August 20, 2014

Film centre fence raises red flag for Bayview resident

Councillor and film centre make interim decision to open gate

Richard Rix stands beside the film centre’s fence

Richard Rix stands beside the film centre’s fence

The circumstances around the erection of a fence that blocked off the pathway from Country Lane onto the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) site prompted local resident Richard Rix to question whether or not due process had been followed and the public’s rights have been respected in the centre’s ongoing campus improvement project. He recently wrote a 32-page report outlining his concerns and sent it to a number of parties including the city ombudsman, who he has asked to review the matter. In it, Rix identified as key issues how the film centre has conducted itself, the expansion of its lease holdings and the role of city officials in advancing its plans, which he fears may involve further expansion.

“What we’re looking at here is essentially the takeover of park land, of public land,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right and the way it’s being done is wrong.”

The film centre said the fence was installed to come into compliance with the restrictive covenant held by five abutting property owners. It stipulates that access to the site not be permitted from Country Lane. But, in speaking to the former councillor and the abutting property owners, Rix said he found that the fence was not requested by a neighbour, as had been suggested to him.

Jane Angel, the director of business and legal affairs at the film centre, said they’ve followed proper procedure in their plans and that they’ve tried their best to be a good neighbour and to be transparent.

“We’re disappointed in that it misrepresents our intention and actions,” Angel said of the report.

Coun. Jaye Robinson said that she’s been working on the fence issue since it came to her attention. At press time, Robinson said that the city and film centre had reached an interim decision to reopen the gate.

“We are going to definitely continue our outreach to the covenant holders,” she said. “This issue is really in their hands because they’ve got an agreement with the city.”