A sigh of relief could almost be heard from those who attended
Thursday’s emergency council meeting, where the vote was 5-2 to pass a revised housing
agreement for the Rainbow Development.
“This is a major milestone for council,” commented Councillor
Gord McKeever after the meeting, as people slowly filed out of MY Millennium
Place into the rainy June evening.
He said it took a lot of contemplation for council to come to
this conclusion, and he was glad to see the project move forward.
Ann Chiasson, one of the partners in the Rainbow Joint Venture,
added on Monday that council’s decision was an “acceptable compromise” and
construction on site is moving forward.
“It was never a big deal,” said Chiasson, about the
controversial clause that came to council’s attention last week.
“It got made into a big deal because everyone was panicking,
but the reality is we are fine with it.”
Despite the positive result, discussions were tense throughout
Many councillors said they were reluctant to pass the
resolution after another emergency council meeting was held two years ago to
pass another so-called imperative piece of legislation for the project.
“Forgive me if I am skeptical, but history has taught something
here,” said Councillor Bob Lorriman.
“We had a special meeting two years ago when we passed fourth
reading (on bylaws to move the project forward), which we were told was dire
and we had to pass so the developer could build the housing units. And we did.
And the developer did not deliver those housing units for whatever reason.”
Mayor Ken Melamed ended the meeting with a frank warning to the
“This project does not get a free ride from here on out,” he
The mayor also spoke to characterizations, finger pointing,
blame, betrayal and claims of lack of leadership that have passed between
stakeholders this week after the future of the project became uncertain.
“No one could have pictured the twists and turns and deviations
on what has been an incredibly bumpy road,” he said.
Most councillors at Thursday’s meeting acknowledge that a
resolution needed to be passed because it was the “11
any hold ups could further jeopardize the project. Only two councillors voted
against the revised agreement: Ralph Forsyth and Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.