snake oil, part 1

Wow! Thirty-eight people showed up at the expanded-intersection public meeting called by the shadowy Westcliffe Estates Community Association.
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– 5 City employees/consultants/contractors/planners
– 8 WECA board members (everyone except Ally)
– 18 “ordinary” BC residents
– 1 career politician (Rick)
– 2 of Rick’s employees/interns/photographers/lunch guests (not counting Jordan, as he’s both a Rick employee and a WECA board member)
– 1 BIA executive director and former Rick employee (Alex)
– 1 Citizens for Safe Cycling board member (Paul)
– 1 former local politician who was defeated by Jan Harder (Molly)
– 1 Bells Corners blogger/failed politician/wannabe journalist (me)
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I felt a bit uncomfortable about taking photos, but journalists do it all the time at public meetings without asking anyone’s permission, and when I saw Alex and Rick taking pictures of each other to post on the web, I said “why not me too?”
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So that’s a grand total of 38 at this odd event, 18 Bells Corners residents and 18 non-residents.
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There were 16 residents from “Bells Corners West” (Westcliffe) and 2 residents from “Bells Corners East” (me from Lynwood Village, Rick from New Lynwood, nobody from Bellwood).
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You could argue that 18 ordinary residents out of Bells Corners’ declining population of 10,000 is fairly modest, but considering that so few people had been informed (nary a sandwich board anywhere in the community) it’s not bad.

How did these 18 “ordinary residents” find out about the meeting? Here are the possibilities:

– they hang out on the WECA Facebook page (about 40 people?)
– they’re on the WECA private email list (about 25 paid-up members?)
– they have access to the WECA semi-secret password-protected website (go ahead – google “Westcliffe Estates Community Association” and see if you can find it)
– they read the poster at the Hockey Day carnival breakfast (which hardly anyone knew about)
– they read this blog
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It was a WECA meeting chaired by President Bill, which meant that certain rules applied as to who gets to speak and what they can say. No one was taking minutes, which is par for the course at WECA.
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So here are my unofficial WECA minutes:

At about 7:10 Bill called the meeting to order. The eight members of the WECA present introduced themselves: Bill, president; Adam, vice-president and webmaster; Jordan, special operations; Catherine, community advocate and specialist in accessibility issues; Roland, sports and tutoring clubs; Terrilynn, membership and play group representative; Marilyn, the latest treasurer; Jesse, director at large. Someone mentioned that people on the private email list had been told that the meeting started at 7:30, so it was decided to wait to start the intersection part of the meeting.

The 20 minutes was filled up with questions from the floor about other stuff:

A resident talked about her lock being drilled out by a burglar, so everyone agreed to be vigilant.
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Bill announced that, for unspecified reasons, the long tradition of holding the “WECA Weekend” (community garage sale on Saturday, Fun Day on Sunday) would shift from the first week in June to the second week in June.
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Bill explained that low water pressure in Westcliffe is “a volume problem, not a pressure problem.” Apparently a new pump was promised at amalgamation but the City reneged. Rick was asked about it at the last Westcliffe AGM and he made it clear that nothing will be done about it anytime soon.

Someone asked if there would be any public consultations about the City’s new Official Plan and Bill replied that WECA wasn’t planning anything. Alex said that the carefully-scripted consultations are pretty much over and mostly took place downtown and in Kanata.
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Bill said he was worried about the Greenbelt near Bells Corners, but Alex reassured him, saying that the only part that will be developed in the near future is near Baseline and Richmond Robertson Road, and only the QC hospital will be allowed to build there.
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Alex then took the floor and fielded questions for about 20 minutes. He said that making films in Bells Corners is a good idea. He had no news on what will happen to the abandoned Tim Hortons on the strip or on why the sharwarma deal fell through. He doesn’t know what might happen to the soon-to-be-boarded-up Zellers, but he speculated that maybe Target has an opportunity to thwart any move by poor Loblaws to expand or find a Target competitor to sign a lease.
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And then the REALLY INTERESTING part of the meeting started.

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