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Then Coun. Tim Tierney shifted his colleagues’ attention with a motion to include the Algonquin lands inside the urban boundary. He said the city should seize the chance to acknowledge reconciliation.
“This is a real opportunity where we can put ourselves on the map,” Tierney said.
Other councillors grappled with weighing a critical municipal planning decision with Indigenous reconciliation.
“It’s well worth considering very, very carefully,” Coun. Jeff Leiper said.
Leiper, along with Coun. Riley Brockington, was on the losing end of the vote to establish a new community with the Algonquin lands.
Even Stephen Willis, the city’s general manager of planning, wasn’t sure how to balance the priorities.
“We’re in new territory right now on this issue,” Willis said.
City planners came to the joint committee meeting this week asking for approval on a plan identifying their recommended new development lands.
There were 1,101 hectares of land that received top grades for getting into the urban boundary, but the city still needed to find 270 hectares of lower-graded lands to add. That’s where the Algonquin land came in.
In expanding the urban boundary, the city has to consider how much more money its would cost to provide municipal services in those outer communities. The cost for including the Algonquin lands wasn’t made clear during the meeting.
It wasn’t the only controversy.
Coun. Carol Anne Meehan won support to swap out staff-recommended land in Riverside South with nearby agricultural land to allow residential development closer to the new Trillium Line extension.
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