MV resident questions legality of Apr.23 Public Meeting

Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a letter sent on April 20, 2024 to all members of the Madawaska Valley Council, and to Brittany Tomasini, MV Deputy Clerk. Click HERE to download/read the draft By-Law mentioned in the letter.


I would like to request that the public meeting for File No.2024-03 scheduled for Apr. 23/24 be cancelled and rescheduled to a later date when proper notice for it has been given under Section 34(12a)(i) of the Planning Act on the grounds that proper notice as required by that Section has not been given for the proposed meeting.

I have copied the relevant Section below in an appendix and also attached a copy of the draft amending by-law of which I obtained a printed copy from the hand of Mr. Desjardins, the planning manager, on Apr. 18/24 at ca 3:45 pm during a personal visit to the municipal offices at 85 Bay St.

The draft bylaw proposes to essentially confiscate without compensation a portion of the property rights of each Commercial property owner and tenant and lessee in the Township by arbitrarily cancelling their ancient and long-standing and undoubted right since time immemorial and since at least the original Crown surveys in this area circa 1855 and subsequent patenting of Crown lots to keep “Storage Containers and Trailers” on their property and which right was acknowledged and recognized in the original Zoning Bylaw of 2006.

This will grossly impair the utility and attendant market value of these properties to no good effect and in gross violation of the common-law legal traditions and other statutes of the Province of Ontario and also in gross and apparently willful defiance of the Township’s obligation to conform generally with provincial policies, as clearly required by Sections 2 and 3 of the Planning Act, and apparently for entirely frivolous reasons strongly indicative of progressive insanity by some municipal officials and this action amounts to a gross and outrageously blatant confiscation without compensation of the long-established property rights of the owners of these Commercial lots. This is actually quite illegal under Common Law and other Provincial statutes as well as under the Planning Act.

Since the Township clearly intends to confiscate without compensation part of the property rights of Commercial owners as well as to inflict a major and possibly illegal zoning change on Commercial owners, then it is obligated both under Common Law and other Provincial statutes pertaining to land law and by at least the spirit of Section 34(12a)(i) of the Planning Act and by the general dictates of Sections 2 and 3 which bind the Township to conform to provincial policies at all times to directly notify each and every owner and tenant of Commercial property in the Township by receipted and confirmed delivery either by registered mail or by a reliable courier or agent of the Township of this public meeting which must include a copy of the proposed draft by-law on which the Council will be voting. The Township has not done this and thus may not proceed with any public meetings on this matter until it has satisfied this particular condition and it must thus cancel the planned public meeting of April 23/24 and re-schedule only after it has done so.

I would like also to point out that if the Township attempts to proceed to enact the proposed by-law in its present form then there will be grounds for affected Commercial property owners to instigate a class action lawsuit against the Township in respect of such confiscation of property rights without compensation and this could become very costly for both the Township and its ratepayers.

It also appears that at least some municipal officials might be conspiring to conceal this confiscation by referring to it as an apparently unimportant “housekeeping matter” to deflect public attention away from it and apparently, as per item 10.1 of the Council minutes of Mar. 19/24, some municipal officials seem to believe that since many Commercial occupants seldom use this particular property right that this makes it acceptable and permissible to arbitrarily confiscate this right without compensation. Considering the nature of this gross outrage to be committed against these Commercial property owners, the Township appears to be deliberately planning and conspiring to essentially misuse the Planning Act to defraud Commercial property owners of part of their property rights and thus there might also be the possibility of criminally prosecuting members of the Township Council and at least some other municipal officials if it persists in this course of action.

There is also a more general concern that the Township did not adequately notify other Township voters of the public meeting proposed for Apr 23/24 by failing to disclose the actual draft amending by-law on which the Council will be voting  and thus it has not really fulfilled Section 34(12a)(i) of the Planning Act.

A notice was published in the Valley Gazette on April 3/24 on page 5 which certainly conformed to  Ont. Reg 545/06 which does not require a copy of the draft by-law to be published in print although it must be available for viewing at the Township offices. However Ont. Reg 545/06 is subordinate to Section 34(12a)(i) and applies only minimum requirements to traditional newspaper notices to control costs:- the prime directive here resides in Section 34(12a)(i) and its obvious intent, in keeping with Sections 2 and 3 of the Planning Act and the general customary legal and constitutional traditions of Ontario, is that the Township must present all the information required by voters and ratepayers to the maximum extent which is practical without incurring excessive costs.

It’s reasonable to say that the public must have access to the actual draft by-law to be voted on by Council plus we now live in the age of Internet communications which makes it very economic to provide online additional information not required in a newspaper ad but which must otherwise be available to visitors to the Township offices.

The Township has a long tradition now of promptly posting such additional information online and in fact the original version of the proposed by-law was included in item 10.1 of the Council minutes of Mar. 19/24 but even though the public notice for the public meeting for Apr. 23/24 was posted online on April 2/24 the modified version of the draft by-law was not posted along with it even though it was very easy for the Township to do so and in keeping with established Township practice and even though voters and ratepayers are entitled to have this information on request and that certainly includes online requests.

This failure is actually very suggestive that the Township is trying to quietly sneak some illicit project past the voters and it certainly does not inspire any confidence in the Township Council nor its administration.

An Appellant would find it easy to persuade the Ontario Land Tribunal that the Township did not fully comply with Section 34(12a)(i) in this matter and thus have the entire new By-Law disallowed if the Council actually passes it.

I think the sensible thing to do here is for the Township to recognize its error and cancel the public meeting scheduled for Apr 23/24 and reschedule later only after it has fully conformed with Section 34(12a)(i) both in letter and in spirit.

Thank you.

Eve-Marie Chamot, Barry’s Bay

Photo of cargo container at top courtesy

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