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https://austinonyourfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/9-things-people-always-say-at-zoning-hearings-illustrated-by-cats/?utm_content=bufferc065f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer AUSTIN ON YOUR FEET 9 THINGS PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY AT ZONING HEARINGS, ILLUSTRATED BY CATS November 23, 2015Dan Keshet If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats. 1. I’M NOT OPPOSED TO ALL DEVELOPMENT. JUST THIS DEVELOPMENT. Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development. If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. 2. NOBODY TALKED TO ME! The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind. 3. REALITY IS, EVERYBODY DRIVES A CAR. Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure. 4. THESE GREEDY DEVELOPERS ONLY THINK ABOUT PROFITS Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason. 5. LET ME TELL YOU MY THEORY OF ECONOMICS If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony. 6.WHAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD REALLY NEEDS IS A COFFEE SHOP, NOT MORE APARTMENTS For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy. 7. I’M 5TH GENERATION! MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER MOVED HERE BEFORE THIS WAS EVEN ON THE MAP! That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say. 8. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE HUNDREDS OF HOURS SPENT CRAFTING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change. 9. THIS HOUSING IS TOO SMALL FOR ME! Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it. sent via Tapatalk
Water plan for St. Lawrence unpredictable, critics charge Joint commission hearings. River levels might have to be artificially elevated, environmental coalition fears CHRISTOPHER MAUGHAN, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago The environmental and economic impact of a proposed plan to change how water flows into the St. Lawrence River is potentially disastrous and in many ways unpredictable, critics said last night. The International Joint Commission - which manages how much water passes into the river from Lake Ontario - held public hearings in Montreal last night to discuss concerns about their proposal to allow water levels to rise and fall more sharply than they now do. The IJC is an independent, bi-governmental organization that manages the Great Lakes. It controls water flow to Quebec via the Moses-Saunders dam, which runs across Lake Ontario from Cornwall, Ont., to Massena, N.Y. Their commissioners have argued that more drastic changes in water levels would allow for the establishment of more diverse flora and fauna along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. But at the hearings last night, critics seemed far from convinced that the proposal would result in a net environmental gain. "We haven't put enough effort into forecasting the different climate change scenarios," said Marc Hudon, a director at Nature Québec, an environmental coalition that represents 100 smaller groups. Hudon worried that the IJC plan would allow water levels on the St. Lawrence to drop so low that Quebecers would be forced to artificially elevate the water, which could cause major environmental problems. "If you have less water, you concentrate the contaminants in it," said Hudon, adding that even if the issue were addressed, the St. Lawrence would still suffer. "We would have to keep the levels up artificially by slowing the water down. That makes the water hot. When the water's hot, fish flip upside down - they can't survive." That's why Hudon is dead-set against the IJC's proposal, which is known as Plan 2007. A slightly modified proposal that takes wetland restoration into account shows promise, he said, but is too short on details to be adopted now. "We like the idea, but we don't want to go into it blind." Montreal executive committee member Alan DeSousa echoed Hudon's concerns about a lack of specifics. "We want to make sure we know what we're getting into and at this point we're not entirely sure we can say that," he told members of the IJC. "There remain many questions as to the potential impact of the various plans, especially downstream." DeSousa wondered whether the IJC had environmental contingency plans in place to deal with any serious environmental impact. "We don't have any information at this time as to the scope of the (IJC's) mitigation measures," he said. Marine transportation officials also expressed concerns, worrying about the potential impact on the economy. "Just a 10-per-cent loss of the (volume of) the seaway would result in 28 more days a year the seaway would have to be closed," said Kirk Jones, director of transportation services at Canada Steamship Lines. "Ten percent or 28 days could add up to $250 million in losses." Source http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=a37baa36-107d-4bc0-a482-78c6e52c158b
More Quebecers see immigrants as threat: poll By Marian Scott, The GazetteMay 22, 2009 6:59 Protesters demonstrate outside Palais des congrès during the Bouchard-Taylor hearings on reasonable accommodation in November 2007. Protesters demonstrate outside Palais des congrès during the Bouchard-Taylor hearings on reasonable accommodation in November 2007. Photograph by: John Kenney, Gazette file photo One year after a provincial report on the accommodation of cultural minorities, a majority of Quebecers still say newcomers should give up their cultural traditions and become more like everybody else, according to a new poll. Quebecers’ attitudes toward immigrants have hardened slightly since 2007, when the Bouchard-Taylor commission started hearings across Quebec on the “reasonable accommodation” of cultural communities. The survey by Léger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies found that 40 per cent of francophones view non-Christian immigrants as a threat to Quebec society, compared with 32 per cent in 2007. Thirty-two per cent of non-francophones said non-Christian immigrants threaten Quebec society, compared with 34 per cent in 2007. “If you look at opinions at the start of the Bouchard-Taylor commission and 18 months later, basically, they haven’t changed,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the non-profit research institute. “If the hearings were designed to change attitudes, that has not occurred,” he added. Headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor, the $3.7-million commission held hearings across Quebec on how far society should go to accommodate religious and cultural minorities. It received 900 briefs and heard from 3,423 participants in 22 regional forums. Its report, made public one year ago Friday, made 37 recommendations, including abolishing prayers at municipal council meetings; increasing funding for community organizations that work with immigrants and initiatives to promote tolerance; providing language interpreters in health care; encouraging employers to allow time off for religious holidays; studying how to hire more minorities in the public service; and attracting immigrants to remote regions. Rachad Antonius, a professor of sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, said it’s no surprise the commission failed to change Quebecers’ attitudes toward minorities. “Focusing on cultural differences is the wrong approach,” Antonius said. Cultural communities need to achieve economic equality by having access to education, social services and job opportunities, he said. “If there is greater economic integration, that is what is going to change things,” he said. The poll reveals persistent differences between younger and older Quebecers and between francophones and non-francophones on cultural and religious diversity. For example, 56 per cent of respondents age 18 to 24 said Muslim girls should be allowed to wear hijabs in public schools, while only 30 per cent of those 55 and over approved of head scarves in school. Sixty-three per cent of non-francophones said head scarves should be permitted in school compared with 32 per cent of French-speaking respondents. Only 25 per cent of francophones said Quebec society should try harder to accept minority groups’ customs and traditions while 74 per cent of non-francophones said it should make more of an effort to do so. The poll also found Quebecers split on an ethics and religion course introduced last year in schools across the province. A coalition of parents and Loyola High School, a private Catholic institution, are challenging the nondenominational course, which they say infringes parents’ rights to instill religious values in their children. Half of francophones said the course was a good thing while 78 per cent of non-francophones gave it a thumbs up. When asked their opinion of different religious groups, 88 per cent of French-speakers viewed Catholics favourably, 60 per cent viewed Jews favourably – down 12 percentage points from 2007 – and 40 per cent had a favourable opinion of Muslims (compared with 57 per cent in 2007). Among non-francophones, 92 per cent viewed Catholics with favour, 77 per cent had a positive opinion of Jews and 65 a good opinion of Muslims. A national poll published this month by Maclean’s Magazine also revealed that many Canadians are biased against religious minorities, particularly in Quebec. The survey by Angus Reid Strategies reported that 68 per cent of Quebecers view Islam negatively while 52 per cent of Canadians as a whole have a low opinion of the religion. It found that 36 per cent of Quebecers view Judaism unfavourably, compared with 59 per cent of Ontarians. The Léger Marketing survey of 1,003 Quebecers was conducted by online questionnaire May 13-16. Results are considered accurate within 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette