Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Rural Reckonings - Welcome to The Ivany Show
Welcome to The Ivany Report. If you would like to study the very issues regarding attitudes that Ray Ivany brought to the forefront in his One Nova Scotia report, come watch the drama of Home Based Business in Nova Scotia unfold. Come witness the show. What does it look like when one woman challenges an interpretation of a rule and refuses to back down. Grab some popcorn, have a seat. Be thankful that you are only a spectator.
This letter to the editor appears in today's edition of Lighthouse Now. (grab your copy, support local news. There is no passion in my voice right now.) I'd like to address Mr. Myra regarding the accusations directed at myself
1- There is no "shadow council." On Friday, a different member of the live/work task force e-mailed her resignation letter to council, administration, members of the LWTF and myself. In it she cited me as the root cause of division in the town of Lunenburg as well as the reason for the ultimate failure of the LWTF to solve anything. She said that she attended a meeting of a group of people that were not accepted to be on the LWTF (the shadow council) and that after sharing her concerns regarding the division I was creating in town, was never invited back. This is only partly true. She did share her concerns. The group unanimously (herself included) agreed to allow the LWTF to try to effect change and if at the end of a few months no progress was seen that we would regroup and see what steps could be taken to move this issue forward. We never met again. We never talked in secret. In this woman's resignation letter, she publicly stated that she was not asked back to this group. She was not asked back because there were no further meetings.
I responded to her resignation letter and said as much, but I guess no one cared. She proceeded to post her letter on Facebook without correcting this fact and you proceeded to write this letter without fact checking. At this meeting, we also agreed (herself included) that as many people as possible should attend the LWTF meetings. They are open to the public. We agreed that it was important to support this group, their efforts and to show council that this issue is important to many people. I attended these meetings for that reason and other reasons as well. In the past many changes were made to our Land Use Bylaw. The size of required parking for Home based businesses was increased, the allowable square footage for an accessory building was decreased and the use of a carriage house as a guest house was disallowed. All these changes happened legally and in the open, but nobody was paying attention. I felt and still feel that it was important to monitor decisions made in the town and to report on them to other people. This is not a crime against humanity.
Yes, attending those meetings was very frustrating. I have gained a lot of knowledge in the past two years regarding this issue and council ensured that my voice could not be heard. I ensured that my voice could be heard on my blog. If you read my posts, you will see that I was quite supportive of much of what was said by citizen members of this task force and I was even supportive of your efforts. I'm sorry that somehow my presence was misconstrued as a desire to sabotage. Nothing could be further from the truth. You know that old saying about never ass-u-me anything?
O.K., next up...I'd like to address this word, slandering. What are you referring to? Where? Honest to God, I don't know what you are talking about. Please show me. I have said consistently that there is an error. I have said consistently that Halifax and the rest of Canada understands why there is no change of use when regulating Home Occupations where permitted by Land Use in exclusively residential zones. I have stated consistently that to ignore this understanding is WRONG. I have written extensively about why we do need to support Home Businesses. I have NEVER attacked a councillor or the the Mayor on a personal level. I have simply continued to state that ignoring the facts is wrong. No personal attack, no name calling, no Hate. I don't do that. I believe that no matter who you are or what you believe, you are a human being and I am not interested in diminishing anyone's humanity. So, if challenging council is "slander" then I have slandered, but otherwise I have not.
Now, as for "armchair quarter back." I have made presentations to two provincial departments. I presented before the town Planning Advisory Committee, I have written letters to many politicians and bureaucrats. I have retained experts out of my own pocket. If this is what an "armchair quarterback" looks like, then I guess that's me. Democracy also includes citizens. And it is the role of government to ensure that citizen engagement exists! If people just passively sit by and allow their government to make all the rules without ever being questioned, that's not democracy. My job as a citizen is as important as a councillor's job. Except that I don't get paid $13,000/yr to do it. It costs me time and money and my sanity.
Here's the real tragedy. This issue has little to do with me. I'm just one little crafts person in this town. This issue has everything to do with creating a healthy business community in Lunenburg and in Nova Scotia. This issue has to do with economic development. This issue has to do with ensuring that people can move to this town and this province and can support themselves and not face burdensome regulations. But this has consistently been painted as an issue about me and I fear that negative decisions that will impact the future of our town, will be made simply because of a personal vendetta toward myself. This is not about me. This is about the town that both you and I love. This issue never should have become this contentious. It has become contentious because I was stonewalled as many before me have been stonewalled. It has become contentious because the facts are simply discarded. Did you read this blog post, Mr. Myra?
Only in Lunenburg can the opinion of the man who served as the former vice president of The Canadian Institute of Planning, who was twice awarded the recognition of Fellow from the College of Fellows for C.I.P, who wrote a a planning reference used in 1000 municipalities, 6 countries, Harvard, MIT, Berkley, NYU, The city of Toronto, The City of Vancouver, the NY state Dept among many more places, be totally ignored. The Town of Lunenburg can simply say, I'm afraid we see things differently and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. It's outrageous.
Lastly, where is the bloody province? Where is the leadership? How is it possible that our provincial leaders can watch this happen and not step in with clarification? How is it possible that representatives from the provincial government refuse to have a conversation with building and planning officials in Halifax to understand the success of that municipality in supporting their Home Based Business owners? Where is the ethics behind that? And no, that is not slander. I'm sure you are all nice people and I'm not touching your family life.
Hope you all enjoyed the show.