Here are my speaking notes from the discussion at today’s City Council meeting about the Chateau Laurier, outlining why I did not support the motion.
I am hearing loud and clear from residents. The outcome they want is to stop the addition to the Chateau Laurier.
I can’t believe some of my colleagues who are continuing to peddle the idea that this motion can achieves that. It doesn’t.
At best, this motion may delay construction for a few months while Larco goes through an appeal process.
But the motion does not send the applicant back to the drawing board.
It does not stop the addition from being constructed.
It does not wash council’s hands of a well-intentioned, but poorly executed motion from last year.
Even worse, by sending this to the courts, we give council and the city even less control over the outcome. It goes to a single judge in an Ontario court.
Council set the bar incredibly low with that motion last year — and put us in the legal and procedural bind we’re in today. I think it’s an incredible disservice to the public that some of my colleagues continue to suggest that by voting “yes” today we’ll somehow achieve a better outcome.
I’m still not satisfied with the design – it does not capture the charm or the spirit of the existing building – I said the same thing at our built heritage committee last month. It is better than what they started with three years ago, but it could be so much more.
The best scenario would be for Larco to take a pause, to cool off, to reconsider. To listen again to what we’re hearing.
The ability to create meaningful change now rests with Larco and their willingness to do that. I’m willing to continue to work with my colleagues and work with the applicant to achieve that, but the motion in front of us today, if we approve it, does not achieve any of these outcomes.