BRANTFORD — Recently County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy and Brantford Mayor Chris Friel have deflected responsibility for unpopular housing developments, telling opponents they have no choice in the matter and that the province of Ontario dictates the arrangements of development.
But is that really the truth, or is there some strategic scapegoating taking place to deflect the blame from an unpopular decision.
Levac seemed to be annoyed by being held out as a scapegoat in the matter of the long negotiated land transfer between Brantford and Brant, which has come under considerable fire, especially in the Tutela Heights area.
“That whole thought is a red herring,” Levac told the Two Row Times last week. “I actually challenged the Mayor when he said, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t had people knocking on your door,’ and that it’s all my fault. I said, ‘wait a minute. You are the very mayor that wanted me to set up a meeting with (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) Ted McMeekin, to tell him don’t you dare come in here and touch us. We are going to do this by ourselves but we want to know that you are not going to force yourself on us. They got McMeekin to say ‘the province will not force anything on you. Figure it out locally, but here’s what we’re hoping you could do.’ Chris said ‘yes’. Now, the minute they get an agreement and somebody starts yelling at him, they say, blame Levac. Blame the province. Well that’s just hypocritical. You can’t suck and blow at the same time. You can’t have it your way and then turn around when you have a little heat and blame the province.”
When asked again if the province is dictating how the negotiations should go, Levac was more direct.
“The province never said to Brant or Brantford you must do this,” Levac clearly revealed. “We’re the boogey-man that gets put out there saying you have to do it this way.”
But on the other hand, Levac admits that the province has final signing authority once a deal is reached. At that point the province can intervene and order further negotiations to improve certain areas of the agreement and massage it down some.
He also says that should there be an impasse, the province would bring in a mediator to help break the log jam so negotiations could resume.
The truth likely lay somewhere between the two perceptions, but either way the battle for Tutela Heights, the Johnson Tract and Martin Tract continues.