Moyer loses her cool at meeting for Bedford Road development

Often at public meetings, when residents are opposed to a proposal they can make some unfortunate comments, as witnessed recently in Centre Wellington, where a resident used the F-word.
But last week in neighbouring Guelph-Eramosa Town­ship, it was a councillor who had to be asked to show a level of decorum.
The public meeting on Feb. 11 – concerning a proposed eight lot development on Bedford Road, off Highway 6, north of Guelph – was going as planned until about 7:30pm.
Councillor Reta Moyer arrived half an hour late because she said she was in meetings all day trying to decide if she had a conflict of interest. After receiving legal advice, she said she decided she does not.
A source close to Guelph-Eramosa council later provided the Advertiser with a brief background.
Apparently Smith Valeriote, the law firm representing Antonio Martone, the proponent of the Bedford Road development, is the same firm employed by councillor John Scott in his $800,000 lawsuit against Moyer and councillor Roger Knapp. Marten Dykstra, who defended Scott at the original assault case, is in fact employed by Smith Valeriote.
Moyer snidely asked lawyer John Valeriote at the meeting if he would like to see the section of the municipal act that defines a conflict of interest.
Valeriote had a confused look on his face and did not respond, so Moyer walked over to the delegation table and plopped the document in front of him.
Shortly after, she walked back to the delegation table and retrieved the document, al­though Valeriote never ac­knowledged it.
Then Moyer questioned why there was no general notice about the public meeting provided for residents.
Mayor Chris White said everyone living within a 120-metre radius received notice, in addition to those who attended a previous public meeting about the proposed development. When several people in the audience claimed they did not receive the notice, Moyer asked White if he even knew what he was talking about.
The mayor told Moyer he would like to continue the meeting in a civil tone. Moyer replied she would do just that when she got “some truth” from the mayor.
Deputy clerk Meaghen Reid explained that White’s original answer was correct, although as councillor Doug Breen stated, it is always possible a few homes could have been missed.
Several minutes later, Moyer asked hydrogeologist Tom Haygarth for reassurance that a large swale included in the development plans could adequately handle surface water run-off from the site.
When Haygarth corrected Moyer for repeatedly calling him a “hydrologist,” Moyer lost her cool.
“I don’t care what the hell you are,” she snapped. “You’re supposed to be an expert.”
At that point, Valeriote told White that his team always shows councillors the utmost respect, and said it is only fair they be treated the same way.
White agreed.
Once Moyer settled down, residents were again afforded the opportunity to speak and raised several issues, including:
– whether there is adequate drainage in the plans;
– the possible impact on water quality and fluctuating groundwater levels in the area;
– what will be done with existing vegetation and trees on the property;
– the possible effects of grading on the property;
– narrow road right-of-ways;
– snow removal and waste services; and
– lots smaller than the township’s minimum required  size of one acre.
Residents also expressed concern when Valeriote admitted it was not yet decided what  types of homes will be included in the development, and when he said the eight lots could be marketed to one builder or separately to up to eight buyers who would come up with their own designs.
But Valeriote said while there may be several builders, the township would still control the development through building permits and site plans.
Breen said he is worried that approving a plan with lot sizes less than an acre in size would be setting a precedent. Breen also added that he is “not entirely confident,” with some of the other details.
He said he understands such things are the legal responsibility of the developer, but if things go wrong, they become the moral responsibility of the township and council.