Maria Pearson, councillor for Stoney Creek, has had enough. She's tired of listening to claims that sprawl development is a bad idea and she isn't going to take it any more.
Pearson, a member of the former Stoney Creek council when it was busy disgorging itself toward Niagara at top speed, doesn't want to contemplate that this course might, in retrospect, have been a bad idea.
As usual, Citizens at City Hall (CATCH) has the scoop. After Councillor Bob Bratina (Ward 2) argued that sprawl planning has resulted in higher emergency services costs to service far-flung subdivisions, Pearson fired back:
"I'm taking exception to hearing it more and more," she said. "I don't believe that they were errors in the days when the urban development was put in place."
Pearson insists that what they did was perfectly acceptable because they were following "their mandate, their directive, and their requirements in meeting this development" and that the "by-laws are still in place that allows development to go ahead."
Of course, the councillors themselves decided what their mandate was and ratified their own by-laws, but let's set this aside for a moment and consider the larger argument.
In short, Pearson argues that because they were following their mandate to approve low density, car-dependent, single use developments, it's therefore unfair to argue that they did anything wrong.
However, the very issue at hand is that the philosophy behind sprawl - the principles that informed the mandate, the directive, and the requirements - is fallacious. It's based on an incorrect set of assumptions about the sustainability of endless growth and ever-increasing energy use.
Pearson's response is to refuse, stubbornly, to reconsider that philosophy and those principles in light of new information. She insists, "I really take exception to continuing to hear that we made mistakes. We just tried to go in the right direction."
Refusing to admit a mistake is a sure-fire way of continuing to make the same mistake over and over again. As John Maynard Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?"
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