A controversial development that aims to bypass a rule dictating line-of-sight to the iconic Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate is returning to the committee of adjustment in August — a contentious decision that featured eleventh hour community delegations when it first came to city hall.

Susan Watson brought other residents of Guelph out to the largely empty public gallery and seven of them — led first by Watson — spoke to the committee, all of them speaking out against the development proposal that would block sight of the Catholic church.

All of them had only heard about the developers application a few hours earlier. Watson had sent out an email and made phone calls to raise awareness for the application. All of the delegates criticized the developer for not corresponding more with the community. 

The developer’s representative, Brian McCulloch, said that his team corresponded since last fall with staff at city hall about the building. They followed the rules surrounding public notice by putting up physical signs at the site and notifying property owners within 60 metres of the application.

Watson and many of the other delegates argued that there was not enough community input on an issue that impacts the entire city, as the Basilica is a local landmark. Anne Gajerski-Cauliy, who described herself as a lay historian, said at the time she felt the developer was trying to “sneak something in”.

Those against the application argued that the matter should be before Council instead of the committee, a Council-appointed body that considers some lower profile, day-to-day city matters, including development applications like the 11 Cork St. proposal that needs a by-law exemption.

Committee vice chair David Kendrick attempted to find a procedural way to pass on the application to Council, however, the options were to refuse, pass or defer without discussion. He made a motion to defer, that passed with four votes in favour.

Watson said after the application was deferred that hoped thar there would be more awareness raised and community input will take place. The developer’s team was approached by The Post after the deferral, but they said they could not give comment.


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