hotel units – and prior to all parties coming to the facilitation meetings. He told an IDA director that the specifications in respect to the number of boat slips and units were not negotiable during the facilitation meetings. Therefore, the IDA did not raise the issue of the specification sizes at that time, rather the facilitation meetings tended to focus more on environmental issues.
However, shortly following these meetings, the provincial facilitator contacted me to ask what form of BBP project would we accept? The IDA responded with a list of nine or ten conditions. These included a reduction in the number of boat slips to about 375 (the number at that time) and a large reduction in the number of housing units, as well as the elimination of fractional ownership.
It is regrettable that the IDA has to keep making these corrections, but it is more important to keep focused on the main point – what this mega-marina project will do to the lake and the environment.
Don Avery, Chair of The Innisfil District Association
If you need to paste from microsoft word, you need to click the icon of PASTE FROM WORD! DONNOT paste directly to this text area!