County Council defers farmhouse severance vote to November

By Dan Rankin

Speaking during Perth South Council’s meeting Oct. 4 in St. Pauls, Deputy Mayor Jim Aitcheson said he was optimistic about a looming decision on surplus farmhouse severances that would be made two days later at the Perth County Council meeting held yesterday in Stratford.

“Believe it or not, that’s on the agenda for Thursday,” he said. There were three options, Aitcheson explained: “leave it the same, pass the by-law as what was presented at the [Sept. 22 meeting in Mitchell], or possible changes.”

The Deputy Mayor, who serves on County Council along with Perth South Mayor Robert Wilhelm, said that he intended to vote in favour of passing the by-law as presented. “I would be more than happy to have that passed as presented at that meeting,” he said. “That would certainly be a start.”

At the meeting yesterday, none of those three decisions were chosen. Instead, County Council voted 12-6 in favour of deferring the decision until its next scheduled meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3.

According to Aitcheson, the reason for the deferment was so the matter could be further discussed by North Perth and Perth East councils.

The by-law presented to the public on Sept. 22 in Mitchell represented a far more liberal series of criteria to allow the severance of surplus farmhouses than in previous proposed amendments to the county policy. However, some still expressed dissatisfaction, seeking the permission to also sever adjacent vacant farm buildings along with the houses to prevent their demolition.

“Once you offer people something, they always want more it seems,” Aitcheson said prior to County Council’s decision Tuesday. “I know there are definitely three [county councillors] who are against, but I think we still stand to get ‘as presented’ through, and I think that would be the ideal starting point, to go from there.”

Perth South Coun. Sam Corriveau agreed. “With ‘as presented’ there wouldn’t be another open forum,” he said. “It seems like everybody is against that.”

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