OMB begs ques­tion: What’s the use?

John Fil­ion Ward 23 Coun­cil­lor

Bayview Post - - News -

If you live in the West Lans­ing area, after news of the re­cent On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) de­ci­sion for 53-63 Shep­pard Ave. W. landed with a thud in your in­box, you can be for­given for ask­ing the fol­low­ing ques­tion.

What’s the use?: Of at­tend­ing count­less evening meet­ings to dis­cuss re­de­vel­op­ment is­sues in your com­mu­nity; of tak­ing a rea­soned ap­proach by sup­port­ing a city of­fi­cial plan change that would al­low midrise build­ings on Shep­pard along the same lines as other major roads; of elect­ing a coun­cil­lor and mayor who support you by fight­ing bad de­vel­op­ment that doesn’t come re­motely close to fol­low­ing the city’s plan­ning rules?

The re­cent Shep­pard de­ci­sion ap­proved a 14-storey build­ing where the city’s rules per­mit six. Worst of all, it al­lows the de­vel­op­ment to ex­tend into the ad­ja­cent neigh­bour­hood on Bogert Av­enue — a bad prece­dent that could af­fect many other neigh­bour­hoods.

In May, the prov­ince in­tro­duced OMB re­form leg­is­la­tion, which could make such de­ci­sions less likely in the fu­ture. Putting aside the ques­tion of why that didn’t hap­pen at the start of this term of of­fice, why did the gov­ern­ment an­nounce it so far ahead of mak­ing it law, thereby caus­ing a flood of new ap­peals by de­vel­op­ers hop­ing to beat the clock? That will keep the OMB go­ing for years un­der old rules, enough time to make the dam­age al­most ir­repara­ble.

I of­fer a sug­ges­tion that could re­duce the dev­as­ta­tion: make the OMB re­form retroac­tive to the date of its in­tro­duc­tion. If they don’t, when they come ask­ing for our vote next year, we can all ask, “What’s the use?”

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