Grey Highlands council not asking Talisman developers for meeting

Grey Highlands council will not be inviting the owners of the Talisman property to a council meeting anytime soon.

At council’s meeting on May 29, a resolution to invite Talisman property owner – Beaver Valley Development Group (BVDG) – to a future meeting to make a presentation about their proposal for the property was not considered by council.

The motion from Coun. Nadia Dubyk to extend an invitation to the developers of the Talisman property didn’t make it onto the council table for a vote after Mayor Paul McQueen ruled the resolution needed a two-thirds majority vote of council to be considered because it did not adhere to the municipality’s procedural bylaw.

In a recorded vote, council voted 4-3 against a motion to waive the procedural bylaw to allow consideration of Dubyk’s resolution. Dubyk and councillors Paul Allen and Joel Loughead voted in favour.

Section 7.8 of the municipality’s procedural bylaw says: “delegations will not be permitted on items that shall be or has been the subject of a scheduled public meeting pursuant to the Planning Act. Persons should present their concerns and opinions at the scheduled public meeting where their comments can be considered along with all other submissions. Delegations to council after the public meeting has been completed and before council has made its determination will not be permitted.”

The Talisman property is subject to an upcoming joint public meeting between Grey County and Grey Highlands and is in the middle of the Grey County subdivision approval process.

CAO Karen Govan also reported that in her conversations with BVDG they are not ready to appear as a delegation as their proposal is still in the commenting phase of the process.

“They are not in a position to come and talk to council,” said Govan.

Around the council table, there was some confusion about the matter. Coun. Paul Allen said Talisman is not an active planning file for the municipality.

“There is no planning application that has been submitted to the municipality. The meeting on June 12 is not a statutory requirement. It is more of a public information meeting,” said Allen.

Andrew Payne, manager of planning, said the Talisman property is in the early stages of the county process, which could take a considerable amount of time.

“We are looking at a process that takes months or years,” said Payne.

The resolution divided council, with some members expressing discomfort with receiving a delegation on a matter in the middle of the planning process, while others said it was a simple opportunity to talk.

“I’m going to suggest this is premature at this time,” said McQueen.

Dubyk disagreed.

“I think it’s fair to have the conversation. This is simply an invitation to keep an open dialogue,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen, who raised the procedural bylaw concerns, said as a member of county council he would recuse himself from any presentation from the Talisman developers made while the planning file was still open.

“I’m trying to make sure we’re following the process,” said Nielsen.

McQueen also noted he could convene a special meeting of council in the future at the appropriate time to have the developers speak to council.

“As mayor, I have the ability to call a special meeting. I could call one and ask (the developers) to come,” he said.

The joint Grey County and Grey Highlands public meeting about the Talisman development will be held virtually on June 12 at 5 p.m.

In April, Grey county council received a report outlining the proposal from BVDG. The proposed development seeks to create a number of individual blocks of land for the following purposes: recreation/mixed use (Block 1), residential (blocks 2, 3, and 4), future development (Block 5), stormwater management (Block 6), natural heritage (Blocks 7 and 8), and natural heritage/open space (Blocks 9 and 10).

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,