GUELPH — Recent changes made to parts of the Clair-Maltby plan by the city has local climate group Extinction Rebellion asking for help ahead of a 10 a.m. deadline on Friday to delegate at the next Council meeting, calling the moves “undemocratic and possibly illegal”.

In what a spokesperson for the group has called a “local emergency”, the development plan for the south end area five years in the making was “altered dramatically” in a move the group called a “blindside change in plans”.

“On [Mar. 28], the public was shown a relatively sensible plan, with significant affordable housing and parkland developments, two things Guelph desperately lacks,” one of Extinction Rebellion’s spokespersons wrote in a statement.

The spokesperson asked not to be indemnified in this story because the local chapter of the international Extinction Rebellion is “horizontally organized” so there is no official figurehead.

Those interested are encouraged to sign up to delegate for the Planning Meeting on Monday for agenda item IDE.2019.51 and not to sign up as part of the group but as an individual, according to the group’s statement.

“On May 2, a plan was introduced out of absolutely nowhere, with seemingly no public consultation or approval,” the spokesperson continues, describing the new plan as a “gut punch” that “erases the level of detail and thoughtfulness” the city put into planning.

The changes in question were criticized by a property owner in the Guelph Mercury as a move that “threatens the viability of what would be the largest affordable home ownership project in Guelph and has significant environmental ramifications”.

Specifically, critics say that the changes to the plan to be considered at Monday’s Council meeting removes the affordable housing development, substantially reduces planned parkland, fosters further urban sprawl and further established the south end of Guelph as a commuter community less a part of the larger city.

More details to follow. Reporting by Eli Ridder.