Bayview says good­bye to OMB

North York Post - - News - Jaye Robin­son Ward 25 Coun­cil­lor

From the town­houses on Bayview Av­enue to the tow­ers at Yonge Street and Eglin­ton Av­enue, Ward 25 is con­stantly un­der con­struc­tion. Many of the ap­pli­ca­tions for th­ese devel­op­ments have been ap­pealed to and ap­proved by the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB), an un­elected, un­ac­count­able body far re­moved from the ar­eas in ques­tion.

I have been a vo­cal op­po­nent of the OMB and am hope­ful that re­form is on the way. The prov­ince’s 2016 OMB re­view led to the cre­ation of Bill-139, the Build­ing Bet­ter Com­mu­ni­ties and Con­serv­ing Wa­ter­sheds Act. Last month, Bill-139 was sent to the stand­ing com­mit­tee on so­cial pol­icy, and it has now been or­dered for a third read­ing in the On­tario leg­is­la­ture. The pro­vin­cial govern­ment will post its tran­si­tion plans on­line for pub­lic com­ments later this year.

If Bill-139 is passed, the OMB would be re­placed by the Lo­cal Plan­ning Ap­peals Tri­bunal. This body will only re­view de­ci­sions that do not fol­low the of­fi­cial plan and zon­ing by­laws. Re­quests to amend sec­ondary plans will be per­mit­ted only with the ap­proval of Toronto City Coun­cil for two years af­ter adop­tion. Rather than fo­cus­ing on spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tions, city plan­ners will be able to de­velop long-term, sus­tain­able poli­cies without the loom­ing threat of OMB ap­peal.

Bill-139 was in­spired by lo­cal en­gage­ment on con­tro­ver­sial ap­pli­ca­tions such as the cam­paign against the 35-storey tower be­side John Fisher school. I am cau­tiously op­ti­mistic that th­ese changes will give the city and res­i­dents more power to pre­serve the beau­ti­ful neigh­bour­hoods of Ward 25.

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