An open letter to the Mayor and Council of Owen Sound.
When we bought our property, 52.5 acres in Owen Sound, we were welcomed by then Mayor Ruth Lovell and then City Planner Bill White. We were told that there would be no impediments to us building on our property and they lead us through the process of how to gain the required permissions, permits, etc..
Several years later, when we decided to build, things became much more difficult. We were required to sign a service and an access agreement. The access agreement was because the road was going to be turned into a trail and gated. At great expense to us, we negotiated these agreements with the city. Only a couple of weeks later the agreed upon gate was removed nullifying our agreement.
Our original agreements stated that we had permission to build a garage and a drive shed on our property in addition to our house and barn. Last year, we applied for a building permit for a drive shed / honey house; basically a place to store our tractor and to store and build bee equipment. This was intended to be an agricultural building on agricultural property. We were denied a building permit citing a new bylaw section 5.6, of Zoning Bylaw 2010-078.
We appealed this refusal to the Ontario Ombudsman since the bylaw didn't seem to apply to us. We could see no reason to have a new access agreement, since the City's lawyer had advised us that all access on our road is open and because we could see no logic in us paying $750.00 to the City's lawyer to develop a one sided agreement.
Unfortunately, I received a phone call from the Ombudsman's office on Thursday, March 30th. The Ombudsman's representative informed me that because a senior City of Owen Sound official had told them that we had already built a drive shed and a garage on our property and that the city had pictures of those buildings, that our case was being closed. Whatever city official made those statements, they are absolutely untrue. There can be no pictures of buildings that do not exist.
That same day, I wrote to senior building official Kevin Hicks asking for clarification of those statements. At this point, I have had no response.
I would ask three things of the Mayor and Councilors.
Firstly, have the employee or employees who made those false statements correct the information to the Ombudsman's Representative and to myself.
Secondly, discipline that employee for making those false statements. We certainly can't be the only ones who have been treated this way.
Thirdly, review and re-examine the past relationship and correspondence that we have had with the city in light of this employee's prejudicial views.