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Schneider Family Lands donation to rare charitable reserve
Taken from the rare website, a letter from the Schneider Family:

Quote:Our family, specifically our mother and father, have allowed access to the Schneider property for over 40 years. Many people have enjoyed the ability to hike and ski the many kilometres of trails now maintained by the next generation. It was their wish that this would continue for generations to come.

Our mother is 94, and although she is healthy and continues to enjoy and occasionally still walk these trails, this will not continue forever. Our family is planning to donate a lot of this land you are now enjoying, but the local government -specifically Wilmot Township- is putting up roadblocks preventing this from moving forward.

For over four years, we have negotiated with Wilmot to sever the existing houses and donate over 230 acres of this land to rare. The rare Charitable Research Reserve is a registered charity working as a land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo Region/Wellington. They will steward this land as part of their conservation land trust mandate and continue to allow access to this property no differently than it is now. The existing housing with minimal adjacent land will be retained by the family to allow existing tenants and my mother to live in them. No further building, except possibly a shed for maintenance, will be built on donated land.

Wilmot is not allowing this to happen. Our father died in 2011, and with the passing of our mother, taxation will be triggered that would necessitate the sale of these lands and, therefore, the loss of access to all. As of now, Wilmot is mandating that we build a parking lot, at our expense, on our lands to allow severance of the existing homes. A parking lot would be detrimental to neighbours, incur excessive maintenance and cost, and destroy the beautiful land where it would be built. Existing road parking works well now, and we see no need to change this.

We have successfully addressed many other issues demanded by the township but as a family we do not want a parking lot on our lands. We will be donating a large parcel of land with a value of millions of dollars and Wilmot needs to honour this commitment which comes at no cost to them. Much expense has already been absorbed by the family and rare in the preparation of this land donation. We are now going public with our concerns and ask for help.

Please write, phone, or email your support of our land donation to the Wilmot council and mayor. Let them know that you do not want a parking lot, that any further delays are not acceptable and that they need to work on alternative solutions to approve our severance application quickly. We do not want to close the property for public access as has been suggested by township planners. Improved roadside parking is a possibility and needs to become a political priority!

Mayor Natasha Salonen : natasha.salonen@wilmot.ca
Councillor Steven Martin : steven.martin@wilmot.ca
Councillor Stewart Cressman : stewart.cressman@wilmot.ca
Councillor Lillianne Dunstall: lillianne.dunstall@wilmot.ca
Councillor Harvir Sidhu: harvir.sidhu@wilmot.ca
Councillor Kris Wilkinson: kris.wilkinson@wilmot.ca

Please feel free to copy rare at james.bow@raresites.org when you e-mail.

The councillors’ full contact information can be found here.

Please share this letter with any friend/group you think would help (click here to download this letter as a PDF). Thank you for any help you can give us!

The Schneider Family

[Image: schneider-lands-map.jpg]

Truly disgusting. It’s well known that planners require far more parking to be built than is actually demanded, but the idea that they would interfere with such a good work as this donation is really going above and beyond their usual activities.

I suppose I should check: does anybody know where this is coming from? Am I right to castigate the planners, or is council doing this all on their own or even contrary to planning advice? Council deserves blame either way, because they ultimately make the decision.
That's an unfortunate change of tone from the township, but not at all surprising. It's odd because I posted about this last year after they held a public meeting and the public input was mostly in support of the land transfer.

Absolutely hilarious yet depressingly pathetic that while we're here talking about a wonderful land preserve within our urban region...somehow fucking parking and cars are what people are worried about. Not a nature preserve, but fucking parking. Haha this place is ridiculous.
Any of the cities or townships should be in a full sprint to take 100s of acres of charitable trust preserved land as a new public good for the low price of finding a 12 car parking lot or road upgrade. Absolutely looney tunes behaviour unless there are some other factors at play the donor isn't being forthcoming on, but seems unlikely.
Schneider family land donation stuck in municipal red-tape (CBC)

Two excerpts below.  The Township wants the parking lot 'following "provincially regulated municipal best practices"', while the GRCA would be unlikely to approve the parking lot due to the wetland.  Luckily (I write sarcastically), the province has shown its disdain for wetlands, so this should be a slam dunk.

Quote:Stephanie Sobek-Swant is the executive director of rare Charitable Research Reserve.

She says the township wants the Schneiders to first build a parking lot on the land before donating it.

"The Schneider family has been very clear right from the get go that they are not in favour of [building a parking lot] and that they would not permit that," Sobek-Swant said.

"We've also have word from the GRCA who said it would be very difficult from an engineering perspective to even build there because it's mostly wetland in the areas that's close to the road and they would likely also not even give permission to do it."

Quote:The Township of Wilmot sent CBC News a statement saying it's following "provincially regulated municipal best practices" when dealing with the Schneider family land.

"While we are immensely grateful for this generous donation to the rare Charitable Reserve, we must follow best practices and apply the same requirements we would apply to anyone in Wilmot," the statement said.

"In this case, there has been an application for an amendment to the Township's zoning bylaws and it was concluded a parking solution is required to ensure the safety of local residents and limit taxpayers' liability."

The township also noted that it plans to continue to try and find a solution by working with the Schneider family and the city of Waterloo, which also borders the land in the middle of the dispute.
It's so remarkably cynical to see the lengths that municipal governments will go for the things they actually care about, unlike tedious things like housing, health, and sustainable growth. The parking lot crisis is critical!
local cambridge weirdo
Maybe they should donate it to rare with an agreement that it won’t be used for any purpose (specifically, the hiking which it has been used for), but crossing their fingers behind their back and failing to implement any new controls on entry after the donation?

(01-21-2024, 11:39 PM)bravado Wrote: It's so remarkably cynical to see the lengths that municipal governments will go for the things they actually care about, unlike tedious things like housing, health, and sustainable growth. The parking lot crisis is critical!

Exactly. And they are using 'safety' as an excuse, when they can't even keep our sidewalks cleared in the winter, for example, and one of many.

If only they cared about more important things like they care about this, we'd have one hell of a region.
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