'RURAL REVOLT' IN THE AIR
Political and bureaucratic abuses appear leading to rural
landowners assert their basic right to "quiet enjoyment" of
appear to have had their fill of politicians who don't represent their
interests and bureaucrats who have lost all perspective on
serving the public who pay their salaries.
August 16, 2005
gathering of 100-plus concerned and angry citizens turned up for
a "Landowners' Meeting" in the Richmond Memorial Hall, Tuesday
Walker, President of
the Goulbourn Landowners Group open the meeting with a brief
history of the underhanded way in which the lands of some sixty
property owners was "turned over" to the Rideau Valley
Conservation Authority (RVCA) and the provincial Ministry of
Natural Resources (MNR), for assessment as wetlands, two years
before the affected landowners were told.
Walker chaired meeting
Large gathering turned out to
compare stories of property rights abuses.
Councillor Stavinga, of Goulbourn
Ward-6 --who freely admits to starting the ball rolling in
her capacity as Vice-Chair of the RVCA-- seems to forget that it
is the ratepayers who pay her salary, not the RVCA.
Tony says the situation is made
doubly worse because much of the wetland-designated property is
really dry land that in most cases has been flooded by the
city's own mismanaged drainage practices.
Terry Hale, owner of
Applewood Farms on Fernbank Road, backed Tony's assessment
of the situation, adding that no one is against "true wetlands"
and that many landowners are better environmentalists than the
politicians and government bureaucrats that are interfering. He
clarified, though, "There are authentic wetlands and there
are contrived wetlands. They're trying to use city drainage
deficiencies as an excuse to re-designate our previously dry lands
into new 'contrived wetlands'."
"That's not right or
ethical," he asserted.
Terry Hale, of
Terry also maintains that the
application of "complexing" in this case is an example of,
"the city abusing the concept." He added that
tactic of fly-overs was just plain wrong," as well.
Mr. Hale believes that, rather than encourage and reward
continued good land stewardship, the city's unethical
tactics are an inducement for residents to fight back, by
stripping all of their land of any potential wetland vegitation.
Mike Westley, who lives on
Flewellyn Road, near the corner of Conley Road has found his
seasonal flooding problem to be entirely due to city
mismanagement of its ditch water. For the last 16 years or so, he
has complained repeatedly to the municipality through his councillor, and every level of the administration he could, to
fix the problem. He says that it shouldn't be that complicated
to figure out. It's a simple situation where, "Water can't
get away as quickly as it's being directed to our area."
The city can't seem to be able to connect the dots ...or doesn't
a highly-respected property tax consultant who owns the firm of "Property
Tax Review Services," spoke to the audience about city zoning
practices and the property values --and the tax implications of it all.
He started by saying that, "One of the worst mistakes one
could make, is to assume the city is going to act in a
He backed up his premise with
several horror stories, as evidence, and told the
audience that he knows of many landowners who have true
wetlands, which they often protect better than the city would.
He confirmed that those who suffer from false wetland
suffer an 85% loss in property values along with severe
land use restrictions.
Lucas stated that he sold his own wetland
property when ministry personnel started telling him where he
could, and could not, walk on his own property.
He feels that there should be a
compensation structure in place before such designations are
prominent West Carleton rural rights backer, and respected
farmer, took a few moments to promote his solution to city
interference in rural lives, and the city's failure to properly
manage rural affairs --"which they know nothing about."
The solution, he states, is in
the "re-amalgamation" of the rural component of
the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, into
'Carleton County', wherein rural residents would be in charge of
their own destiny, and could avoid a lot of the waste of tax dollars
that is currently occurring within the city.
is President of the newly-founded Carleton Landowners'
MacLaren indicated that in the
short time since the idea was launched just over two weeks ago, on July 31, (see
has had an "overwhelming demand" for signs.
President and co-founder of the Lanark Landowners Association,
or "Rural Revolution" as it is more often named, raised several
key points about politicians and bureaucrats who have lost sight
of their public service mandate. "People have rights,"
he says. "Governments have responsibilities."
Hillier said that many
government officials have tried to label the landowners'
associations as "radicals," but he says whatever
they want to call us, we consider it a badge of honour. All we are is
an organization of citizens who, "When governments do the
wrong thing, we stand up and say 'NO'.
"We --the people-- tell
governments how to behave."
He cited names of several
politicians, on all three levels of government, that support
land use rights and fair compensation in re-designation cases.
Hillier stated that the
upcoming municipal and provincial elections will see a lot more
focused support by landowner organizations for electoral candidates who have previously
declared their support for landowners' rights.
"Don't be surprised to
see Landowners Associations, right across the Province, putting
forward their own 'slates' of municipal, provincial and
federal candidates ," he said.
Randy's mission in life is to
create awareness of the rights people do have, and may
not know about. He says, "the public has to be informed,"
and encourages citizens to link up with the nearest "Landowners'
Association" in their area, (there are now chapters throughout
Ontario, and elsewhere), and to post the "Landowners" sign.
He sees definite strength in
numbers. "If you want to help yourself, help your
neighbour! ...We need to stick together and stay together."
Hillier cited three
municipalities, that, through united public pressure and the
help of fair-minded politicians, have incorporated landowner
rights protection legislation into their bylaws and official
plans. "That's a great step forward," he said.
The evening was deemed a great
success, by those who are looking for ways to protect their
basic rights of quiet enjoyment and use of their land.
Landowners are shocked and
affronted by the city's invasiveness, sneakiness, and
interest was shown in wall displays of maps and pictures.
residents ponder arbitrary designations
Tony Walker mentioned in his
presentation that, as far as he knows, the landowners in the
120-metre buffer area surrounding the contrived
'wetland-complex' area, have not yet been notified.
"When is the city intending
to bring them into the loop?", he asks.
The city seems to believe it
can freely work behind peoples' backs, erasing peoples' life-
savings, without any fair notice or compensation.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Walker
thanked the media and community organizations who have supported
the Goulbourn Landowners Group through this whole affair. He
thanked John Curry of The Stittsville News for doing
several articles on the subject and for printing their many
Letters to the Editor.
He expressed thanks to Karen
Secord of Ottawa Valley News for her press coverage, and
to the Rural Council for its broad support from the very start
of the problem. (see
Lucas chats with residents at meeting
Lastly, Tony expressed his great
appreciation for the support, encouragement and guidance of the
Lanark Landowners Association.
The audience expressed their
appreciation to the LLA, as well, in the form of hearty
In the lingering discussions
after the meeting, it was apparent that the Goulbourn property
appreciated the time and effort expended by the members of the neighbouring community of Lanark, to help
them learn how to unite, in
are becoming much more determined to protect their own property
rights --from politicians who don't defend or represent them and
bureaucrats who are out-of-control.
order to help put wayward
politicians and bureaucrats in their places.
In the words
of one attendee, on his way out the door, "All in all,
it was a very helpful and informative evening."