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Published on Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Rob's plan to save all green space

Ecological studies should be done before moving urban boundary

Attached (see below) is Rob Burton's 2002 lawyer's letter setting out the better path that would have saved all of North Oakville's green space (Click the "Related file" link below) by doing all the scientific ecological studies to identify environmental lands that needed to be protected from the urban boundary expansion northward that Mayor Mulvale and most of her council were so anxious to move. They said they believed we would have to buy any environmental lands to save them and we would not be able to afford to do that, so the development they wanted must proceed.

In the end, 2,300 acres of the 7,800 acres in North Oakville were saved without having to pay developers for them but if the urban boundary move had been delayed more could have been saved.

Clear The Air Coalition was created because of the tendency of the Mulvale government to sue, or threaten to sue, anyone who dared to call attention to the way they were railroading things through for the paving of North Oakville. Clear The Air Coalition was a "person at law" they would have to sue instead of the real people who were trying to save north Oakville**.

The faster they could go, the developers and Mulvale thought, the more of North Oakville they would be able to pave over.

Rob Burton and the other critics of growth wanted all the environmental science work done first, before urbanizing any of the land, because it is harder to save environmental features and systems in once a land area has been urbanized.

They knew they could not prevent the urbanization of some of the land, but they knew that if it was done the right way, all the environmental lands could be saved.
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**Before her career was over, Mulvale sued or threatened to sue councillors and an opponent for mayor over their questions about her behaviour. Only after Mulvale finally was defeated in 2006 did her use of threats of SLAPPs*** to frighten opponents with the cost of going to court end in Oakville.

(Of course all of that pales by comparison to the firing of the clerk who blew the whistle on the 2003 election irregularities and the invasion of the email boxes of councillors to remove the whistleblower's warning of the irregularities. Fortunately, one copy of the message to Council made it past the censors or we never would have known about the irregularities.)

*** SLAPP is a term meaning "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation". There is a Wikipedia article about SLAPPs.
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