Wednesday 8 December 1993

Groupe Concorde Inc Act, 1993, Bill Pr68, Mr Harris

Gary Carr, MPP

Edmond O'Hagan, solicitor, Groupe Concorde Inc

All-Wood Land Clearing Ltd Act, 1993, Bill Pr67, Ms Murdock

Derek Fletcher, MPP

William Bassett, representative, All-Wood Land Clearing Ltd

Ukrainian People's Home in Preston Act, 1993, Bill Pr73, Mr Cooper

Derek Fletcher, MPP

William Rozad, representative, Ukrainian People's Home

Rev Ivan Waszczuk, pastor, Ukrainian Catholic church, Preston

Township of Glanbrook Act, 1993, Bill Pr63, Mr Morrow

Mark Morrow, MPP

Nancy Smith, solicitor, Township of Glanbrook

John Crossingham, objector

Victor Veri, representative, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario

and Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Township of Dysart Act, 1993, Bill Pr39, Mr Waters

Daniel Waters, MPP

Stephen Woodcock, solicitor, United Townships of Dysart, Bruton, Clyde, Dudley,

Harcourt, Eyre, Guilford, Harburn and Havelock

John Sinclair, objector


*Chair / Présidente: Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND)

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Jordan, Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

*O'Neil, Hugh P. (Quinte L)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

*In attendance / présents

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Mifsud, Lucinda, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1006 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr68, An Act to revive Le Groupe Concorde Inc.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to call the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. We're going to make a small change in the agenda.

I would ask Mr Carr and the representatives who are here for Bill Pr68, An Act to revive Le Groupe Concorde Inc, to come forward. Mr Carr, if you would introduce your applicant and make a few opening comments, then we can continue.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): This actually is on behalf of Mr Harris. The gentleman with me is Mr O'Hagan, who is very familiar with the situation and can give you a brief explanation, and then if there are any questions, he'd be prepared to answer them for you.

The Chair: Mr O'Hagan, would you explain to the committee what we are presented with here.

Mr Edmond O'Hagan: This is an application to revive a company. The company lost its charter for failure to comply with the Corporations Tax Act; that is, failed to file its returns on a timely basis. This has all been rectified. All of the corporate taxes have now been paid. We have received the consent of the corporations tax branch. We also received the consent of the public trustee. As far as I'm aware, there are no objectors to this application for revival.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr O'Hagan. Let me test the floor just to make sure that there are no other interested parties who would like to come forward. Is there someone else in the audience who would like to comment on this bill? Seeing none, I will turn to Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): You're going to turn to whom?

The Chair: Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Ruprecht: Okay, that's fine.

The Chair: Or would you like me to call you Tony?

Mr Ruprecht: No. It just seems to me that Mr Harris, who is sponsoring this bill, is not here, but Mr Carr is here. They've thought about this in detail, I'm sure, and most of us would probably want to congratulate Mr Harris and Mr Carr on their fine work with this bill.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ruprecht, and I'm quite sure that we will all have that opportunity momentarily. Mr Hayes would you like to make any comments at this point on the part of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): We have no objections to this bill.

The Chair: I will put the question to the floor then. Are members ready to vote on the matter before us? Agreed. Very good, the members are agreed.

On Bill Pr68, shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you to Mr Carr and Mr Harris and Mr O'Hagan. The deed is done, so to speak.


Consideration of Bill Pr67, An Act to revive All-Wood Land Clearing Ltd.

The Chair: Is Mr Bassett here for Bill Pr67, An Act to revive All-Wood Land Clearing Ltd? Mr Fletcher, would you, on behalf of Ms Murdock, continue.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): On behalf of Ms Murdock, I would like to introduce Mr Bassett from Comptax Filers Tax Services Ltd on Bill Pr67.

The Chair: Mr Bassett, could you then make some remarks about your bill.

Mr William Bassett: I'm acting on behalf of the shareholders and the president of All-Wood. It was cancelled effective May 17, 1988, for failure to comply with the Corporations Tax Act. All these matters have been satisfied. Moneys owing have been paid. I would ask that the bill be given consent by you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bassett. I do have to test the floor to see if there is someone who has some other concerns to present. Is there someone else in the audience who would like to come forward at this time and present their concerns relating to Bill Pr67? Seeing none, I will turn to Mr Hayes, on behalf of Municipal Affairs, to make any concerns known.

Mr Hayes: Due to the fact that Mr Fletcher did a very good job presenting this, our ministry has no objections.

The Chair: Are there any questions?

Mr Ruprecht: Just briefly, Madam Chair, you realize of course that Mr Bassett was here, I think it was, four weeks ago. I just wanted to ask him whether he's making this a regular habit now of establishing a new business in this field.

Mr Bassett: Yes, it creates more money for the coffers of the government of Ontario. I'll try.

The Chair: We always like a little levity at this hour of the morning.

Mr Hayes: We appreciate that.

The Chair: Are members prepared to vote at this time? Agreed.

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Bassett and Mr Fletcher.


Consideration of Bill Pr73, An Act to revive Ukrainian People's Home in Preston.

The Chair: I would like to call Mr Cooper.

Mr Fletcher: Do you want me to do it again?

The Chair: Sure. Mr Fletcher will sit in for Mr Cooper. If Mr Korz and the other representatives from Bill Pr73, An Act to revive Ukrainian People's Home in Preston --

Mr Fletcher: On behalf of Mr Cooper, I'd like to present Bill Pr73, An Act to revive Ukrainian People's Home in Preston. Mr Korz is not with us today, but Mr William Rozad will be here presenting.

The Chair: Mr Rozad, would you then like to make any remarks and also introduce the other gentleman who is with you.

Mr William Rozad: Unfortunately, as you were just informed, our solicitor was unable to come. He has a very important court case. I will try to do my best. I think the best picture I can present -- I'm not quite prepared for this -- is a letter that we sent to our very distinguished member of provincial Parliament, Mr Mike Farnan. This letter was dated July 31, 1992.

"Dear Sir:

"We are writing to you to ask your assistance in re-establishing the Ukrainian's People's Home in Preston, which was incorporated as a corporation, number 0030140, under the Ontario Corporations Act.

"Over the years, our organization continued to function. However, through inadvertence it would appear that the above-noted corporation was dissolved by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations on July 17, 1977. The membership that existed at that time continued to function in the belief that the corporation entity did continue, and does continue to this date. Unfortunately, we do understand that this is not the case and we would like to have the corporation reinstated."

This just would give you the picture. Mr Farnan kept the ball rolling, so to speak, and we are here today and are hoping that you do reinstate our corporation.

Rev Ivan Waszczuk: I am Father Waszczuk from Preston. I am pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic church in Preston and I know that beside the church we should have some other organization, charity organization, to help each other, you know, and advise each other and so on. A lot of people came from Poland and Ukraine and they needed such help, and this society, our association, has been very necessary in this point in our community.

The Chair: Very good. I know all of us have similar organizations in our communities, so we recognize your concern in making sure that everything is in order. I would ask if there are any other applicants in the audience or citizens who might be concerned about this bill, if they would like to come forward at this time. Seeing none, I would ask if there are any questions on behalf of the members.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I think this is straightforward, just something that's been overlooked. I'll support this bill.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I don't have a question, but certainly I support the bill and I just would like to remark that it's nice to see the name Preston preserved in spite of the imposition of regional government, it now being part of Cambridge, the name that's on it.

Father Waszczuk: Cambridge, yes; I'm sorry.

Mr Eddy: No, that's fine. Thank you.

Mr Ruprecht: I'm happy that Pastor Waszczuk came down today because that just gives added support to the whole community and I'm delighted to be able to support this bill.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, in your Ministry of Municipal Affairs hat, would you like to make any concerns known?

Mr Hayes: Just like the rest of the other happy members here, I'm quite delighted too. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not have any objections to this bill. I support it.

The Chair: Let me ask then if the members are ready to vote? Agreed.

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Carried.

Very good. Gentlemen, the deed is done. Oh, one moment.

Mr Hansen: I'd like to move a motion here that the committee recommend that the fees and the actual cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr73, An Act to revive the Ukrainian People's Home in Preston. I hope the committee agrees to this.

The Chair: Very good. You've heard the motion, committee members. Is there support? Any negative comments? None. Agreed. So you have, according to the motion, your printing for free at this point.

Father Waszczuk: Thank you so much, Madam Chairman, and all members of the Parliament. You are appreciated and some time we will show you the success of this association.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming before us.


Consideration of Bill Pr63, An Act respecting the Township of Glanbrook.

The Chair: Now we have Mr Morrow and representatives from Glanbrook township dealing with Bill Pr63, An Act respecting the Township of Glanbrook.

Mr Mark Morrow (Wentworth East): Thank you very much, Chair. I'd like to introduce you this morning to Nancy Smith, the solicitor for the township of Glanbrook, and Harry Kooyman, the deputy clerk for the township of Glanbrook.

The Chair: Very good. Which one will be speaking first?

Ms Nancy Smith: I will be speaking.

The Chair: Okay, Ms Smith. Would you then make some opening remarks regarding your bill.


Ms Smith: As the members of the committee are no doubt aware, municipalities in Ontario may only exercise the powers that a provincial statute grants them. What is before you this morning is a bill authorizing the township of Glanbrook to pass bylaws dealing with the regulation of the dumping of fill within the township boundaries.

If we look at the Municipal Act, municipalities are presently authorized to pass bylaws dealing with the dumping of refuse, of garbage, of debris and those sorts of things on private property. However, it's questionable whether this authority in the Municipal Act authorizes bylaws regulating the dumping of fill. By fill, we mean things like gravel, rubble, earth and that kind of thing. This legislation before you removes that doubt as to a municipality's -- and in this case the township's -- authority to regulate that sort of substance.

As you can see from the compendium, and I'm not sure if committee members have it before them, other municipalities in Ontario have found a need to fill this gap in the Municipal Act. There has been special legislation almost identical to what is before you today that has been passed on behalf of these other municipalities in order to fill this void.

A municipal bylaw that may be passed pursuant to the legislative authority that this bill will grant will work in conjunction with similar legislation; in fact, regulations that have been passed under the Conservation Authorities Act. As outlined in the bill, you'll note, however, that a municipal bylaw passed pursuant to this act will not interfere with the regulation of conservation authority lands. That will remain, of course, under the jurisdiction of the conservation authority.

In addition, this bill does not and is not intended to interfere with normal agricultural practices at all. What it does is it empowers the township to regulate the placing of fill on lands to ensure that proper grading and proper drainage patterns are maintained and to ensure that nuisances aren't created for adjoining land owners and for the municipal infrastructure that's in place.

If I can refer committee members briefly to section 1 of the bill, that really outlines the meat of what the township will be authorized to do. If you go through that very briefly, you'll see that what the township is concerned about are things like grading, and you'll see that authorization in clause 1(1)(b). You'll also see that they will be entitled to put in place a permit system for the dumping of fill on lands within the municipality. Grading plans may or may not be required, depending on the particular situation. It's these sorts of land use concerns, which are generally within the purview of a municipality to deal with, that the township is looking to potentially regulate here.

Glanbrook is a rural municipality, as you may know, and there's a real fear that without the authority to regulate the dumping of fill, Glanbrook may become some sort of dumping ground for this kind of material that comes from construction in the area. It's the municipality's intent not to prohibit this activity, and this bill does not authorize prohibition; the intent is to simply give the municipality some teeth in dealing with this as a potential nuisance to the land owners who may surround a property owner who would like to engage in this sort of activity.

If there are any questions on the contents, I'd be pleased to address those.

The Chair: I have a question at this point from Mr Mills.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I'd like to ask the parliamentary assistant, if my memory serves me right, it was only a short period of time ago when we had a similar bill before this committee relating to fill, grading and all those things. I wonder if my memory is right, or am I slipping?

The Chair: I believe the compendium actually lists something.

Mr Mills: Oh, does it? I haven't got that. I haven't got the compendium.

Mr Hayes: If I may, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, yes. Please continue.

Mr Hayes: Yes, you are correct: Caledon in 1992, Lincoln in 1992 --

Mr Mills: I forgot about Lincoln.

Mr Hayes: -- Uxbridge in 1992, and then there are others, Scarborough, 1985; Brampton, 1985; Oakville, 1990. So similar bills to that, yes.

Mr Mills: That leads me to my next question. Having dealt with a similar bill in other communities, I'd like to know if there are any objections to dealing with this one likewise on the basis of expediency.

The Chair: I would think that is not a problem. The only question that I think I very legitimately have to pose is if there is anyone who has a concern about this particular bill, and at that point there might be a representative from the public. So let me pose that question, if there is anyone in the audience at this point who would wish to come forward relating to Bill Pr63, An Act respecting the Township of Glanbrook.

Please have a seat and introduce yourselves and then the members can obviously hear your concerns. It's nice to see someone from St Catharines here.

We need a mike. We need some technical assistance here or possibly an exchange of seats would be useful.

Mr John Crossingham: I want the Chair to note that I am moving to the left.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Crossingham.


The Chair: No, he's just about to move over. He's just getting a glass of water.

Mr Eddy: In view of the fact that we have this changing of chairs, in view of the fact that there are four chairs and in view of the fact that there are only three that mike, why is it not possible that we could extend and have one additional mike at that? This is happening all the time.

Mr Fletcher: Someone must have taken it out.


The Chair: It's being dealt with, Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: Oh, there is one. I usually carry one in my pocket.

The Chair: Mr Veri, who is one of the interested parties, has taken the technical task upon himself. Mr Crossingham, if you would like to make your statement, please proceed.

Mr Crossingham: My name is John Crossingham. I'm a solicitor in St Catharines.

I am familiar with the problem of fill and related matters in the Niagara area in that I act for the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which I am not representing today, but it is a rural municipality, not dissimilar to the Glanbrook situation. I also act for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, which I am also not representing today, but I can assure you that a great deal of my practice is taken up with the issue of fill and the regulation of it.

It would be my submission that the bill that is before you today is, first of all, unnecessary and, second of all, excessive in its scope.

It is unnecessary because, first of all, the municipality, to the extent that it is engaged in a subdivision process, has control of grading on its lots as a result of the subdivision plans. Indeed, further, where the municipality has drainage legislation in place, the drainage controls how fill can be placed within any area where drainage is critical.

Section 41 of the Planning Act permits grading to be a consideration on any site plan application, and the municipality is quite open, if it wishes to do so, to impose site plan control on any property within the municipality. I'm willing to wager that they have not chosen in their official plan to put site plan control in their agricultural areas, but that is a policy decision of the municipality. It is not a reason for them now to come and say, "We want another power," when the power to control grading is already there. I admit that it is also contingent upon there being a redevelopment or building being placed on the land.

The other reason I think this is an excessive situation is that the conservation authority already has fill regulations in areas that are environmentally sensitive on the creek beds and river beds within the area. Glanbrook is partly drained into the Niagara area, but it also, I believe, drains into other conservation authority areas. But the regulations none the less are available.


Finally, if fill on the land is a nuisance, it's an item that's actionable between neighbours. It is not something that necessarily invites municipal control. I think it's a balancing of the public and private interests that we're engaged in here and that I would like to address to you as well.

Finally, I understand also from the background to this matter that one of the things that spurred this thing was a collection of what might best be described as trash or rubble on a particular piece of property. The municipality, to the extent that it's dealing with junk, has powers pursuant to the property standards bylaw sections of the Planning Act to, again, impose controls.

If indeed we're trying to address junk, what we're doing is imposing unnecessary restrictions on a legitimate placing of fill for agricultural purposes, which I don't see exempted in the legislation. It may have been amended in the last few minutes, but certainly in the draft that I've received from my client, which was the latest one as of about a week ago, or December 1 when the mailing came out, that does not deal with it.

Also, and this gets into the issue of it being excessive, and it's perhaps appropriate that we shift to that topic as well, I did distinctly hear the counsel for the municipality indicate that there would be no prohibition on the placing of fill. Of course, that's directly contrary to clause 1(1)(a), which empowers a municipality to prohibit or regulate the placing or dumping of fill in defined areas. If in fact there's an amendment to remove "prohibiting" and merely make it "regulating," that leads us again to the excessiveness of this situation.

I think it's best if we contrast what the situation is in the conservation authority regulations with what has been happening here. That very simply is, first of all, the conservation authority's regulations were enacted for a very real purpose, and that was to deal with flooding and the control of storage capacity in the river valleys so that floods would be minimized and the water velocities would be reduced.

When those regulations have been imposed, they've been imposed with some very real objective standards. A person can go and take a look at a map that has elevations on it and lines drawn on it and say, "Yes, I am in" or "I am out." If I am in, then I have to go and obtain a permit from the conservation authority and I have objective standards against which I can measure whether my fill is good fill or bad fill, my construction is appropriate or inappropriate.

There's nothing in this legislation that allows that type of situation or, more particularly, imposes that type of restriction on the municipality in enacting its bylaws. It gives carte blanche to the municipality, whereas for a conservation authority, which I think has a stronger overriding public purpose in controlling fill, a very legitimate purpose of public safety and emergency standards, they are required to bring to the cabinet a series of regulations that sets up how they are going to control the fill and engineering studies to show why the fill would be dangerous in a particular area. There is no control of that nature in this legislation and none proposed. I think that is a dangerous and excessive exercise of municipal authority.

The permits, in effect, could cause considerable difficulty to the construction industry in the Glanbrook area and considerable difficulties to the agricultural community in the area, because there is no reasonable way of determining what the standards are that the municipality is going to impose. I think there should be considerable extra thought given to this bill so that the list of exemptions could be considerably expanded.

Right now, the bureaucracy has looked after itself very well. If you look at section 3, the Environmental Protection Act is considered, the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act is considered. Anybody who's acting under the Crown Agency Act or any regional municipality or conservation authority or school boards are exempted, and anybody who has a licence to operate a pit or quarry.

But where is agriculture in this? Where are they in a specific list of exemptions? Where is the construction industry on the specific list of exemptions?

The problem with the private member's bill -- and I know it's a sincere attempt on the part of the Legislature to circulate and to gain public input, but I think this is a case where the municipality should be sent forth from this room and told to specifically consult with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, with the local federation of agriculture in the Glanbrook area. The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario I know has expressed to my client a concern about this legislation and would like to have further understanding and input into it. I think the Ontario Home Builders' Association should be consulted, at least the local chapter in the area concerning Glanbrook.

A final point I would like to make to you, and this is a bit of a plea as well, because I practise in the areas that are strongly involved with the Ontario Municipal Board, and I know the Chairman is familiar with that: I don't believe the Ontario Municipal Board is equipped, in terms of staff and time, to provide any sort of reasonable remedy.

As a solicitor practising in this area, I will tell you that it is at least, as an absolute rock-bottom minimum, a 12-month wait period for an OMB hearing; 18 months is not an exaggeration. To have somebody tied up on their agricultural process, as to whether or not they can place fill on their land, for an 18-month period is simply an intolerable proposition.

You may consider looking at the drainage tribunal. They're slightly less backlogged, as of when I last dealt with that organization. You may consider referring it to a judge, but the whole problem that the drainage tribunal, the OMB and the judge are all going to have is that there are no objective criteria on which an adjudicator can sit down and say, "Is this reasonable or unreasonable?" That is indeed a major problem that a municipality is going to face in dealing with this, and I have very real concerns about the manner in which this whole bill has been put together.

I know there are bills that are in place, and I know from discussions with some of the individuals locally -- particularly dealing with the town of Lincoln bill, where somebody came along and said: "I'm digging a basement. I've got to put the fill somewhere." "Well, you need a permit." "Can I put it here?" "Well, no" -- and you get into a whole new level of impediments to the public process of making things happen in this province, and I don't think it's an appropriate one. I think the cure is a far bigger problem than the disease it's aimed at. I would ask you to make sure that these other groups are consulted before taking further steps with this legislation. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. Those are my submissions.

The Chair: Does Mr Veri have a few remarks at this point? Then we have some questions from committee members.

Mr Victor Veri: Yes, I do. I have a short statement to make. My name is Victor Veri. I farm for a living. Just recently I've attended several OMB hearings on comprehensive bylaws and how it negatively restricts agricultural uses and rights on agricultural land.

I have had direct contact and have done considerable research with Albert van Donkersgoed, who is the policy research director for Christian Farmers. I am a member of the OFA as well, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and I have been given the authority today to speak for both of these farm organizations that are now recognized as the only farm groups for stable funding. Once that's in place, I'm sure we'll have more money to make our issues known as a group, as a very limited group, it appears, in population in total.

However, it's unfortunate that due to my late notice as of yesterday by mail of this meeting today, I'm unable to round up speakers from both groups. I have conferred with them over the phone and issued them with some documentation, and they both have given me the go-ahead today to speak in their absence.

Christian Farmers have asked that I act on their behalf, that this act not see further passage until the CFFO is given the opportunity to formally address this act, with all the problems it will create on the agricultural sector. In principle, the OFA has similar concerns, and I am also a member of the OFA and have been given the go-ahead to say this today: that they also request a similar halt to any further passage in order for their official concerns be noted, heard and considered.

My own personal question to the members here today is, do we need to rush this through? Why can't proper official representation be given an opportunity to speak against this act? We must be allowed the opportunity. That is my submission.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Veri. I have first Mr Hansen and then Mr Mills.

Mr Hansen: I was here to represent Lincoln for the private bill that was presented. At that particular time, there was a problem, with the subdivisions that were going in, of piling of topsoil: large piles, no grass cover, sitting for three and four years. Sure it's in the site plan, but the people were putting up with sandy loam blowing into their homes adjacent to the subdivision, which hadn't been completed. That was one of the biggest reasons that Lincoln wanted that particular bill so it could move ahead and instruct the subdivider to store this topsoil; either covering it with sod or some means so it wouldn't be blowing around, especially when the subdivision was only half-completed.

Mr Crossingham: Do you want a response to that, if that's appropriate?

Mr Hansen: Yes.

The Chair: Just a moment. I just want to make sure that Hansard got you on record, so introducing you again.

Mr Crossingham: Thank you very much. The light has come on here. I don't know whether that's an important sign or not. I feel liberated.

I think the answer to that is that the subdivision process itself does provide a number of controls, if people sincerely wishing to subdivide are going to be faced with that. But I don't see how that gets to such a broadly sweeping proposition as what we have here. I can understand the cure, but I think the cure there really lies within the Planning Act framework, because you have in that framework an ability to impose such controls as part of the subdivision process; basically, it's a carte blanche. We're dealing in essence with a temporary use of the land while it's being redeveloped. This seems a rather excessive way of going at it, and a more appropriate way would be to tackle it through the planning process itself, which has those controls.

It's my client's concern. When he gave me the bill yesterday, I read it and thought, "What am I going to do when I get up there?" and then I read the bill and said, "This has got some very real problems." I juggled my schedule so I could make it here this morning, because I think it's very important that this not be put through, particularly because of the agricultural repercussions and I think some repercussions on the construction industry. I don't think they should go hog-wild, and I agree with the situation you've posed, but I don't think this is the tool to get at it. That's my concern.

Mr Hansen: At that time, there was no opposition from the farming community in Lincoln. There was only one objector, who had stored a lot of asphalt cement on his property. This was one of the reasons also, that it was an eyesore on Ontario Street, the main street going into Beamsville, and they had no controls to get him to clean it up.

I told the town of Lincoln that the ministry was taking a look at a bill which would cover all of Ontario so all the municipalities didn't have to come forward with their own bills. As stated earlier, there are about five or six municipalities that have found it necessary to come forward with a similar bill. Not being a lawyer, I find that the municipality's hands were tied, so they had to have this bill passed in order to enforce the infilling, let's call it, of certain lands within the municipality.

Mr Crossingham: I have a great deal of respect for the solicitor who acts for Lincoln. I know him well and I've discussed matters with him on a number of occasions, but I know for a fact that in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake we have used our property standards bylaw, which I would have presumed Lincoln has and certainly has the authority already to pass, to clear up rubble and debris situations such as you've outlined. I know the city of St Catharines has taken similar steps.

Part of the problem in this area is there are myriad regulations, not all of them necessarily consistent with each other. There are some great sections in the Municipal Act that make absolutely no sense, and I can think of a few other pieces of legislation where they've gone all over the map because it's a statute that's evolved over 150 years. I believe the authority exists to deal with the type of situation you've outlined without bringing this sort of legislation into life.

Mr Hansen: Maybe, if there's objection from the ministries, rather than us talking back and forth, we could get a clearer picture. I know Mr Mills has a question, but maybe it would be cleared up also.

The Chair: Mr Hayes also has a couple of points to make. Mr Mills, if you could hang on for a second, Mr Hayes has a couple of ministry comments that may clarify a couple of points, and I know the solicitor for the township also wants to make some remarks. Mr Hayes first.

Mr Hayes: Thank you, Madam Chair. On this particular bill, there were some concerns from the ministries of Agriculture and Food and Environment, as well as the OMB and the Attorney General's office. We have tried to address these with some amendments. Even though the issue dealing with normal agricultural practices would be covered under the Farm Practices Protection Act, at the same time, these amendments we have coming forward don't really address the concern with Ag and Food directly. They do with the Drainage Act, because the Ministry of Ag and Food was concerned that municipalities might use the bill to regulate works that are covered under the Drainage Act and prohibit or regulate the dumping of fill, which may be a normal agricultural practice.

I would suggest to the committee, Madam Chair, that we defer this bill until we can address the issue dealing with agricultural lands, normal agricultural practice; an amendment that will address that concern. I'm sure that would satisfy everyone's concern if we were able to do that.

The Chair: I'm first going to turn to the solicitor for the township and then Mr Morrow.

Ms Smith: I just wanted to state, and I alluded to this in my opening comments, that this bill is simply before you today to fill what is perceived in some legal minds as being a hole in the Municipal Act. Municipalities are presently authorized to regulate the dumping of "garbage" and "debris."

It's simply a language issue. There's some concern among certain legal opinions, and Mr Crossingham may disagree with this legal opinion, but there are legal opinions out there that say there may be some doubt whether or not the Municipal Act authorizes the dumping of things like rubble, which fall under the heading "fill." The reason a number of municipalities before the township of Glanbrook have come before the committee to get this legislation is simply to resolve that legal debate.

If Mr Crossingham is right and this legislation is not required, so be it, but there is an ambiguity there and that's why the township and these other municipalities have attempted to resolve that.

There were a number of points I wanted to respond to that Mr Crossingham has brought up, but the major one is that this is enabling legislation. This legislation does not create a system. This legislation authorizes the municipality to create a system for regulation. The passing of that bylaw by any municipality is a public process. Mr Veri and citizens and groups that Mr Veri has alluded to are part of that public process and can and will have input when the system of regulation is devised by the township of Glanbrook. To say that public input should take place at the authorizing legislation stage I think is misguided.

This legislation does not create the system. Agricultural concerns and that sort of thing may very well be part of the system of regulation that the township of Glanbrook ultimately comes up with. It has to respond to its constituents in passing any bylaw. All this legislation does is authorize a bylaw to deal with what may not be already authorized in the Municipal Act.


The Chair: We have obviously generated lots of conversation. Mr Mills did have his hand up earlier, so I'll turn to Mr Mills first and then Mr Morrow.

Mr Mills: I listened to the deputation from Mr Crossingham and all the arguments and I've listened to the arguments from the solicitor representing the township of Glanbrook. What leaves me in a bit of a conundrum is this: We've sat as this committee, you know, and we've passed this type of legislation so many times and heard the same sort of arguments coming forth at that time, but notwithstanding that we gave the respective municipalities the right to bring about some enabling legislation.

I have a problem, if suddenly we've done wrong for all those before and now suddenly we're not going to do this, about consistency. I think that the basis of our decisions must be made upon being consistent as a committee. I would be very perturbed -- and we've heard the list of all those others that have been before us and have been granted this sort of bill to enable them to enact legislation for regulations -- if suddenly we say, "No, we're going to have a second look at this." Then what happens to all those other previous -- perhaps, in my ignorance, there's some comment from the legal staff here or the parliamentary assistant.


Mr Mills: Consistency, yes.

The Chair: I'm not sure what's in the water this morning, but we've all got comedians this morning.

Mr Eddy: Consistency is a virtue.

Mr Hayes: With regard to Mr Mills's concerns, I agree with him wholeheartedly about the consistency, but you also have to take into consideration that the Ministry of Ag and Food, whether it slipped by or whatever, but this is the first time in this particular kind of bill that the Ministry of Ag and Food has actually raised a concern -- not an objection but a concern -- to make sure that no one could come up, I guess, with maybe frivolous charges against a farmer in the area. This is a concern and that's why I made the suggestion that it be deferred so we can address that particular issue dealing with normal agricultural uses.

I'm just making that recommendation to the committee. I don't know if either party has any objections to that, but I think this is just a little housekeeping kind of an amendment to make sure it is spelled out that this will not interfere with normal agricultural practices. That's what the recommendation is.

Mr Morrow: I'm going to concur with Mr Hayes on the fact that I think Ag and Food should have a look at it. The area does have an awful lot of farmers. I also think that maybe the OFA and the Christian heritage farmers association should get involved. I agree that maybe it should go on the back burner for just a while, till the groups are consulted.

Mr Eddy: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I agree with one of the speakers that there certainly is a hole, if you will, in the Municipal Act. Certainly the municipalities need the control to regulate fill. I see it as more of a protection for agriculture indeed than a gross restriction, as has been painted.

I think you have to realize where the township of Glanbrook is located. It's located adjoining the city of Hamilton. There's a lot of fill, no doubt, that comes out of projects in Hamilton, so where does it go? It goes to the nearest places, and Glanbrook is one of those.

I can see, considering that Glanbrook is fairly heavy clay soil, I believe, somewhat poorly drained -- and the drainage is very important. It's all well to say, you know, the Drainage Act and you can go under this act and that act and this other act, but the Municipal Act is a much simpler thing. It should have been in there, which leads me to a request to the ministry to look at this. Let's get an amendment to the Municipal Act and either have it say what it should say or get the thing out of there completely and not have it necessary for municipalities to come forward, as several have, and there will be many others, requesting special legislation to fill this hole that's caused by the Municipal Act.

I sympathize with the view, and of course Mr Veri states the opinions of OFA and the Christian Farmers, but really it has to be a representative from the executive of one of those organizations authorized to speak, because his permission is verbal, his presentation is verbal and it needs a representative from them. I'm prepared to give them the time to look at it certainly and say whether there's some additional wording or an amendment to the bill that might cause them to feel more protected, but I really feel so strongly that this will protect agriculture because it's the drainage situation, and when you dump fill, regardless of the rules, some lands are affected.

I'm upset that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has not come forward and stated through either a representative of the ministry or a written opinion. It should have been here on the other bills. You know, I just don't understand why seven go through and then there's one that's suddenly a concern, unless they've been alerted to it, of course. I think they should have the opportunity to present what they feel about the bill and if they have concerns, but when they come forward with either a written or an oral presentation, I demand to know why they didn't comment on the others. I think we're entitled to know that.

Although I'm in favour, because I realize what municipal governments are faced with, being powerless on so many occasions that they feel they need to restrict or do a corrective thing, although I support it, I certainly feel that any and all comments that people want to make should be considered. Let's take a look at it and see if we can satisfy the concern, if OMAF does indeed have a concern. Thank you.

The Chair: Was there a legal comment to be made from ministry staff? No. We have a couple of other questioners. Mr Hayes, you have something to clarify this morning?

Mr Hayes: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair. It's just a point that, you know, these bills come forward like this and we have a whole list of them. Of course, you do realize that the final report of the Commission on Planning and Development Reform in Ontario -- and that's the Sewell report -- has recommended that the Planning Act and other legislation be amended so that municipalities are permitted to regulate, for example, tree cutting, vegetation removal and changes in elevation and placement and removal of fill and removal of peat. Hopefully with the support of all three parties in this Legislature, we will have that Sewell report passed and up and running and it won't be necessary for these kind of bills, these particular bills in the future.

That would certainly deal with some of these concerns. I think Mr Eddy is correct that municipalities have gone on for too many years where they have been pretty well under the thumb of the senior, provincial government. It just didn't happen. This, the Sewell report, is really giving the municipalities more authority in the hands of the local people, in planning boards and things of that nature, who know what is happening in their community. That is very important and I hope we'll get on with that quickly.

I don't know why there were no representatives here from the Ministry of Ag and Food. I don't disagree with Mr Eddy on his remarks, but I think we should have them really address this issue, and if there's an amendment necessary, they should be the ones who come forward with it.

Mr Fletcher: I was just wondering if a deferral would cause any undue hardship to Glanbrook or the municipality.


Ms Smith: As far as delay and as far as being in this process for over a year now and working through the process in getting the legislation that is before you passed are concerned, I think it would be very unfortunate if this matter was delayed further beyond today, especially given the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food could have come forward today with an amendment. They are consulted just like the other ministries within the provincial government, and if they would like to come forward with an amendment, this is their opportunity to do so. They have chosen not to put an amendment before this committee. Given that and given that the process has been followed to get to this point today, it would be very unfortunate if this matter was not dealt with today.

I agree with Mr Hayes's comments that the Sewell report foresees legislation for all the municipalities in Ontario, legislation that is before you today. Given that foreshadowing and given the fact that the ministry's concerns should have been dealt with today if they were real concerns that they wanted to bring to your attention, I would strongly urge the members to deal with the bill that is before them and to not put it off any longer.

Mr Fletcher: One of the reasons I asked that question is because the deferral could possibly go as late as March or April. I mean, we are in the last few weeks of our session right now.

Mr Eddy: Unless we extend the sittings.

Mr Fletcher: Even if we extend the sittings, there is a possibility that this will not sit next week. But the one thing I was saying was that the deferral could be as late as March, April, May. It all depends on when the private members' stuff comes back. I'm not really in favour of a deferral at all. I think we should just move ahead with this and vote on it. I agree with what Mr Eddy said as far as the Ministry of Ag and Food is concerned. They should have been here if they had concerns.

The Chair: There is a possibility, depending on if we're sitting next week, beyond Tuesday, that this would be the only item on the agenda next Wednesday. Inasmuch as this would be ready, in all likelihood it would probably be the first thing in March when we have it. So then I would think that it would not end up going on necessarily too, too long, if there is a deferral, but that's obviously up to the members to decide.

Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): I don't see any urgency at all with this legislation. In fact, I fail to see the need of it. I know in our own township these problems are covered under the subdivision agreements and the property standards bylaw. To say that there's some urgency here, I don't understand that at all. The developers in my area are frustrated to death now with regulations and I don't think it's more regulation we need. I think it's more jobs we need and more freedom to develop. I could not see myself supporting this as a piece of legislation that's urgent.

Mr Mills: I'd like to say once again that when the parliamentary assistant says that the Ministry of Agriculture has some concerns, it's very difficult for me to conjure up in my mind what the concerns are and the degree of those concerns and how important they are that we go ahead or not go ahead.

Having had some experience in the municipal field, I can have a great deal of empathy with what the solicitor and the township of Glanbrook are telling us, but my fairness in this matter suggests to me that in respect to the Ministry of Agriculture we should give them an opportunity to let us as a committee understand their concerns before we make that decision. My hope is that -- and also in some degree of urgency I see for the township of Glanbrook -- we could accommodate and get this decision before us next Wednesday morning so that we could go ahead and make a decision then, because it's my understanding, barring a miracle, that we will be here next Wednesday, contrary to the cutoff date.

I'd just like to know from the clerk of the committee if that would be possible, because I think we should know that and the people at Glanbrook should know that, that we could deal with this next Wednesday in an expedient fashion rather than have it hanging over their head till March.

The Chair: The clerk and I had conferred while members were speaking and we did determine that if in fact we are sitting next week and, on behalf of the committee, if it is deferred, this would in all likelihood be the only item up for next Wednesday and we could deal with it in an expeditious manner.

Mr Mills: Okay. Good. Having heard that -- thank you, Madam Chair -- I will support a deferment.

The Chair: But that is only if the House is sitting beyond Tuesday.

Mr Mills: Well, we'll be here.

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, you have a question, and then Mr Eddy.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): Well, it wasn't a question that I was after. I was just going to ask for a minute so that we could caucus, but I think that Mr Mills has cleared it up for me. If this group wants the one minute, I would request that the Chair permit that before we make a decision on it.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Perruzza. Mr Eddy?

Mr Eddy: I just want to point out that my concern is not so much with OMAF, because OMAF has gotten notice of all the previous bills that have come from municipalities and has had ample opportunity to make representations to this committee and indeed has had the opportunity to make a presentation to this committee. If they had a concern, they damn well should have been here to do it, or they're not doing their job. Now, that's harsh, but that's the way it is.

My concern is more the local scene. If the Christian Farmers association wants a bit more time to look at this and come in with a comment, if the federation of agriculture or indeed the farmers of Glanbrook just as a group want to discuss it and make a presentation or a comment on it, then that's what I want to allow for. The local scene is what I'm more concerned about, realizing that the township is in a difficult position because it is beside the city of Hamilton and there is probably at times a tremendous amount of fill available, probably free, and where does it go? You know, it's agricultural land that it goes on. So I see it being a plus for agriculture as well as a restriction, but I think that's up to probably the farmers and the farm organizations to say.

Mr Jordan: More regulations.

Mr Eddy: Yes, it is true, but as we become a more complex --


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Eddy: It's all right. I can talk over anybody. As it becomes a more complex society and more crowded, it's necessary to have more rules.

The other point on that is that the rule was intended, in my belief as a former municipal official, to be in the Municipal Act in the first place, which probably isn't the best place for it anyway. I have to agree with that.


Mr Eddy: Yes. In view of the shortness of time, I will agree with the majority.


The Chair: Thank you, and I note that Mr Veri would like to make a comment at this point. Mr Eddy and a number of other of our members have had a few years at municipal government, so they have a way of making their views known. So my apologies if at times we seem a bit disorderly. Please, Mr Jordan, at this point let's allow the deputant to make a comment. Mr Veri.

Mr Veri: Thank you, Madam Chairman. I wish to address a couple of things raised by various speakers: Mr Pat Hayes, Mr Eddy and Mr Jordan.

Mr Hayes, you're correct. The Farm Practices Protection Act does allow farmers to do certain things, but if you read the act, and I've read it and I've probably memorized it, everything is subject to local bylaws of the municipality. So if there's a bylaw in there, whether a farmer -- it's a given right; he's got to respect the bylaw. I've been through two OMBs and two comprehensive bylaws and boy, oh, boy, a lot of things get through and people don't even realize it.

Mr Eddy, you have mentioned, why is not the department of agriculture here and why is --

Mr Eddy: Please don't defend them.

Mr Veri: I can tell you honestly, they were not on my side at the beginning because they didn't realize what was happening in these comprehensive bylaws. When they got informed, they got on the so-called bandwagon, but they also have a staffing problem. Cash flow is very tight in all departments, including the department of agriculture.


On the third issue, the Christian Farmers organization would happily have been here today if I had only been able to give them a little more notice. I only got the letter yesterday. I opened it yesterday. I was lucky to have my solicitor here today. That's all. I have the letter. I have it here in presence. I can show any member of this committee. It's unfortunate, but I do feel that I wasn't given enough time.

Mr Eddy: I agree with you.

Mr Veri: The OFA had a meeting last night and this matter was talked about and they gave me the authority to be here and say the same thing.

Mr Jordan, I have to agree with you. I'm pro business. I'm an entrepreneur, a farmer entrepreneur. I'm not against regulations, but I think you're correct: We've got to watch regulations because I don't think we have the manpower to enforce half of them any more.

Summing it up, Madam Chairman, I would request that this matter be deferred. I just --


The Chair: Mr Perruzza, please, order. Allow the deputant to speak. I think he has every right to be heard.

Mr Veri: Thank you. I know it's an emotional matter and I can live with it; I'm Italian. However --

The Chair: You can talk to him outside. Talk to him outside. Okay?

Mr Veri: Madam Chairman, I request that this committee consider and defer this matter, hopefully beyond next week, because to do justice to this matter and to get the department of agriculture to get into this and do some research is impossible; no one can do it in a week. I can just tell you it's almost physically impossible to do service to this matter, because this matter isn't just this matter. It's all the bills that are coming before you. I know Stoney Creek is introducing a similar bill. I haven't been notified when that's coming up. It's another private member's bill on filling. I think this is monkey see, monkey do, and to be consistent, just pass it whether it's good legislation or not. So, please, I ask everyone to defer this matter.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Veri. I just wanted to, on behalf of the clerk and the committee, say there were several attempts to contact you. One of the problems in getting information to you was that --


The Chair: Maybe rather than speaking through me, we'll allow the clerk to make her explanation as to the problems of getting this out to you.

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Tonia Grannum): I think one of the problems was the fact that the bill was introduced and then it was ready for the committee for the next week, so we didn't have much lead time to contact you. We tried to contact you on the phone. The only other option was to mail it, so we tried our best.

Mr Veri: I'm sure you did.

The Chair: We have two more questioners and then I will in fact pose the question if we are ready to vote. Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I don't want to belay this, but this concern of the agriculture bothers me. It seems to me that contrary to what the solicitor opposite there has said, and I forget the gentleman's name, that it takes time and time and time. I would like to know if we can get some comment from the Ministry of Agriculture. They're not a stone's throw away from this building. What I would like to do is move on to Bill Pr39, set this down for a minute and have some attempts to speak to someone in Agriculture to give us what this concern is. I am not about to agree to let this go on for an unlimited amount of time, and I would like to, as I said, deal with this no later than next Wednesday, if not sooner.

I would think that we could get some input that would allow us to make some rational decision, not based on hearings or whatever but from some direct one-on-one discussion with someone from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Chair: Mr Hayes would like to offer some explanation at this point.

Mr Hayes: I understand where Mr Mills is coming from, but it's a long stone's throw away because the people who comment on this particular type of bill are in Guelph, so we couldn't get them here that quick.

Mr Mills: Oh, I see. I thought they were on Bay Street.

Mr Hayes: I think, in all fairness, Madam Chair, to the Ministry of Ag and Food, I don't disagree with anyone here that they should have had representation, whether it be in writing or verbally, right here. But they also did make recommendations dealing with the draining act. We got that far with them, and that's one of those amendments that are in front of the members.

Mr Mills: Here.

Mr Hayes: That's all I have to say, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Mr Morrow, I think actually for your question, if you're still interested in making any comments, you may have to shift slightly to get to a microphone.

Mr Morrow: I'll move over here. Considering all the concerns that have come forward this morning, I would agree with the deputant and ask that it be deferred.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: Yes, it is important. Well, I try to have important things to say at all times, but --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: Because I am in favour of giving it more time for local input -- I think that it's awfully important, and that you err that way -- the question I had is, would it not be possible and good to proceed with the amendments so that the amendments are passed by us and in the bill, and then anybody looking at the bill would see the bill as amended rather than the way it stands? Because they won't know about these proposed amendments. They're all important, of course, but I think the one that I've just happened to look at, the third one, is an amendment following clause (e) in section 3 and brings in the Drainage Act, which is so important.

It's so that whoever looks at this would have the amendments. Maybe just attaching them is good enough, but could I have your view on that, Madam Chair?

The Chair: There is at least a logistical problem. The amendments would not be reprinted in the bill until actually the bill was passed.

What would be appropriate, I think, for anybody who was interested in receiving this package: Obviously the clerk can make available what we have in hand, which is the Pr bill, the compendium, the proposed amendments and, as well, if anyone is interested, the discussions on this in the Hansard documents relating to this committee, so that they would have a complete look at what has been discussed. But until it's passed, you won't get another reprinting.

That would mean that there would be costs incurred for everybody. So the bill in effect would not be printed with amendments until it's reported, and it has to be passed to be reported. So we do have a concern there.

Mr Perruzza, you had an additional question.

Mr Perruzza: Madam Chair, what I'd like to do, and in the hope of trying to move us along, is propose a motion that the bill be deferred to the earliest possible meeting of the committee and that the clerk be instructed to advise or communicate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the federation of agriculture, the Christian heritage farmers --

Mr Veri: Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario.

The Chair: Just Christian Farmers.


Mr Perruzza: -- Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario that we're in fact considering this, and that if they'd like to make representations to the bill, they be advised to do so, and when all of that happens, we bring it back and deal with it then. So that's my motion, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Thank you. Members have heard Mr Perruzza's motion. Does anyone need Mr Perruzza to repeat his motion?

Mr Fletcher: Yes.

The Chair: Would you please read your motion again?

Mr Perruzza: I move that this bill be deferred to the earliest possible meeting of the committee wherein the Ministry of Agriculture and Food have been advised through the clerk's department to make representation to the bill, the federation of agriculture has been advised and the Christian heritage --

The Chair: No, just Christian Farmers.

Mr Perruzza: -- Christian Farmers Federation have been advised in same.

That's my motion, Madam Chair, and then at that point it be brought back and we deal with it, so to allay Mr Eddy's concern and some of the concerns of the ministry and some of the local members' concerns as well.

The Chair: Is there any discussion on the motion by Mr Perruzza? Mr Hayes and then Mr O'Neill.

Mr Hayes: Thank you, Madam Chair. I don't really feel that it's necessary that we have to bring the farm organizations next week to this committee. I think Mr Veri -- or Beri? I'm sorry.

The Chair: Mr Veri.

Mr Veri: "Veri" easy to remember.


Mr Hayes: If we get the amendment from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, I think that should meet the concerns of the members of this committee and, I think, of both parties here. I don't want to speak on your behalf, but if Mr Veri chose to go to the farm organizations and bring a letter of support, I don't have any problem with that. But I don't think it's necessary, because we're talking about expediting this thing.

Mr Perruzza: On a point of clarification, Madam Chair, about my motion: I think Mr Hayes misunderstood it. You simply communicate to them, through the clerk of the committee, that we're dealing with it, and then it's their choice whether they want to come and make representation. That's just so they don't come back later with a nasty letter and say, "Gee, you guys dealt with this and you never gave us an opportunity to respond to it in any way." Leave them that option.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Perruzza. In fact, anyone interested in any of these private bills is able to come forward and make representation, as Mr Veri and Mr Crossingham have done, so that would be very appropriate to do.

Mr Hugh O'Neil (Quinte): I think my question has been answered. The only other point I would make is, will the Legislature be sitting next Wednesday?

The Chair: The motion basically says "at the earliest time," so if we sit in March, this would be the first order of business. If we sit next week, it would be the first order of business. It depends on when we will be sitting. There is always the likelihood that we will be sitting until December 16. Mr Morrow and then Ms Smith.

Mr Morrow: It is important that this be deferred, because it's been mentioned that there's going to be a private member's bill coming from the city of Stoney Creek. That's true. The private member's bill should come forward in March or April, and it's very similar. If we can resolve the problem in this bill with the township of Glanbrook, we can resolve the next bill, which is also in my riding of Wentworth East.

Ms Smith: I'd like to inquire of the Chair when it will be known whether the committee will be sitting next Wednesday.

The Chair: I usually refer to my name, that if I had a "Christel" ball, I would be well ahead of the game. But I do not have that crystal ball. The time frames for our political lives change moment by moment. I cannot, in any firm way, give you any assurance that we will be sitting. There is a very clear possibility that we could be here till December 16. At this point, the 14th has been discussed with seriousness by all House leaders, but that does not mean we could not see an extension by a couple of days.

Ms Smith: The difficulty I foresee is in giving notice to these parties. As Mr Perruzza has suggested, if it's not known that the House is sitting on Wednesday until Tuesday, how effective would that notice be?

The Chair: The way the motion is in fact proposed, the clerk would, hopefully, as we conclude today, inform those parties that this is coming forward, either as soon as next week or possibly in March, and that they should be prepared for either eventuality and should, in that case, inform themselves and be prepared to be here.

Ms Smith: Thank you.

The Chair: I think we are done with questioners.

Mr O'Neil: Excuse me. If there's some real necessity on this thing, there's always the chance, if we weren't sitting on Wednesday, that we could meet Tuesday. No?

The Chair: No. You'd need permission from the House leaders to do so. In light of the fact that there are already several other committees sitting on that same day, and with House time being what it is, I would suspect that's going to be difficult to fit into a very full schedule. But you always are free to discuss that with your own House leader to see how that evolves during the sessions the House leaders hold.

Mr O'Neil: I wonder if I could ask the parliamentary assistant whether he might have any other suggestion.

Mr Hayes: No, I don't.

The Chair: We always like a blunt and honest response.

I will put forward the question of whether members are prepared to vote on Mr Perruzza's motion, which is the motion to defer to the earliest next meeting of this committee, which would conceivably be as soon as next week or as early in March as possible. All those in favour of Mr Perruzza's motion, please show. Anyone against? The motion is carried to defer.

Mr Crossingham: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Thank you to the deputants. We will attempt to keep you as informed as possible about what is happening, but don't hesitate to give our respective offices a call just to keep up to date on what is transpiring.


Consideration of Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the United Townships of Dysart, Bruton, Clyde, Dudley, Harcourt, Eyre, Guilford, Harburn and Havelock.

The Chair: I call Mr Waters and the deputants relating to Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the United Townships of Dysart, Bruton, Clyde, Dudley, Harcourt, Eyre, Guildford, Harburn and Havelock. Thankfully, I don't have to rhyme those off in my sleep.

Mr Waters, would you be so kind as to introduce your applicants, please.

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have with me today Mr Stephen Woodcock, who is the solicitor for the combined townships; that is probably the easiest way to refer to them as we go through the proceedings today.

The bill is fairly straightforward. It is to allow the township to put the costs of improvements on Hodgson Drive and Moon Road in the township of Dysart to be assessed against the lots benefiting from the improvement and with that, I will turn it over for discussion. I would relinquish the mike to Mr Stephen Woodcock, the solicitor.

Mr Stephen Woodcock: I would just indicate that the proposed legislation is essentially enabling legislation which would allow a municipality to pass a local improvement type of bylaw. There is of course in existence the Local Improvement Act, and you will see from the text of the proposed legislation that the proposal for the cost-sharing of the improvements to the two roads, being Moon Road and Hodgson Drive, would essentially be shared by the benefitting land owners on an equal basis as opposed to a frontage basis. There are some 26 lots which front upon these two respective roadways.

This application by the township was made at the behest of the land owners which are both inside and outside of this subdivision. The subdivision itself contains some 25 lots which abut the roads. There are five lots outside of the plan of subdivision itself which do abut upon the roads that were created by virtue of the subdivision.

The subdivision was registered in 1977, and the difficulty the residents are faced with, as well as the municipality, is that during the development of the subdivision, the developer went bankrupt and the roads were not completed to acceptable standards for acceptance by the municipality.

Under the plan of subdivision, the agreement that was entered into, there was a clause in there that the municipality would not grant building permits in the event that there was default by the developer in completing the subdivision.

I understand that four permits were granted for people to build homes within the subdivision prior to the default occurring, and the remainder of the lots in the subdivision are vacant and cannot be built upon because permits will not be granted to develop houses on a road which is substandard and not acceptable for heavy traffic. Therefore, the landowners quite legitimately want the road completed and improved and accepted by the municipality to enable them to build upon their land.


As I indicated to you, there are five lots outside of the plan of subdivision, and those lots are treated somewhat differently. They are not covered by the subdivision agreement. Those lots are entitled to building permits and can be built upon without any apparent limitation.

One of the abutting land owners who owns three lots outside the subdivision are a Mr and Mrs Sinclair. I can indicate to the committee that Mr Sinclair is present. I would like to make some brief comments upon what I would anticipate his objections are to this proposed legislation.

It's obvious that the main consideration in this case is cost, cost to each lot owner. I would just indicate that the only deviation from the existing legislation is how those costs are to be shared: As opposed to frontage, it would be on an equal basis.

The same protection is enshrined in the proposed legislation for those people to object to the bylaw. If in fact a majority of the land owners object to it, representing more than 50% of the value of the abutting properties, then of course the municipality cannot pass the proposed bylaw in question. So there is that protection which is carried forth from the Local Improvement Act.

It is my understanding that Mr Sinclair's point, and perhaps a legitimate point, is that he would be entitled to permits for his three lots -- rather, the two that are vacant -- and that he can get those permits without limitation. In other words, he is not bound by the subdivision agreement and therefore there is a cost being imposed, if you will, on he and the other land owners outside the subdivision for improvement to the roads for the benefit of the land owners which are within the plan of subdivision. I suppose that's a legitimate point.

I would only indicate, however, that if this mechanism isn't employed, then there is the existing mechanism under the Local Improvement Act to do it on a frontage basis. It was deemed by the vast majority of the people, both inside and outside the plan of subdivision, that given the nature of the road and the area in question, it was more equitable to have the costs shared on an equal basis as opposed to a frontage basis.

Subject to any questions from the committee, that completes my submission.

The Chair: As you state that Mr Sinclair has declared himself an interested party, if Mr Sinclair is present -- Mr Sinclair, would you like to join us here at the front and make your representation with regard to the bill that is before.

Mr O'Neil: Madam Chair, I notice there are a couple of other letters from people by the name of Clarkson. Are there any other people here besides --

The Chair: No. The clerk has canvassed the group, and the rest of the people present at the moment are ministry staff who are going to be here making a report on regulations; there are some Municipal Affairs people.

But I will definitely ask the question: If there is anyone else in the audience who would like to come forward on this particular matter and state their concerns, please come forward now.

Mr Sinclair is the only one who has come forward at this point. Mr Sinclair, please continue.

Mr John Sinclair: With regard to the Clarksons, they have since sold their property. I don't know what the situation is from there.

I was advised a week ago today by telephone of this particular meeting, and a letter arrived yesterday. It seems to be a common situation today.

However, my wife and I are the joint tenants of the properties shown as parts 1, 2, and 3 of plan 19R-1584. Those are listed in category B of schedule B of the proposed bill.

As Mr Woodcock stated, we are outside of the subdivision in question. We are between the subdivision and the main highway. With regard to that situation, I have several points and I have a copy here for the Chair when I'm finished, if you wish. However, I have several points that I wish to object, first of all.

The first point is that our deed clearly states that we have right of way on this road on the easterly limits of our properties for a distance of 66 feet from plan 567, which is the registered plan in question, southeasterly to Highway 121. There's nothing on our deed indicating the present or future responsibility for the upgrading or improvement of this road. In fact, the reason we purchased this property was, in part, for its privacy.

The second point: The proposed improvements to the roads, Hodgson Drive and Moon Road, within plan 567 will be extensive while the remainder of the road from plan 567 to Highway 121, which fronts our property, will be very minimal, if any. Yet under this proposal we would have to pay the same as those a half a mile up the road in the subdivision beyond us.

I might also note here that the road known as Moon Road has had nothing done with it since 1977 -- there are trees growing in the middle of it -- and we have to pay for a situation such as that, fronting over 2,000 feet of road.

Item 4: No reference is made in the proposed bill for improvements to the entrance of this road from Highway 121. The improvements to this entrance will be extensive and thus expensive. Again, who pays for this improvement? Believe me, it will be an extensive improvement, because the entrance is on the crest of a hill. Under the Ministry of Transportation, they won't allow just a straight road on to this. There has to be an easement, perhaps even purchase of property, which has never been addressed in this proposal.

My comment here is that in subsection 2(3) of the proposal all of these property owners listed will be subject to any of the greater cost beyond the figure indicated of $83,200. I would suggest that perhaps the entrance alone might be in excess of that figure, and there's been no suggestion of that whatsoever.

I missed item 3 on my proposal. I'll go back to that. It's something that Mr Woodcock alluded to a bit. On a per-lot basis, someone owning a lot with 200 feet of frontage on the proposed road to be improved pays the same as someone with over 1,000 feet -- for instance, lot number 14 -- or with over 3,400 feet, which is block A. This is hardly equitable, in my opinion.

Item 5: The original estimate for the improvements of the road is stale. I was approached two days after I moved in in July 1992 with a petition showing a figure which, by the way, is not the $83,200 shown here, and since then the province has implemented provincial sales tax on sand and gravel. That is not included in this figure.

We have been told by local residents that the municipality maintained this road between Highway 121 and plan 567 from time to time in the past. If this was the case -- which I am not absolutely positive, and the township denies it to me -- then why must we pay to have it further improved? This is the section, again, that fronts our property.

With regard to the specific proposed bill itself, my wife and I have the following comments and objections to make on some of the various sections and subsections, first of all subsections 1(1) and (2). There is no mention of improvements to the road adjacent to those lots listed in category B of schedule B of the proposal -- that's the road in front of our property -- but still the cost is assessed to those lots without any improvement indicated. Also, there is no reference made to the upgrading and improvement of the entrance off Highway 121, no reference to the cost of this and to whom the cost of this is to be assessed.


Subsection 2(1) of the proposal: The assessment on a per-lot basis is unacceptable to us. Some lots have 200 feet of frontage on the proposed road improvement while others have in excess of 1,000 feet; one is over 3,400 feet. The road fronting some of the lots is completely overgrown with trees and brush and so on. That's the Moon Road.

Regarding subsection 2(3), the figure shown of $83,200 varies slightly from the original figure that was shown to us on the original request. We have yet to see or hear any of the following.

Does this figure originate from a firm written tender from a contractor or road builder? We don't know who it's from. We don't know whether it was put out to tender.

Does the contract price include the upgrading of the entrance off Highway 121? No indication whatsoever.

Does the price include the improvement of the road adjacent to the lots in category B of schedule B of the proposed bill? Those are our lots.

Is there in fact a binding contract of any kind?

In the proposal, there is no section 3 indicated. Is this a missing section? Is there something that we haven't been told? Is it written in or is it just forgotten?

The same with section 4: What does it say?

Our opinion, my wife's and mine as joint tenants on the lots that I indicated, is that we feel it's been misrepresented to us. This particular bill is incomplete and ill-conceived.

I have some other comments. I'll try not to take too much more of your time.

We are amazed that the municipality, in its wisdom, did not upgrade the roads years ago so that it could have obtained full taxes on all the lots concerned. This of course would have promoted the development of the entire plan 567. The municipality would then reap full taxes on fully developed land instead of half taxes on developmentally frozen vacant lots.

Further, it is well within the mandate of the municipality to place a lot levy on all of the undeveloped lots, release the building freeze and obtain the funds to upgrade the road without hammering the rest of the taxpayers.

In conclusion, we do not feel we should be subjected to these proposed excessive assessments that should have been borne by the developer of plan 567 and enforced by the township of Dysart. Both parties did not fulfil their obligations, in our opinion, and both should be accountable. Since the developer is no longer touchable, then it rests solely on the shoulders of the municipality and should not be dumped on the innocent parties in the area.

We feel very, very strongly about this situation. We don't think it was presented to us properly. There are just too many vagaries in here. It's vague, it's incomplete and we don't know what we're paying for. They tell us $83,200, but if it goes higher than that it's going to be assessed to us. How much higher? The road superintendent, I understand, is the one who's going to be overseeing it. We have no say in it at all.

The road in front of our property, according to this, is not going to be touched at all. Yet we have to pay for another mile and a half of road beyond us, part of which is all grown over with trees and brush and whatever. Whatever culverts were put in aren't doing the job at all and they're all rusted out. I don't know why we have to pay for it. That's all.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Sinclair. Mr Hayes, do you have some comments to make on behalf of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Eddy: You get the first crack.

The Chair: No one else put up their hand, so what can I say?

Mr Hayes: Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the presentation that was made.

The Chair: Neither do I.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, just to tell you right up front, is not objecting to this particular bylaw. But in section 4 I think there's something that the members should look at here, (1), (2) and (3). It does deal with --

Mr Sinclair: We don't have (3).

Mr Hayes: Oh, you don't have that.

The Chair: We'll get you a copy.

Mr Hayes: I'm just wondering, Mr Sinclair, if this may meet some of your concerns.

The Chair: Please continue.

Mr Hayes: If the Chair will bear with me, I'll read it. Subsection 4(1): "Before passing a bylaw" -- and we're talking about the municipality here -- "under section 1, the council of the corporation shall notify the owners of the lots to be specially assessed of its intention to pass the bylaw."

So they have to notify the owners prior to passing this particular bylaw. And then, (2) "The notice shall be served by mailing it to each owner at the address shown in the last revised assessment roll of the municipality."

I think the other part here that's important is (3), the passing of the bylaw, "Unless within one month after the mailing of the notice, a majority of the owners representing at least one-half of the value of the lots that are to be specially assessed petition the council not to pass the bylaw, the council may pass the bylaw," one or the other. My understanding, Mr Sinclair, is that the people will be notified prior to the corporation passing the bylaw or not passing the bylaw, so I just wanted to make that point.

Mr Sinclair: I have a map here of the subdivision in question. May I open it?

The Chair: Surely yes, you may.

Mr Sinclair: It'll just give you some perception of what's taking place. It's rather large.

The Chair: I don't know if you can put it up over here. There are some clips up here on the wall. You may have to use Mr Cooper's microphone to make any comments.

Mr Eddy: Can I ask a question?

The Chair: Mr Jordan actually was first.

Mr Jordan: I just have a question of clarification really. Is this piece of road considered a township road or is it one of these township roads where the township is not taking any responsibility for it because it hasn't been maintained over a number of years?

The Chair: Mr Woodcock, if you'd like to move forward please, and speak into the microphone.

Mr Woodcock: On the plan of subdivision it was dedicated as a public road, but within the agreement it was agreed to by the developer that it would not be assumed by the municipality until it was brought up to a certain standard, an MTO-regulated standard. That was not done and it has not been assumed for maintenance by the municipality.

Mr Jordan: Well, then, why --

The Chair: Mr Eddy may have a supplementary here, but Mr Jordan, please continue.

Mr Jordan: In follow-up to your statement relative to that question, then why is the township getting involved? Why is it not up to the property owners to bring the road up to standard and then turn it over to the township?

Mr Woodcock: That's in essence what is happening here. The impetus for this proposed legislation was the land owners. They came to council with a petition signed by most of the people within the plan of subdivision. They said to council, "We will pay for the upgrading of this road and the improvement of the road, if you will accept it." That is the basis upon which the council passed the resolution to ask for this piece of legislation. The reason that the Local Improvement Act was not used was that the residents desired, in their collective wisdom, to have the costs shared on an equal basis as opposed to a frontage basis, which is what is provided for under the Local Improvement Act.

Mr Eddy: A somewhat complicated matter. Who was supposed to upgrade the road? The developer?

Mr Woodcock: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Where is he?

Mr Woodcock: He's bankrupt and disappeared.

Mr Eddy: It's unfortunate the solicitor for the previous hearing was not present to hear that all things can be solved under the Planning Act. Anyway, are you telling us then that under the provisions of the Local Improvement Act it has to be on a frontage basis? You don't have any alternative?


Mr Woodcock: That's correct.

Mr Eddy: And there's never been anything allowed under there that you can sit down and negotiate something. It's got to be under that act.

Mr Woodcock: That's correct.

The Chair: Mr Sinclair, you have put up your map. You are going to have to speak into the mike to be on record. It might be a little hard for members to see, but could you possibly point out some of the concerns you have had with regard to the bill.

Mr Sinclair: Does this register now?

Our particular properties, my wife's and mine, are shown outlined by the yellow. The road in question that passes in front of our properties is to the right-hand side of the vertical yellow line. Highway 121 is to the south or the bottom of the map.

Moon Road, which I referred to as being grown over, actually is in error; it should've been Hodgson Road. The point indicated on the map as Hodgson Road from this point to this point is fully overgrown, full of trees. You can get a snowmobile down it if you're lucky. In fact, one of the local entrepreneurs has attached on to it as a cross-country ski trail.

There are no houses on these lots at all, with the exception of the corner. The only other house in the subdivision itself is one here which used to be the Clarksons', as somebody mentioned, who weren't here. There's a house further up. There are two houses up there. There's one at the end and, as I mentioned, one on the corner here. I might add that this lot is over 1,000-foot frontage on that road and uphill to boot, and it's a tractor trail.

My objection really is, why should I have to pay for all of this work that's going to be done in here? Mind you, we're going to have a good road, supposedly, in front of our properties, but why should I be assessed for all of this that's going on in there? It's virtually an undeveloped subdivision. No work's been done on it, with the exception of a couple of local people with a drag-line behind their truck, and we pay one of the local people to snowplow it in the wintertime.

I was one of the signators on the original petition but, as I said, he approached me the second day and we were still living out of boxes, that this was a good thing, this was a firm cost and so on: "Don't worry about it." I know he meant well. I'm not criticizing the gentleman at all. He's the gentleman who lives on the very farthest end of the road and it's to his benefit to have it.

My wife and I personally would not object if it were done on an equitable basis, on a per-foot frontage. But when we do it on a lot basis, some of those lots are a 1,000-foot frontage on that road; some of them have no road at all and have to pay to have it built.

The other big item, the big, big question is, who pays for the improvement of the entrance off Highway 121? It's a dangerous entrance. It's on the brow of a hill. Vast improvements are going to have to be done to that. Who pays for it? Is that the hidden greater cost that all we lot owners are going to be assessed? Too many questions, and not enough fact.

The Chair: A final comment, Mr Woodcock, before I put the question.

Mr Woodcock: I would indicate that Mr Sinclair's concern concerning the costs were considered by the municipality, and I might indicate that the cost figures that were arrived at were obtained by the land owners and presented to the municipality.

There was some concern about the accuracy of those costs, and that's why we have proposed a section to allow for greater costs in the event that costs exceed the $83,200 figure. That again, however, would be when the contract, if this legislation is passed, is ultimately let. Certainly the residents would have an opportunity to review that and object to the cost if they saw fit to do so under section 4 of the legislation, so there is and will be a continuing right for them to object.

As Mr Sinclair has pointed out, there certainly is a benefit accruing to him by virtue of this proposed upgrading. I take his point. I think his point is much the same as anyone else's would be: "I'm the first lot. Why should I pay for someone who's down at the end of the subdivision?" I suppose that's a legitimate point.

I would point out, however, that under the existing statutory framework of the Local Improvement Act, any property owner is faced with the same circumstance and the same set of considerations. This legislation doesn't deviate in that respect from what he would otherwise be faced with under the Local Improvement Act. The difference, as he has pointed out, is the method of sharing that cost component.

The Chair: First Mr Eddy, and then Mr Hansen.

Mr Eddy: I'm concerned about the cost of the project. It's unfortunate that the developer was allowed to escape, if I can use that term. If the township proceeds with this work, would it attract the MTO road subsidy? Is that a possibility or not? Has the municipality explored that?

Mr Woodcock: I understand that it would not be possible, given that it's a redevelopment of the road and the subsidies are considerably curtailed.

Mr Eddy: Is there any possibility that you would be able to have this as a project approved under the Jobs Ontario program or under -- I guess not -- the new infrastructure program that we understand is going to bring some money? Have you explored all possibility of attracting funds? Normally, when a road is built the property owners do not have to bear the full cost of it, taking any other situation in the municipality. I must say, most municipalities have a number of kilometres of unimproved road that are kind of bush trails; it's decided to upgrade it, improve it, make it useful, passable, and it proceeds out of the budget of the municipality, which attracts MTO subsidy, and of course it's done because of the property, and all the properties in the municipality pay towards it.

I know your circumstance is a little different, but is there any way at all that you can see that you could attract funds, so that the property owners who have been left holding the bag -- it's not the municipality; it's really the property owners in this case who have been left holding the bag. Is there any help, or indeed would the municipality pay part of the cost in view of the fact that it's improving what should be a municipal road because it serves local ratepayers? Any possibility?

Mr Woodcock: I would indicate that right, wrong or indifferent, the council has taken the position that it would not contribute funds towards the road.

Mr Eddy: Not anything?

Mr Woodcock: That's my understanding of it.

Mr Eddy: But those people do pay towards upkeep of all other municipal roads in the municipalities.

Mr Woodcock: I don't disagree with that comment at all. I'm just indicating what council has indicated.

The Chair: In the interest of time, as we are coming up to our deadline, Mr Hansen.

Mr Hansen: I understand that the comment you made was that the people at the end felt -- Mr Sinclair? I didn't hear your quote that because you're at the very beginning of the road you shouldn't have to pay for the road beyond. It should be shared equally among all owners of lots and frontage, which is normally done with sidewalks, sewers, anything else that goes in. It's all equally shared throughout that subdivision.

That subdivision had never had complete approval by the municipality? It was never handed over, the roads? It was still, in a sense, a private subdivision?

Mr Woodcock: That's correct.

Mr Mills: I subscribe to fairness on the basis of footage, and I don't see why they should all be equal. If you've got more frontage you should pay more, and if you've got less you should pay less, so I'm not going to support this.

The Chair: I will put the question. Are members ready to vote?

Interjection: It depends.

The Chair: Well, you can either vote for or against, not to make it too obvious, unless a member wants to put forward another motion? No.

Shall sections 1 through 8 carry? No.

Shall the preamble carry? No.

Shall the title carry? No.

Shall the bill carry? No.

Shall schedules 1 and 2 carry? No.

Shall I report the bill to the House? No.

I'm sorry, Mr Woodcock.

Mr Woodcock: Thank you for your time.

Mr Sinclair: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Sinclair. Another interesting morning, and I thank the members for their time.

The committee adjourned at 1201.