met a handful of people (among them: a real estate agent, excavation and construction contractor, land surveyor, real estate developer and landscaper) who were unhappy with the current planning by-laws. The July 23 article states that the Mayor said that the Town Manager and Clerk, Jean-François D’Amour, did not attend the meeting and was, in fact, opposed to it. Following the meeting, without any further studies or consultation, the council decided to green-light a complete overhaul of the zoning and subdivision by-laws.
Apart from the municipal representatives, most of the people present at the meeting have an obvious financial stake in real estate development and are anxious to give their clients what they demand: namely, a view! These people want an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside, to see Mount Pinnacle, Lac Brome, Vermont’s green mountains! Ironically, they want to enjoy the protected beauty of the surrounding countryside without considering that, by their very actions, they are contributing to its destruction.
Promoting responsible development
The Coalition promotes economic development that is well thought out, organized and sustainable; there is nothing sustainable about the current town council’s development plan except the irreversible nature of the damage that will be inflicted by the proposed by-laws if they come into force. The only way that development can be both sustainable and beneficial is if it preserves the natural environment that constitutes a heritage for future generations. Now is the time to safeguard Sutton against lasting damage, like the kind that has happened to some Laurentian towns. While construction is inevitable, let’s do it in a way that keeps Sutton’s exceptional natural surroundings intact. Once a disparate assortment of new homes, night lighting and erosion-prone roads have been built and installed, it will be too late!
From the public notice on July 22 until the deadline of July 30, volunteers concerned with the possible fall-out were suddenly faced with an uphill battle. In only eight days, in the middle of summer – and during the construction holiday, as well! – they had to navigate the complex voter registration process and gather enough signatures for residents’ voices to be heard. It is vital that people be made aware of the true impact of the unreasonable provisions adopted by town council, as it has become clear that private interests have been surreptitiously at work, attempting to benefit from confusion around the issue and its legal complexity to achieve objectives that are at odds with public interest.
A reprehensible ploy
Rather than proposing these changes up front as part of the five-year revision to the City’s Planning Program, due to take place in 2016, the Council attempted to amend the by-laws on the sly and confuse the issue. Indeed, the new regulations are much closer to DEregulation! Mayor Dandenault’s administration has amended the by-laws in a way that is the exact opposite of transparent, thereby forcing citizens to engage in excessively complicated maneuvers to challenge the amendments. Clearly, this process is intended as a deterrent, is downright anti-democratic and must be denounced. It is therefore vital that we act now to protect Sutton from foreseeable damage..
A secret meeting
As reported in two articles published in La Voix de l’Est on July 23 and 28, 2015, in the fall of 2014, Mayor Louis Dandenault, along with Councillors Kenneth Hill and John Hawley and the municipal inspector,