Letters · VIEWS March 21st, 2016

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Abolishing OMB would present unnecessary risks

Letter to the Editor

Councillor Matlow’s drive to abolish the OMB seeks only to satisfy his agenda and is not in the best interest of the common good.

The OMB is an independent body appointed by our elected government to discharge the law, rules and regulations according to the Planning Act of Ontario and the Toronto Official Plan. It is where we (residents, ratepayers and the general public, including developers) appeal a decision, where there are reasons to do so, and have the matter heard by an adjudicating body/institution/court that is independent of the City of Toronto.

Independent, fair and impartial hearings where all Parties are treated equally.

In its stead, those who wish to abolish the OMB would have us go where? Divisional Court? Ombudsman Ontario? Ombudsman City? Attorney General’s Office? Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing? A new City-run appeal body?

These same abolitionists, encouraged by the City Chief Planner, have already passed bylaws that remove property rights from residents, ratepayers and the general public. Fortunately, these decisions are being appealed by my local community association (ARECA), assisted by the Confederation of Resident and Ratepayer Associations (CORRA).

Not everybody agrees with these undemocratic decisions. Currently at the OMB there are a large number of Appellants to these City-initiated proposed changes to the Official Plan. These include home owners, community associations, developers and representatives of the development industry in Toronto. Some of these changes were first proposed during the chaotic last two years of the Ford era. The most destabilizing of which are the Eglinton Connects and the Development Permit System proposals. The Harmonizing Zoning Bylaw is also bogged down in numerous appeals and confusion.

The transit farce during the Ford era is not the only Council decision that needs to be revisited.

As the saying goes, “It’s the OMB, stupid”. Fix it, restore it to its rightful stature and you fix all that ails the OMB. Any other bright idea would be an unnecessary risk. Think about this; why would you give more control of the planning process to those who already believe it’s a good idea to remove your property rights?

Patrick Smyth
Oriole Parkway