Can council decide in January?

Background: A question arrived today via email from one of the sophisticated readers of this blog. It is related to Richmond council being asked to give an additional six months of life to the Garden City Lands purchase agreement in order to keep alive the ALR-exclusion application to the Agricultural Land Commission.

The question: If council decides to make the purchase agreement valid for the proposed new six-month period (January 1 to June 30, 2009), does it really matter whether council makes its decision in December? Or could it be in January?

My answer: It doesn’t make much difference, even though December would be neater.

My explanation: Unlike the two extensions at the ends of 2006 and 2007, this proposed new period is not provided for within the purchase agreement. Under the Garden City Lands agreements, it therefore fits under the renegotiation-arbitration-restoration provision in the other agreement, the initial memorandum of understanding that is known as the MOU.

The MOU includes renegotiation among the affected parties “of any understandings, arrangements or agreements between them with respect to the Garden City Property in order to give effect to the spirit of this MOU, to the extent possible, in the changed circumstances” (MOU 1.22). Since the MOU will be as valid in January 2009 and it is in December 2008, the renegotiation to give new life to the purchase agreement could still occur in January.

Note: Fairly soon in 2009, however, the applicants will have to withdraw the ALR-exclusion application if the purchase agreement is not given a new lease on life. That is because key aspects of the application will become unachievable.

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