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Senior Pelham Planner leaves

BY VOICE STAFF

The Town of Pelham’s Senior Planner, Julie Hannah, has left to take the same position for the city of Thorold, effective July 4.

In a June 19 email apparently sent by Hannah to staff and those she has worked with in the real estate development industries, she announced the move, stating that her last day on the job in Pelham had been the previous Friday, June 16.

The Voice was unable to independently confirm the email’s authenticity, nor has any announcement been made by Town Hall. Hannah did not respond to a request for comment.

Hannah’s departure comes as Pelham is under increasing pressure from the Region concerning its East Fonthill financing practices, and from developers, including at least one East Fonthill developer currently suing the Town at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

At four years, Hannah tenure was the longest of those currently in the planning department, which has recently seen a high rate of turnover. Its current head, Barb Wiens, is just shy of her second year in the job.

Hannah was hired following the departure of Craig Larmour, Pelham’s Director of Planning and Development for eight years before he was abruptly terminated in early 2013. In October 2014, Larmour filed a Council Code of Conduct complaint, alleging violations in the manner in which the Town sought to sell Town-owned land in East Fonthill to the Allen Group, a GTA commercial developer. Larmour requested that an independent Integrity Commissioner, to be named by the Ontario Ombudsman, hear the allegations, rather than relying on Town Hall’s internal process. Three days after receiving notice of Larmour’s filing, Pelham Town Council voted to deny his request or to conduct its own investigation, asserting that Larmour’s complaint was a “misuse of the process.”

Reached Monday for comment, Larmour asserts that he requested to meet with the Mayor and CAO. “Instead, they presented it to Council without providing me notice to opportunity to speak to the matter,” he said. “My option was to pursue them in court. I did not pursue this option.”

Mayor Augustyn and five of six Town Council members went on to win re-election in the municipal election held three weeks later. Larmour later became Director of Community and Development Services in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a position he stills holds. Inquiries continue into another land deal between the Town and the Allen Group, the East Fonthill Development Charges credits-for-land scheme, subject to further examination by the Niagara Region’s Audit Committee, which will again take up the matter in September.

In her email, Hannah writes, “I have very much enjoyed working with you in getting the approvals needed for development and/or the creation of planning policy.  I hope in the future that our paths will again meet so that we can continue the positive working relationship was formed in Pelham.”

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