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Township council passes interim control bylaw on supportive housing

Some members of Brock Township council are hoping they’ve put the brakes on Durham Region’s plan to build a 50-unit supportive housing complex in Beaverton.

At Monday (Nov. 23) night’s meeting, council passed an interim control bylaw that would prohibit the establishment of supportive housing and modular construction for a one-year period pending a municipal study.

In bringing the bylaw forward, Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble said the municipality had to ensure that all supportive housing projects – and their residents – are set up for success.

“This is about our future…it’s very important that we get this right,” added Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb.

The bylaw was approved by a 5-1 margin, with only Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell voting in opposition.

“This will have a real negative impact on our taxpayers if this turns into a legal battle,” she said.

While Regional Councillor Ted Smith agreed with that assessment, he supported the motion after confirming that negotiations with the Region would continue.

While the interim control bylaw cannot be appealed to the Land Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), there’s a definite possibility that it will be legally challenged by the Region in some form or fashion.

In a letter that was included on the agenda for Monday’s meeting, Durham CAO Elaine Baxter-Trehair claimed the Township has acted in “bad faith” regarding the proposal.

“Specific examples of this bad faith conduct include the arbitrary removal of Brock staff assigned to review the Region’s application and the cancellation of a long standing meeting to allow the Region the opportunity to address planning matters in the site plan process,” the letter reads.

“The Region requires the immediate appointment or re-instatement of Brock staff assigned to the project and a commitment to engage in good faith to process and approve the project in accordance with Brock’s obligations under the Planning Act and its own bylaws.”

It closes by stating the Region will take “all steps necessary” to ensure that the project is fully and fairly evaluated and is not subject to any further “undue delay.”

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