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Two Wilmot councillors ask region for land acquisition details as turf war continues

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Two Wilmot councillors are showing support for the farmers involved in a controversial turf war with the Region of Waterloo.

The region looks to acquire 770 acres of farmland between Nafziger Road, Bleams Road, and Wilmot Centre Road. The region says the purchase would guarantee shovel-ready land for development, but hasn’t specified what the development would be.

Ward 2 councillor Kris Wilkinson and ward 3 councillor Harvir Sidhu met with landowners on Wednesday, calling on the region to release more information on what will be done if the land is sold.

“The farmers and landowners have not been treated fairly or treated with respect,” Sidhu told those attending.

Wilkinson says he wants more transparency from the region.

“Enough is enough. We have two asks, release the technical details, and come and talk to us,” Wilkinson said.

But when both were asked to discuss what they’ve been told by regional council, they declined.

“That would be something that we’ve been privy to and is confidential information through our closed sessions,” Sidhu said.

They said they were bound by the Municipal Act, and unable to disclose matters discussed in closed sessions.

“We can’t disclose what was discussed or why,” Wilkinson said.

Stewart Snyder hosted the community engagement event at his farm, which is one of the properties the region wants to buy. He said he received one offer and turned it down.

“We’re getting no answers, we don’t know what’s going on,” Snyder told CTV News.

Snyder says he won’t entertain the idea of selling until he’s told what his land will be turned into and the environmental impacts.

“If we know what’s going on, if they’re going to build a hospital here, totally different story,” Snyder said.

The Region of Waterloo told CTV News “the Region is in continued conversation with landowners, which remains confidential and is common practice in professional real estate negotiations.”

Alfred Lowrick, the designated spokesperson of the landowners, says a residential property has already been sold to the region, with two more sales pending, but the land makes up less than one percent of the 770 acres.

The farmers tell CTV News there is still a threat of expropriation if the situation doesn’t move forward.

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