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July 13, 2003

No sign of suit at city

From: Barrie Advance, Canada - Jul 13, 2003

At least one senior city administrator is wondering what all the fuss is about concerning the proposed long-term-care facility for the deaf on Big Bay Point Road.

Gary Calvert, commissioner of development services for the City of Barrie, says while he is aware of media reports concerning a $1-million lawsuit being launched against the municipality by the Ontario Mission of the Deaf (OMD), he and other city staff haven't heard of any legal papers being served at City Hall.

As to the absence of any local council members or staff at the ground-breaking ceremony held Thursday morning, Calvert says he "wasn't aware of any ground-breaking. No one in my department received an invitation, and I'm not aware of the mayor's office receiving one, either."

The city has received a site plan from the OMD for the construction of the 64-bed facility, Calvert says, but "there are certain conditions that have not been satisfied," which would permit the city to give the go-ahead.

"I get the impression, from the media (coverage), that the OMD are saying the city is (attempting) a land grab," he says.

"It was determined, some time ago, that these lands are designated EP (environmentally-protected). In any application, it is city policy to require EP lands (set aside). It is a policy that has been applied consistently.

"The city policy is that EP lands should be protected through public stewardship. If they include waterfront lands, then they would be dedicated to the city."

And these lands would not fall under the traditional five per cent of any development property assigned as parkland, Calvert adds. The Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority designated waterfront lands along Kempenfelt Bay as environmentally-protected areas years ago.

"If it becomes litigious, we will not be able to make any comment," Calvert says. "We're suggesting the lands are EP. It's not for the city's self-interest."

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