Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
The City of Stratford has "sole and absolute discretion" over how to proceed with the development of the Cooper site, according to CAO Ron Shaw, who earlier this week delivered a very pointed rebuke to public comments that have come out recently from the site's former owner.
Reading from a prepared statement at Monday's council meeting, Shaw said the city expropriated the former industrial lands for municipal purposes including, but not limited to, economic development.
"So there is a very wide range of uses we could put in our plan," he said.
The city has executed minutes of settlement with former site owner Lawrence Ryan's numbered company and those minutes contain "nothing whatsoever about limiting the ultimate use" of the expropriated lands or the (St. Patrick Street) parking lot lands, he added.
The comments strongly refute the claims made by Ryan at a public meeting he hosted in St. Marys last month, where he told a small crowd of people that the expropriated lands were taken from him for the University of Waterloo development, and that since it is now unlikely the school will occupy the bulk of the lands he is legally entitled to them back. He also questioned how the memorandum of understanding the city signed back in September with Riversedge Development – whose proposal for the possible acquisition and development of the site needs to be submitted to the city on or before Dec. 10 - might also affect the expropriation.
Shaw told councillors, members of the local media and guests in attendance that the expropriation would only be abandoned if the city was to determine the lands are unnecessary for the purposes in which they were acquired.
He added that, per the minutes of settlement, Ryan and his numbered company have agreed to not interfere with the city's future plans for the site.
Shaw concluded his remarks by noting, "I don't know how we could be anymore clear."