City blocks petition request

A Riverdale resident has been told she doesn't have the right to circulate a petition regarding infill of her neighbourhood.

A Riverdale resident has been told she doesn’t have the right to circulate a petition regarding infill of her neighbourhood.

After approaching the city last week with the petition, she received a letter telling her such a petition would be “invalid.”

The petition asked citizens whether they wanted infill housing in Riverdale. The resident hoped, that by gathering at least 2,000 signatures, she would be able to trigger a city-wide referendum on the issue.

But the city used a court ruling from 2009 to block her request.

That case, which dealt with a petition for a park in the McLean Lake area, ruled referendums can no longer be held on any issue relating to the city’s Official Community Plan, its master planning document.

That has left little recourse for residents who don’t agree with city planners.

“They’re taking away our legal right to do anything,” said Riverdale resident Laura Hansen.

“I always thought a petition was our last resort and now that’s been taken away from us. I’m at a loss, I don’t know what to do now.”

Since hearing that the petition would be denied by the city, Hansen has sent mass e-mails to people in her neighbourhood. She wants as many people as possible to pack the city’s council chambers on June 28th when the city holds a public hearing for the 2010 Official Community Plan.

Riverdale residents have long opposed the idea of infill in their neighbourhood. In 2005, a similar outcry from residents forced councillors and planners to drop the issue.

A proposal to create infill housing near Boswell and Firth has been the most contentious.

Residents who live near the area say the land has long been marketed as greenspace and should stay that way.

They’re concerned infill housing will drop the value of their homes and may contaminate two new water wells in Riverdale.

Riverdale resident Gerrard Bluteau is worried a popular space for nesting birds will disappear.

Every day, the 72-year-old man walks the trails near Boswell and Firth feeding birds. He’s posted signs around the neighbourhood alerting people about the meeting at the end of the month.

“I’ll be at the meeting for sure,” he said.

“The more people on-side the better.”

Contact Vivian Belik at