Don’t let connected few decide Wakefield, Qc

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by admin on July 2, 2009

By Kathleen Clarkin

The Wakefield PPU (urban plan) is a great idea to plan for the village’s future collectively. There are some great ideas in that we can all collectively get behind and showcase Wakefield as the treasure of the Gatineaus it is. I am, however, very saddened to see how flawed this process is from the outset.

I am very concerned with the conflict of interest posed by the involvement of Eva Katic as the consultant who developed the plan (readers might remember Ms. Katic as one of the key proponents of the move to shut Burnside Rd to traffic). In the plan Ms. Katic has abused her control so as to add speed bumps on Burnside outside her house (assuming one could build a speed bump bigger than the pot holes already managing the traffic quite effectively).  

The plan would also ensure that the new development proposed for the mobile home park at the junction of Elmdale and Burnside no longer accesses her street, and maps in the report also show plans to build new access roads to the ski recreation area again, a way to deter traffic away from her residence and divert traffic instead through the hospital grounds.

Another massive “little detail” in the report is the rezoning of the land on the backside of the ski hills as “a natural preserve.” The plan does not imply that the land would be bought for this purpose, just rezoned and effectively limiting the owner’s choice to determine their own use of it (likely devaluing it for resale – expropriation without remuneration?).

Such a move could financially cripple a family-run business and key local employer that has been a hub of the village for more than half a century. Vorlage gave me my first job and has given opportunities to countless residents of both Wakefield and La Peche over the years. I can’t help but wonder if Vorlage is a target of Ms. Katic’s because it gives people a reason to drive on Burnside?

It just seems a little self-serving to promote her personal interests/agenda with the use of public funds while hiding behind the name of her consulting firm (no disclaimer is included anywhere in the report) and above all very unfair to Wakefield/La Peche tax payers. I am in support of the council giving contracts to local residents when possible but if they can’t do the work impartially then they should step aside as it has tainted the whole process.

I urge all residents, whether you were born here or moved in last week, to read the report and to speak up if you find details you don’t like (your councillor’s e-mail in-box is waiting!).  Please don’t let a few connected individuals decide the fate of many trusting taxpayers (or you could wake up with a bike trail running through your garden and interpretation centre in your driveway – paid for by you). Instead be a part of the plan.

Kathleen Clarkin  lives in Wakefield.