Bell: Blanket rezoning goes to court, another City of Calgary headache

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When it rains, it pours.

An impressive total of 288 individuals are headed to court.

They are asking the court to review the citywide rezoning passed a little more than a month ago.

They are asking the court to strike down citywide rezoning and they have their reasons.

You remember, citywide rezoning?

Where neighbourhoods were told there would undergo a major makeover so Calgary could have a bigger supply of high-priced townhouses and row houses.

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Where the strong majority expressing their opinion said No and said No in a big way while the city council majority did what they do so often.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek and her city council think-alikes went ahead and voted Yes to the rezoning.

Why are the 288 individuals wanting the court to strike down citywide rezoning?

Simple.

It’s a litany of bad actions.

“Numerous procedural and legal errors made by council.”

“Bias.”

“Acting outside the authority granted by city council.”

“Unreasonable encroachment on private property rights.”

“The wholesale elimination of a citizen’s right to a hearing on a zoning change.”

“The failure to provide accurate and consistent information regarding the impact of the city’s agreement with the federal government.”

That’s where we got different stories on whether any of the $228 million in housing bucks from the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be clawed back and taken away if Calgary city hall didn’t play ball and go for the citywide rezoning.

Robert Lehodey, a lawyer who is one of the 288 individuals prepared to take on Calgary city hall, sums up the court challenge.

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“Having been active participants throughout the public hearing process, Calgarians know first-hand that council’s decision to impose blanket rezoning was not arrived at reasonably or impartially.

“Through this action Calgarians are seeking to hold city council accountable for its failure to follow the law and to act fairly in reaching its decision.”

The 288 individuals are asking the court to declare the blanket rezoning bylaw invalid and deep-six it.

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Yes, another Calgary city hall headache, the individuals and city hall to face-off August 1.

This battle is being launched as the city tries to put the Humpty Dumpty of a main feeder water pipe back together again.

Of course, these people who are standing up for what they see as their rights will be seen by the whiners on social media as troublemakers, rabble rousers.

They will be seen as being mean to Gondek and the city council majority.

Malicious, nasty sorts.

How could they challenge a mayor and a city council so beloved by Calgarians?

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That’s how some people think. I know. I hear it all the time.

Ask questions of city hall, asks questions about the way city hall operates and you are a traitor, disloyal, anti-Calgary.

You are picking on poor city hall.

Of course, if one day, sorts they DON’T like make up the city council majority and one maybe even sits in the mayor’s chair it will be seen as treason, disloyalty and downright malicious if you DON’T question city hall.

They do not mention why Calgary city hall is in the news.

There were months when I rarely wrote about city hall.

But in the last year they are grabbing the headlines every chance they act. They have forced themselves into the news. They cannot be ignored.

The circus just won’t take a break or give us a break.

I have other column ideas lined up to explore but city hall just can’t stick to operating the city without constant drama.

The critics of city hall did not come up with a bogus bag bylaw.

They did not come up with citywide rezoning, jamming it down people’s throats without really listening to what the folks paying the bills had to say.

They did not hike property taxes above and beyond the tolerance of most Calgarians.

And I can tell you this court challenge was planned BEFORE the water pipe blew.

This is not a case of piling on at a bad time.

Many Calgarians are conserving water and doing what they’re told and counting the days until this pipe will finally be fixed.

But Calgarians have questions. Calgarians want answers. Calgarians are being asked to put up but they are not prepared to shut up.

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