The petition form clearly states all rules must be strictly adhered to. One of those rules is that signatures for incorporated or limited companies must be beneath the corporate seal. Most of the property owner's signatures should have been topped off with a seal, none appeared. When we brought this to the attention of the city clerk he just waved it off as 'not a big deal, it's an old form'.
Next we asked how to appear before council to speak to them about our position that the tax to be charged would be unfair. We were told to put the request in writing. That was done in an e-mail (not my choice) and rejected. We were then told we had to explain the who, what, where and why of our position. We did that and it was allowed. Upon delivering the document the clerk's assistant gave us the outline of how to apply, prepare and deliver a deputation before council. Just a bit late. The day of the council meeting we checked the agenda online and there was another accepted letter that looked very similar to our original.
We were told that our submission would be distributed to members of council and they would have time to read it over so we were not to read it before them. I prepared a synopsis and delievered that, while trying to word in some last minute suggestions from another source. We were asked a few questions from an obviously unprepared council, dismissed and then had most of what we said negated by the city engineer. The other presenter (another issue before council) read his every e-mail and showed pictures and maps etc. If I had known a laptop was available I could have done something far more convincing.
I had spoken to one of the two aldermen I know and thankfully he guided us through most of the process and asked questions and got the whole mess put back to the engineer for options to be presented later in the budget process.
Our position is that council is dicriminating against a commercial property. The provincial municipal act provides them a means of charging out the improvement but also has guidelines for reductions where frontage is not 'just and equtable'. They use one part of the act and then apply the 'residential only' term where they see advantage. They say they have a written policy, which they can't seem to find. We say even so the policy is breaking the municipal act so it does not matter. The act defines a lot, and also defines a citizen. If they can discrimnate against one type of lot, can they then discriminate against one type of citizen? I think we know the answer to that one. Stay tuned...