Crushing public resistance

The proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law are a thinly veiled move by the City to cripple public resistance to a range of controversial issues.

One of the most alarming amendments is the proposal that will essentially let cell masts up to 12m high go up near schools, creches and churches without residents having a say about it. And then there’s all the 1.5m-high masts that can go up as plentifully as satellite dishes, it seems, albeit with City permission in that case.

Considering the jury is still out on the potential health effects cell masts have on humans, one would think the City would err on the side of caution before planting them near children.

Offering emergency housing on land not zoned for it is also dangerous, as officials get unchecked power to build temporary housing camps pretty much wherever they like for six months without asking the public’s permission.

What happens after six months? Will the period simply be renewed?

Fights over land are increasingly common, and with the City’s Metro police barely staffed well enough to keep the peace at a rugby match, who will step in when things go pear-shaped at the temporary housing camps?

It’s vital in any democracy that people have enough power to keep their leaders in check – that’s never been more important than right now in our country, and yet the City seems to think otherwise.