You can’t fight City Hall, but sometimes you can get help there.
Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment Scott Baldry manages one of the more demanding of offices in City Hall, coordinating hundreds of variance applications and a small staff. He’s responsible for a huge swath of work, arriving early each morning and often staying into the evening. He’s a bureaucrat you never hear of.
A family needed variances to build their dream backyard, but due to the drainage of their neighbourhood, the application quickly became complex requiring numerous city departments to become involved, including drainage engineering.
When the application came in front of the committee, members paused due to initial comments against the variance from engineering staff who were seeking studies. Baldry explained that he had gone back and forth with the applicants and city staff, and they had reached a resolution. He explained the situation and the committee was able to approve the application.
The woman owning the house was elated, and almost in tears because her dream was approved. She thanked Baldry and left the room happier than I’ve seen anyone at City Hall in a long time.
Baldry didn’t need to assist her with the application, he could’ve just done his job, and watch as the family was charged for studies and extra fees. Instead, he took time to bridge the citizen-bureaucracy communications barrier to solve this situation.
For that woman, and her family, they witnessed City Hall work – and now the rest of us know City Hall can work for us.