Conspiracy theories have never been my thing; they’re just too convoluted, too complex, too...conspiratorial!
But the events of the last few weeks have left me wondering. Is the simplest explanation, the most obvious one, always right?
Consider what has happened over the past couple of weeks.
First, the London Free Press headline that announced, “We’re No. 11”. We had fallen behind Kitchener-Waterloo in population by 141 bodies. The shame of it!
A week or so thereafter, the Built and Natural Environment Committee debated a request from Middlesex Centre to increase the sewer capacity London had been providing to Arva to keep the Medway Creek from becoming more polluted. The request had been made before; we noted and filed it last fall without much debate or discussion. Why would London want to help Arva to scoop up our assessment growth?
This time, however, the new committee supported the idea. Why, I don’t know. Perhaps the new members hadn’t availed themselves of the background reports. In any case, they now voted 3 to 2 to support Middlesex Centre’s request.
The person to second the motion to do so was Ward 14 Councillor Sandy White. Although Ward 5 Councillor Joni Baechler made a cogent argument against modifying the existing agreement since it would result in growth in Arva that rightfully should go to London, White continued to support the request.
But now it seems Councillor White has had a change of heart. Now she wants to annex Arva. All 550 men, women and children.
It seems fair enough. London hasn’t annexed anything or anyone for nearly 20 years. Our last annexation in 1993 nearly doubled our land area and the one before that in 1961 quintupled it.
Mind you, the annexed communities haven’t been so thrilled about it. Some Byronites are still bitter about being taken over and not even getting a high school or a recreation centre out of it. They still say they live in Byron, not London, although it has been 50 years.
Talk to people in Lambeth. See how delighted the residents of that village are with their annexation in 1993. Bus service arrived only this year. Many still don’t have sewers. Now they are awaiting the outcome of the Southwest Area Plan to see what is going to happen to their community. They are not optimistic.
It’s not as if London has exhausted its developable land. Our Official Plan suggests that, depending on the type of development being considered, we have enough for the next 20 to 50 years within our Urban Growth Boundary. And there’s a lot more land between the Urban Growth Boundary and the city limits should we run out.
Word has it that the impetus for Middlesex Centre’s request is the interest of a local resident to develop some agricultural land. His agent, John Matsui, who previously represented the lawn care industry in the 2006 battle over pesticides, has been actively lobbying Council to provide the additional sewage capacity to Arva.
The Mayor is likely to stay out of this debate when it comes to Council on Monday evening. He will probably declare a conflict since, although on the city website he claims to have lived in London for more than 30 years, he actually lives in Arva, outside the city boundaries.
Besides, he is too busy finding ways to get servicing to the agricultural land outside of the Urban Growth Boundary south of the 401 so that the city can boast more industrial land to add to the 400 acres we already have there.
Councillor White claims that she has not discussed with the mayor her plan to raise the issue of annexation at the council meeting. Be that as it may, it certainly could solve a few problems for him.
Annex Arva, and London will be number 10 again in population. Annex Arva, and his claim that he lives in London will be true. Annex Arva, and Arva’s growth will be London’s growth.
So why stop at Arva? Why not annex Dorchester? Lots of assessment there. Why not annex Komoka and extend Ward 9 boundaries to include its councillor? Why not annex St.Thomas?
And since we’d love to be a leader in technology, why not annex Waterloo as well? That should take care of assessment growth for the next four years.
A conspiracy to take over RIM?