Preserved Stories Blog

Comment from Charles Tsiang (MCHS ’62) at the post at which Elvis Presley said that the image is one thing and the human being is another

I’ve recently taken a break from work on the MCHS 2015 Reunion, but work has now resumed. My absence from the volunteer task of helping to organize the reunion, a task that focuses on the wider community, of which I am a part, is accounted for by the fact that a government agency alerted me that certain tax returns, which every citizen is required to file, had remained unfiled in the case of a certain individual.

I’m sure that every person who reads this post is up to date on their tax returns, and has not had the occasion to be the subject of a message alerting a person that they have a task that needs to be completed. Anyway, when you get such a message, it’s a good idea to put other things aside and attend to the task at hand.

I have a large number of posts involving photos to catch up on. But first, a post about Elvis and the nature of reality.

I’m pleased to share with you the following comment from Charles Tsiang (MCHS ’62), who was president of the Student Council at Malcolm Campbell High School in 1962-63, among his many other notable achievements over the years. The comment is at a post entitled:

Elvis remarked: “The image is one thing and the human being is another.”

Comment from Charles Tsiang

Oh my goodness Jaan, you float a whole raft of ideas in front of us with numerous items to poke at. I’m willing to nibble at the evidence based medicine subject. My feeling is that the desire to address alternative medicine 1) acknowledges reader interest, and 2) reflects the possibility that there might really be something legitimate beneath the surface that when discovered might make you sound dumb. I do agree however that there is the danger of conferring legitimacy upon something by being willing to set it up on stage next to a well-accepted view. Isn’t that false equivalency or false balance in reporting…whatever the term is. But what I’d inject into the conversation is the technique employed quite often… that is to destroy faith in legitimate study by 1) making claims of contradictory findings without having scientific/sound bases for that, and 2) misrepresenting what the original researchers actually observed and concluded. I think your material points to a case of that happening.

Comment from Jaan Pill

The question of evidence based medicine is of much interest Charles. I agree with the points that you have made, in your comments. I would add that my understanding of the underlying issues is more basic than your own understanding, which appears to have a stronger foundation than my own level of understanding.

A topic that comes to mind, when I think about the nature of evidence, and what the term evidence-based practice entails, concerns two particular ways of looking at Tibetan Buddhism, among all of the possible ways that the topic can be approached. I’ve addressed this topic in a preliminary way in a previous post:

In which Buddhist cultural practices meet ethnographic and neuroscience research

The salient observation, that occurs to me, is that Sherry B. Ortner brings offers much of value in her analysis of Buddhist cultural practices from the vantage point of sociological theory and ethnographic research. The second form of research, also addressed in the previous post, concerns studies that have been conducted within the academic frame of reference of neuroscience. The latter research also addresses Buddhist cultural practices, but from another academic frame of reference, and using tools of analysis that differ from ethnographic field research.

I found the Scientific American article, referenced in the blog post that I’ve referred to above, of interest.

Narratives based on neuroscience

I have an interest in these topics because I’m a beginner practitioner of mindfulness, having taken an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course a decade ago, and having been meditating regularly every day ever since. That’s a particular reason why the Scientific American article is enjoyable for me to read.

The ethnographic research creates a kind of distancing effect, which is characteristic, for better or worse, of quite a bit of academic research. Neuroscience research, while it can readily give rise to narratives that some observers would describe as not helpful, in this case brings a person a little closer, I would say, to the topic at hand.

National Film Board contrasted to Maysles brothers

With regard to frames of reference, and how approaches to reality influence our perception of it, I also have a strong interest in the contrast between the traditional National Film Board approach to documentary making (starting with prewar and wartime filmmaking) and the approach developed by the Maysles brothers in the United States. I’ve referenced this distinction in a recent update at the following post. Again, it’s a topic that is of interest to me:

Erving Goffman began his graduate work in Chicago in 1945

The update brings attention to the vastly different approaches to documentary filmmaking at the National Film Board as compared to the work of the Maysles brothers. The update notes that an excerpt from Albert Maysles (2009) observes that Albert Maysles focused upon what Erving Goffman’s called “the presentation of self in everyday life.” Albert and David Maysles approached documentary making from a perspective that vastly differed from that of the National Film Board. Albert and David Maysles: Interviews (2010) shares an overview of the work of the Maysles brothers.

Perceptions about Regent Park, currently a desirable destination for people seeking to buy a condo

A related post, which deals with how Regent Park, a Toronto housing development that has recently been redeveloped, has been represented and portrayed by the NFB in years past, is – along with the above-noted post about Erving Goffman – among the most frequently visited posts at my website according to Google Analytics:

Framing Regent Park: The National Film Board and the construction of “outcast spaces” in the inner city – 1953 & 1994

 

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Jim Benedict seeks details about Morison School

Jim Benedict has shared the following comment at the post entitled Cartierville School in Montreal.

Can you help him find the details that he seeks?

His Comment [I’ve corrected the spelling for the school’s name – it has one “R” not two “R”s] is as follows:

“I attended Morison School for part of the 61-62 school year. My father had a job in Montreal at the time. During the summer of ’62 we moved back to Denver, Colorado. I have recently been trying to locate our old home and the school on Google but to no avail. I found some old notes that referred to the home as 5343 Jeanne, St Laurent but maps seem to massage that into Rue Jeanne-Mance. The street view appears as row house architecture so I am quite sure this is not the correct address. My memory is that Morison School was basically down the street (Jeanne) from our home. But that is a 50+ year old memory. I don’t find a Morison School in my research or the correct Jeanne street. Does the school even exist anymore? Was it renamed? Converted to something else? And would you know how I might determine the accurate street name? I would be ever grateful. Thank you.”

 

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Posted in MCHS 2015 Stories, Newsletter, Toronto | 21 Comments

Letter from David Godley to John Livey, Deputy City Manager, and Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

David Godley at break during OMB hearing in February 2015. Jaan Pill photo

David Godley at break during OMB hearing in February 2015. Jaan Pill photo

Dear John and Jennifer,

Long Branch has a hearing in its historic centre.

There are 8 listed buildings on the street.

Two alien detached houses on 8m frontage lots are proposed.

Previously Etobicoke Local Planners have used a study area to determine character.
They have overlooked the “nearby massing” (density, setbacks, placement) in the OP.
Evaluation needs to be done on a block basis. Both your OP and Urban Design sections support this view.

Using a study area has helped applicants whose position is that if there are similar developments in the study area of 100s of houses, then the proposal conforms to OP policies.

4 James Street, 6 Shamrock and recently 20 James are examples of where the urban terrorists at the OMB blithely take the development planner’s view. Focus on block evaluation approach may have yielded different results.

Since there is no mention of the character evaluation process in the OP, a swift memo to the planner who will give evidence on 23rd April is all that is necessary to resolve the situation.

Please, for the sake of good planning, have the City strengthen its case. Please consider that an urban design planner give evidence too.

I have copied the community leader and the Legal Department’s solicitor on this case.

Regards

David

 

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Heritage Tree Presentation – March 26, 2015 at Montgomery’s Inn

NEW-OUFC-LOGO-2014_Small

Geoff Kettel of Toronto has passed along the following information:

Seats are filling up quickly for this evening of sharing information about Heritage Trees and how you can help in their identification and preservation.

Edith George and Peter Wynnyczuk will present on the topic from two different perspectives, with opportunities for sharing of information.

Come join us for this evening session at historic Montgomery’s Inn located in the Dundas St. W. and Islington Ave. area.

Janet McKay from Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests, LEAF, will also be there to make a special announcement an upcoming Tree Hunt as well. Seating is limited.

Heritage Tree Presentation Seminar

With presentations by Edith George and Peter Wynnyczuk

Price: $10 (free for Ontario Urban Forest Council members)

When: 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 26, 2015

Where: Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas St. West

Web link for registration:

http://www.oufc.org/shop/registration/

Also visit our Book Store for the Heritage Tree Toolkit that is being used for evaluating Heritage Trees in Ontario.

http://www.oufc.org/shop/books-publications/

Some copies will be available at the venue for purchase.

Montgomery’s Inn Website if you want to come early.

http://www.montgomerysinn.com/

Look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

Peter Wynnyczuk,

Executive Director,

Ontario Urban Forest Council

Empowering people.
Protecting trees.
Website: http://www.oufc.org/

Email: info@oufc.org

 

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Aerodromes of Toronto by Robert Galway – Thursday April 9, 2015 at Lambton House

Photo is from PDF file advertising the event. Click on link at bottom of page to access file.

Photo is from PDF file advertising the event. Click on link at bottom of page to access file.

What

Aerodromes of Toronto by Robert D. Galway

Heritage Talks @ Lambton House

When

Thursday April 9, 2015

Doors open 6:30pm

Talk at 7:30pm

Where

Lambton House

4066 Old Dundas Street, York M6S 2R6

Refreshments & free admission

TTC bus 55 stops at the door

www.lambtonhouse.org

Here’s the flyer:

2015 HY April HT – Galway-2

Co-sponsored by Baby Point Heritage Foundation and Heritage York

 

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Annual Forestry Conference – Ontario Professional Foresters Association

You can find more information here.

From the above-noted link, here is some information that may interest you:

Annual Conference

58th Annual Conference and General Meeting

April 8-10, 2015

Toronto, Ontario

General Information

Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre – On-Line, Phone

Our 2015 Theme is: Modern Forestry -The New Diversity – increasing importance of urban forests on the social, political and ecological agendas, raising awareness of forestry business and the green workforce in supporting our economy and our environment in cities, rural areas and northern Ontario.

REGISTRATION
On-Line Print/Mail
Questions: agm@opfa.ca

AGM AGENDA & SUPPORTING MATERIALS

Attached Notice of Meeting & Proxy Form, Annual Report, Resolution Form, ByLaw Changes

CONFERENCE AGENDA

Day I- Wednesday 8, 2015

Field Tour

8:00 AM – Registration

8:30 AM – Tour bus leaves the Sheraton Hotel. Lunch en route.

Morning Tour

Tour of Forest Management in Guild Park and Gardens. Located on the Scarborough Bluffs.

Afternoon Tour

Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, 33 Willcocks St.

Tour of the research labs with Professor Sandy Smith.

Presentation by Dr. Mohini Sain, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry on nano biotechnology and forest biomaterials science.

Evening Events

Downtown Forestry Receptions TBC

7:00 PM – Icebreaker at Hotel with cash bar

Day II- Thursday 9, 2015

7:30 AM – CIF Breakfast

8:00 AM– Coffee and Registration, Exhibits Open

Opening

9:15 AM – Gary Sault, Ojibway elder from Mississauga’s New Credit Nation

9:20 AM – Anne Koven, OPFA conference co-chair opening remarks

9:25 AM – Remarks by Minister Mauro, MNRF TBC

Session I – ‘Modern Forestry- the new diversity’

9:45 AM – Fred Pinto OPFA Executive Director remarks

10:00 AM – Coffee Break and view exhibits.

Session II- Urban Forestry

10:15 AM – Brian DePratto, TD Bank, Environmental Economist on the valuing of urban forests

11:15 AM – Philip Van Wassenaer: How does the OPFA support urban forestry?

12:00 PM – Lunch

Session III

1:15 PM – Moss Consulting on Sustainable Biomass Partnership Standards and Audits

1:45 PM – New Building Codes TBC

2:15 PM – Ontario Forest Products Company Presentation TBC

2:45 PM – Coffee Break

Session IV

3:00 PM – Gavin Mackenzie with Davis Law on the topic of professional conduct, discipline, legal framework for self-regulating professions

3:30 PM – MNRF update on current and impending trade issues.

4:00 PM – OPFA AGM

6:15 PM – Banquet and Awards Ceremony – cash bar.

Day III- Friday 10, 2015

7:30 AM – Forestry Futures Breakfast

8:00 AM – Coffee and Registration

9:00 AM – Bill Thornton, Deputy Minister, MNRF

9:15 AM – Gord Cumming, Chief Forester of Algonquin Forestry Authority, on the multi-uses of Algonquin Park.

9:50 AM – Jessica Kaknevicius, Forests Ontario on communicating forestry and the importance of community engagement and outreach

10:15 AM – Ala Boyd, MNRF on Ontario’s proposed new Invasive Species Act

10:45 AM – Urban Forestry Invasive Species Panel: Toronto, York, Oakville, Tree Canada, and London discuss local work. Dilhari Fernando, Executive Director, Invasive Species Centre will moderate the panel.

11:45 AM – Meeting closing remarks and thanks.

12:00 PM – Student/RPF Lunch funded by CIF

 

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Comment from David Godley regarding OMB decision with reference to 20 James. PL141217

David Godley at break during OMB hearing on Feb. 13, 2015. Jaan Pill photo

David Godley at break during OMB hearing on Feb. 13, 2015. Jaan Pill photo

The previous message from James Baldwin of Long Branch regarding 20 James St. can be accessed here.

The following message, from David Godley of Long Branch, has been sent to key politicians and staff:

Here are my comments on the decision for your consideration. These point out the ongoing weaknesses of the Ontario Municipal Board and the resulting follies.

Read the “bold”[below] to see what service Ontarians are getting from their “hard earned” tax dollars.

 

Process

The hearing was originally scheduled for 2 days; the same as two previous similar hearings in Long Branch.

The date was changed to an earlier 1 day hearing without explanation.

This was a mistake because getting through the hearing quickly became the most important element.

Everyone’s evidence apart from a couple of participants was curtailed to the extent that at least half the hearing was written and not tested.

A number of issues did not come out particularly from one nearby resident because of intimidation. He was even called out for going to the washroom!

The Divisional Court would throw this decision out in an instant.

Without notice I was asked to condense my presentation to 15 minutes. Fortunately I had written up my evidence so it could be an exhibit to be read later. “Do it now or go home I was told” even though I had asked to hear the other planning evidence first. At least the other planners had time to quickly revise their presentations to a compacted 30 minutes.

At a later hearing one planner gave evidence on a similar case for 3.5 hours. One of the participants who asked to be heard after the other planning evidence (as has happened in the 2 day hearings) was not so lucky.

The development planner and the Board acted as advocates for development. The Board, from a description in the decision, seemed to worship at the altar of the development planner. “He that can do no wrong” is in a serious pecuniary conflict of interest.

As a broadly qualified “Friend to the Board” I would have thought my observations would be welcome. However I felt victimised. The resident’s views of the neighbourhood were disregarded as not of planning importance. This may have been OK in the 1960s.

The hearing hardly seemed a good way to draw out the facts of the case or opinions. An outsider would have enjoyed the comedic farce but those damaged are damaged for life. Just ask the abutting owner of the top photo. I have never experienced a meeting where one person antagonised so many people so effectively so quickly.

 

Qualifications

In order to make a planning decision the skill of a well rounded planner is needed.

A knowledge of urban design and public participation are needed in addition to land use planning for the Official Plan (OP) conformity.

The Chair has no planning qualifications and seemingly only a superficial grasp of planning.

The development planner is a well qualified land use planner with emphasis on zoning. No understanding of how public participation is woven into a decision is evident.

There seemed to be an absence of urban design comprehension.

Likewise the City Planner does not include public participation in a decision despite all the references in The Planning Act. He has a keen eye for urban design but little knowledge of evaluation techniques.

In terms of advocacy I am simply an advocate for good planning, as the OMB and City should be. Following the planning and legal framework is of utmost importance in achieving good and fair planning. The Board has replaced planning by so called intuition, sometimes called prejudice.

Issues

The Chair did not appear to feel that severances and variances have to conform to the Official Plan on neighbour impact. Despite the current development rights the development still has to be reviewed in light of OP impact policies. This seems to be a blind spot.

It is extremely unlikely that a house builder is going to put a house near the back of the lot anyway and the massing is much larger because the density is much greater. Unfortunately this lack of understanding has resulted in bad planning which lasts for a century or so.

The photos attached are previous results. Additional approvals including this one will have similar negative effects. On the other road flanking side a set back of 10 feet was reduced to 2.5 feet and because of a large increase in density there will now be by far the most intrusive blank (ugly) wall in the neighbourhood. The impact on the appearance of the street seems to be a “subtlety” not understood by the Chair due to his lack of awareness of urban design and intent of OP policies.

Approval of the application means that in his dubious “logic” that every lot in Long Branch can be developed in the same way. Because this is a majority of the neighbourhood the historic and aesthetic character would be eclipsed. We already have a number of “carbuncles” approved but not built. Applications are increasing. If the hearing had been slowed the Chair might have found out a neighbour was present who wished to sever their own lot as well as lots of other facts and opinions. False assumptions are his downfall. Approval causes new applications. This is a case of blockbusting.

Respect and reinforcement of character has been lacking in parts of Alderwood, to the north. The residents there feel claustrophobic and destabilised. Some have moved away.

Not understanding that the block is the key area for neighbourhood character evaluation is another failing. The block is the critical element of the official interpreters of the OP. Of course the development planner will say that in his study area there is another similar development and support approval. This is nonsense. That is how developers have made inroads already.

The Chair does not understand the overall intent of the Official Plan which was thrashed out in detail with the resulting wording amended by the Council at the behest of Coalition of Residents and Ratepayers Association after months of negotiation. The politicians or Coalition would not have imagined the contorted interpretations now being seen.

Same with zoning. 15 years ago minor was used to adjust requirements where the lot was unusual. A throwback question in the application form currently asks “why cannot you conform to the zoning bylaw”. Now through the power of development planners, high priced lawyers and naive OMB decisions the system has been dramatically changed from the intent of the Planning Act – to allow radical change. The Divisional Court is routinely ignored. The De Gasperis case is the most important and shows minor must be small in impact and size.

The Planning Act was changed to make the Board have regard to the local decision. Unfortunately this was ignored and in fact the regard lessened due to an increasing culture of entitlement.

Now there is a new Planning Act bill bringing powers to the local level and with a review of OMB structure and operations in the wings. The failure of the OMB to adapt will result in its diminution. Sounds like the dinosaurs.

Conclusion

The Chair recognises that I might be well intentioned and I can say the same for him. However, along with some other members, his narrow perspective (especially not seeing the context of matters over time) has brought widespread condemnation and disgrace to the OMB. Having absolute power at hearings has corrupted some Board members whether they know it or not.

Unfortunately some of this stems from the Planning Department not giving good enough evidence or my attendance would not have been necessary.

Naturally I would like some explanation as these points are not addressed in the decision. Since the Board is renowned as one of the most secretive and opaque bodies, I am not expecting a reply. I would like some response from the Planning Department.

Below is “hard working taxpayer’s” view – someone whose life has been disrupted just by the imbalanced process.

Your truly,

David Godley
401 Lake Promenade
Toronto M8W 1C3

To access the previous message from James Baldwin, please click here.

Comment

The preceding comments are from David Godley and James Baldwin of Long Branch. The comment which follows is my own comment.

Work is underway to change the legislation as it pertains to the Ontario Municipal Board; information related to this topic can be accessed here.

From what I can gather, the steps aimed at changing the legislation are promising. That being said, a problem remains – again, from what I can gather – with regard to the demonstrated capabilities and capacities of of OMB board members and the oversight that is in place with regard to their behaviour at hearings. I refer, among other things, to the track record that has been accumulated to date with reference to:

(1) the capacity and capability of OMB board members to understand the parameters under which they are entrusted to operate and

(2) the capacity and capability of OMB board members to apply, with an adequate measure of fairness as assessed by a neutral observer, the planning legislation – by way of example, planning legislation as it relates to the Official Plan for the City of Toronto) that is in place. (I refer to what is in place now; the comment is of relevance as well with regard to legislation that may be in place in the future.)

(3) The level of oversight that is evident with regard to the behaviour of OMB board members, as evidenced by the dialogues that occur at OMB hearings, as reported by residents who have attended such meetings.

(4) The ability to document what occurs at OMB meetings. As noted at an earlier post, it would be valuable if it were possible to record what occurs at such meetings.

 

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March 9, 2015 news release from Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Peter MIlczyn’s office

A previous post about this topic can be accessed here.

 

NEWS

Office of MPP Peter Milczyn

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Ontario Amending the Planning Act and Introducing New Rules for Community Smart Growth

Smart planning for a stronger and more engaged Etobicoke-Lakeshore

NEWS                                                                                                               March 9, 2015

Ontario is proposing reforms to the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act that would give residents a greater say in how their communities grow and restore local decision making to municipalities.

QUOTES

“I am very pleased with the changes to the Planning Act and Development Charges Act which have been proposed by the Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. These are precisely the changes that I had called for during my seventeen year career as a City Councillor and in my recent Private Member’s Bill. Municipalities will have more final decision making, there will be far fewer appeals to the OMB, more citizen engagement in the planning process, more money for transit and other growth related services. My constituents will also be very happy to hear that the definition of a ‘minor variance’ will be more clearly defined.”

The proposed Planning Act changes, if passed, would:

  • Give municipalities more control and decision making over local Planning matters, reduce the number and frequency of appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board, better define what constitutes a “minor variance”, ensure that development provides increased funding for transit, increase transparency and accountability on use of funds collected from development, in addition to a whole suite of changes proposed.
  • The Ontario Government is also committed to undertaking additional reviews and changes to the structure and operation of the Ontario Municipal Board, and housing policies later this year.

Changes to the Development Charges Act, if passed, would:

  • The Development Charges Act will be amended to allow municipalities to collect more funding for Transit infrastructure, Waste Recycling and Handling facilities.
  • The current Development Charge system requires municipalities to base their charges on historic levels of service provision to new development. The proposed changes will allow municipalities to derive fees on the basis of desired future levels of service or enhanced levels of services (The City of Toronto will be able to collect millions of additional dollars annually from new development. The precise figures will be subject to the City of Toronto adopting a new development charges by-law).
  • Changes will require municipalities to clearly report how much money has been collected and how it is being spent.

LEARN MORE

______________________________________________________________

For further inquiries, please contact:

 Tanya Kuzman, Office of MPP Peter Milczyn, 416 526 9307

ontario.ca/landuseplanning

Disponible en français

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Ontario proposes legislation to amend the Planning Act – Restoring local decision making to municipalities

The following text is a Special Edition of MPP Milczyn E-news.

You can also access the document here.

 

Ontario proposes legislation to amend the Planning Act – Restoring local decision making to municipalities

Dear Neighbors,

Please read this special edition of E-news from my office carefully, as it is about very important changes to the Planning Act.

As you know, in November 2014, I introduced a Private Member’s Bill (Bill 39) to the Ontario Legislature which proposed changes to the Planning Act and the City of Toronto Act.

Bill 39, The Planning Statute Law Amendment Act, 2014, was focused on restoring local decision making and giving municipalities the tools to manage the impacts of growth and development, as well as set a stronger foundation for greater alignment between municipal growth planning and provincial legislation.

For the original PMB [Private Member’s Bill] click here.

Bill 73: The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015

official plan_zpsueb498mrOn Thursday, March 5th, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honorable Ted McMeekin, announced the introduction of Bill 73: The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015. The proposed legislation is the result of input from a formal public review of the land use planning and appeal system, which took place between October 2013 and January 2014. Throughout this review, the province received more than 1,200 submissions. The proposed changes respond to the concerns heard during the review.

For the proposed legislation (Bill 73) click here.

If passed, this legislation would bring significant changes to the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act that would ensure growth in Ontario is managed smartly.

I’m very pleased that our government has proposed amendments that would give residents a greater, more meaningful say in how their communities grow; would make the planning and appeals process more predictable, would give municipalities more independence and would make it easier to resolve disputes at the community level.

I’m also particularly pleased that the proposed changes aim to give municipalities more opportunities to fund growth-related infrastructure, like transit and waste diversion. Furthermore, the legislation proposes changes that would make Section 37 density bonusing and parkland dedication systems more predictable, transparent and accountable.

BILL 73 – Smart Growth for our Communities Act

These changes will give municipalities more control and decision making authority over local planning matters, reduce the number and frequency of appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board, better define what constitutes a “minor variance”, ensure that development provides more funding for transit, increased transparency and accountability on use of funds collected from development, in addition to a whole suite of changes proposed.

The Ontario Government is also committed to undertaking additional reviews and changes to the structure and operation of the Ontario Municipal Board, and housing policies later this year.

How this legislation impacts Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Planning Approvals and Process Changes

Alignment of the review of Municipal Official Plans with Provincial Growth Plans from a five (5) year cycle to a ten (10) year cycle

(This will provide Toronto planners with more time to deal with community planning applications.)

Official Plan Amendments that are passed by a Municipality to implement provincial policy will not be appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board

(This will save the City of Toronto time and money by not tying up planning resources at the Ontario Municipal Board.)

New Official Plans would not be appealable for two years to the OMB

(This will allow the City of Toronto to implement new plans and allow them to take immediate effect without incurring multi-year delays at the OMB. This will prohibit developers from attempting developments that do not conform with the Official Plan for that period of time.)

Appeals of an entire Official Plan will not be permitted.

(The City of Toronto will save time and money by not having to assemble arguments against vague appeals of the entire Official Plan.)

Prohibition of Applications for Minor Variances for two (2) years after a Zoning Amendment Application is approved.

(Residents will have more certainty about what will actually be built and will dissuade developers from making quick attempts to change approved development plans.)

Allow municipalities to implement Community Planning Permit Zoning Bylaws for neighbourhoods and districts outlining clear rules for development and community benefits. These zoning By-Laws would not be appealable to the OMB for five (5) years after approval.

(This will encourage City planning to proactively plan for neighbourhoods and areas, will give residents certainty as to what can be built.)

New definitions for “Minor Variance”

New definitions for what constitutes a “Minor Variance” will adopted by Regulation. The definitions have not yet been formulated and will be subject to further consultation this year.

(This will address one of the most frustrating aspects of local planning.)

The Bill proposes the required creation of a Planning Advisory Committees that will have to include residents of a municipality, not just elected officials.

(This type of Committee has not been seen in Toronto since the 1970’s.)

Remove requirement to review employment land policies ensuring no appeals to the OMB if a municipality refuses to convert employment lands to residential/mixed use.

(The current system required Toronto to review employment lands every five (5) years which resulted in hundreds of request for conversion and in excess of one hundred (100) appeals to the OMB, this would be prevented in the future.)

Create opportunities for mediation in advance of an appeal to the OMB by giving municipalities a ninety (90) day time out before setting a hearing date.

[Require] more community consultation at the start of the process, explaining how community input affects a decision.

Development Charges, Parkland fees, and Section 37 Payments

The Development Charges Act will be amended to allow municipalities to collect more funding for Transit infrastructure and waste recycling and handling facilities.

The current Development Charge system requires municipalities to project their charges upon historic levels of service provision to new developments.

Proposed changes will allow municipalities to derive fees on the basis of desired future levels of service or enhanced levels of services.

(The City of Toronto will be able to collect millions of additional dollars annually from new development. The precise amounts will be subject to the City of Toronto adopting a new development charges by-law.)

Changes will require municipalities to clearly report how much money has been collected and how it is being spent.

Development Charges

There are a range of community benefits under Section 37

Cash-in-lieu of Parkland dedication

A municipality that chooses to accept “cash-in-lieu” of parkland from new development will be required to create and adopt a Parks Master Plan showing where and when new parks are proposed to be created using the funds collected

(The City of Toronto does not currently have a specific plan of this kind.)

For a link to our local Etobicoke-Lakeshore press release, please click here.

[ Or you can access it here:

Updated Press Release FINAL DRAFT – PDF- V5 ]

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns about the future of Bill 73 and we would be happy to assist you.

Peter Milczyn
MPP Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Constituency Office
933 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 2H1
416-259-2249
pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Queen’s Park
5th Floor, Mowatt Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1C3
416-325-7815
pmilczyn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
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MPP Peter Milczyn | 900 Bay Street | 8th Floor | Toronto | Ontario | M5H 2N2 | Canada

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Please note

I have made minor changes in punctuation (e.g. treating the content within brackets as separate, stand-alone sentences) and have added a heading, namely: New definitions for “Minor Variance.”

The news release referred to in the text can be accessed here.

 

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I support efforts to enable the recording of OMB hearings

In February 2015 I had the occasion to attend an Ontario Municipal Board hearing concerned with Long Branch where I live.

A number of people have commented regarding the behaviour of the OMB board member at the meeting that I attended.

Anecdotal evidence suggests, with reference to their behaviour at OMB meetings, that some OMB board members can be characterized as viewing the OMB hearing rooms as akin to the ward fiefdoms that have been identified, in a Jan. 15, 2015 report, as a feature of the Toronto District School Board.

It would be in the public interest to have the opportunity to record meetings of the Ontario Municipal Board. The opportunity to record such meetings would enable members of the public, and reporters, to document what occurs at such hearings in contrast to depending upon anecdotal evidence. Memories are malleable but a recording helps us to remember what has occurred.

Accountability of OMB board members

Recordings of such meetings would also serve to enhance the accountability of OMB board members, with reference to whatever their job description entails – in the event that such a job description exists. If what I observed, at the meeting I attended in February 2015, accords with the job description for OMB board members, I would enjoy reading such a document. It would make for compelling reading. By way of genre, I would predict that such a document would resonate strongly with the celebrated literary output of the prose writer Franz Kafka.

A related topic concerns performance reviews. The thought occurs: “Are there performance reviews in place for OMB board members? If so, does what occur at OMB hearings have a bearing on the outcome of such reviews? What oversight or review has been mandated with regard to the performance of such quasi-judicial officials?”

Transcripts of recordings

What I have witnessed, and what other residents have witnessed, in particular at a meeting that I attended in February 2015 would, in my view, be hard to believe had I not witnessed it. I have the sense that if what transpired were to be explained to a neutral observer, the observer would tend to find it hard to believe.

On the other hand, if a person had been able to access a recording or transcript, that person would be able to acquire a good understanding of what took place, at that meeting.

It’s my understanding that what was observed was not an isolated occurrence.

Academic study of the Ontario Municipal Board

Recordings would also be of value for linguistic anthropologists among other academics seeking to understand the back story and history of an institution such as the Ontario Municipal Board.

Audio and video recording

By way of summary what was witnessed at a February 2015 OMB meeting that I attended would have benefitted from being recorded, in my view.

Thus a question arises.

“If the meetings of the City of Toronto Council can be recorded, and the meetings of Community Council meetings can be recorded, what stands in the way of the recording of meetings of the Ontario Municipal Board?”

 

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