15.7 C
Kawartha Lakes
Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeLocal CouncilFormer Peterborough Mayor says council "dropped the ball" on annexation

Former Peterborough Mayor says council “dropped the ball” on annexation

By Olivia Timm

Former Peterborough Mayor, Paul Ayotte, was back in his old stomping grounds at city hall Monday night. Ayotte urged council not to involve the Province in the potential annexation deal with Cavan Monaghan.

After a lengthy discussion, city council voted in favour of asking the provincial government to assist with the proposed annexation between the township of Cavan Monaghan and the City of Peterborough.

The deal, which also included the County was due to take place as of January 1, 2018 costing a total of $75 million for over 4,100 acres of land – including the Peterborough airport.

For years the city and the township have been trying to come to some sort of agreement. Finally the Province helped facilitate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOE) between the City, the Township and the County for lands that would see future development and jobs. Some councillors however balked at the deal and asked staff to go back to the township and negotiate better terms. The township said no.

Coun. Reil said, “How many times have we reached the olive branch out [to Cavan Monaghan] and they have said no?”

But finally, with much deliberation, the Council voted to ask the province once again to step in.

Former Peterborough Mayor, Paul Ayotte, stood before council and warned that that involving the Province may not have the best interest of citizens at heart.

He said, “I think going to the Province is a big mistake…I am afraid if you ask the Province a question, you may not like the answer.”

Ayotte continued to express his disappointment in council in not knowing more about the annexation and the provincial involvement before the payment plan was signed.

“I think an earlier speaker [Roy Brady] mentioned that the City likes secrecy. I don’t really buy into that. I don’t think there was any secrecy in this whole process at all from what I can understand. It sounds to me like you didn’t understand what the terms were before the issue became public. If you did, why are the questions coming out now with the payment? You should’ve known that ahead of time, and if you didn’t then somebody dropped the ball,” expressed Ayotte.

Coun. Reil responded by saying council did the best they could with the time they had as council was given the information Thursday and asked to come to a decision on Monday.

Roy Brady, local citizen and activist of Peterborough, is also against council asking for involvement from the Province.

“There are a lot of things involved here that you should consider, and I do not think the province should be considering it for you,” he said.

Brady also went on to say the decision would be futile and foolish.

Ayotte agreed that asking for assistance from the province might not be in the best interest of everyone.

“In the benefit of the whole region, I still think it should be doable. But if you ask the province, it might end up costing you more.”

On the subject of money, Brady asks the important question: When are these dollars going to be spent? Even more important, if the province does agree, is that really a good thing?

“Do you really want this provincial government involved? They certainly have a poor record outside of the Greater Toronto Area. I am not sure what you are going to gain from this,” Brady says.

Mayor Daryl Bennett recused himself from the discussion, as he has in past meetings due to his family owning land in the area.

Coun. Parnell moved to have the recommendation for Provincial involvement removed, but the motion was turned down with majority of members voting in favour of Provincial assistance.

She stressed the importance of keeping the original memorandum of understanding and that it does not necessarily finalize decisions, but simply keeps the conversation alive.

Coun. Beamer added, “annexation is the right thing to do…and Peterborough wants a deal, but not a deal at all costs.”

After the vote solidified the approval of Provincial involvement, Coun. Haacke said the City is still going to continue to explore other options than just involvement from the government, but time will tell.

Don't forget to sign up for our morning newsletter.

Catch up on all the local news while enjoying your coffee.

Most Popular