Work has started on the 353-unit subdivision in Linley Valley west, which is good news.
Acts of civil disobedience are underway, featuring a small group of protesters trying to stop the development on private property, and workers from working. It's time the city did something about it.
This is not public land. It is owned and will be developed by Mount Benson Developments, who have incurred carrying costs and paid taxes on the 32.9 hectares of undeveloped land for years.
Monday night at city council, Mayor John Ruttan issued a gentle "tut-tut," or "now, now" toward the protesters.
It was a weak statement when more was required.
If the city claims it is open for business, then it must step in and let business people do their business.
It's confusing when we have watched the city rush in with lawyers to try and obtain a court injunction to stop possible protests if the removal of the Colliery dams was to proceed last summer.
It's OK to spend public funds on litigation when it comes to protecting its own interests, i.e. removing the dams, to make sure that work could continue unhindered.
On the other hand, when it comes to the interests of a private developer, who in this case has played by the rules the city created and jumped through hoops and barrels that has become the morass of administrative red tape at city hall. This development will put people to work.
The city will receive annual tax revenue. If 353 units carried taxes of, for example, $2,000 per unit, that would mean $706,000 each year to the city. That helps the city.
If the owners decided to sell the property, which they have not, then any interested party can step forward and pay the asking price.
They have pledged to preserve 45 per cent of the land, which includes wetlands and the existing trailways.
For those who suggest the developer putting together a project like this has already made their money, guess again.
It is extremely naive at best to believe that someone who has made that kind of investment which up to the point of developing the property has earned the sum total of nothing, plus paying taxes and carrying charges on the land prior to development.
With a development of that size, it would be reasonable to assume that worthwhile returns won't be realized until well into the second half of development.
Our regional growth strategy indicates that we collectively want development within city limits, with an eye toward preventing further urban sprawl in the outlying areas.
The answer to that, while accommodating growth, is to allow and encourage development within city boundaries. Mount Benson Developments is doing exactly that.
So where is the city, or the RCMP for that matter? Why aren't they putting injunctions in place or removing protesters from the site so that people can simply do their jobs? It's private land.
In Canada, we are supposed to be able to do what we please on land that we own, provided laws and bylaws that benefit everyone are adhered to.
This developer who has been generous already, and any developer that plays by the rules, are worthy of protection, too.
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