Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star: Contested Development – Parts 1, 2 & 3 in series about Ontario Municipal Board “wielding its unelected power”

Screenshot from Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star series entitled: "Arrested Development"

Source: Screenshot from Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star series entitled: “Arrested Development”

A Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star article (a three-part series) is entitled: “Contested Development: Many question whether the Ontario Municipal Board should be allowed to continue wielding its unelected power over a city crunched for resources.”

An excerpt reads:

“But the developer, Pemberton Group, appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the most powerful body of its kind in North America, which can overrule the city on most land-use and planning disputes.”

Another excerpt reads:

“City staff have raised serious concerns about most of the pending applications — that they represent substantial overdevelopment, are poorly designed and that there is a lack of available community services to support new residents.”

A third excerpt reads:

“But with nearly 10,000 residential units in the pipeline in the Yonge-Eglinton area alone — more than is proposed in the entire city of Boston — there are growing concerns ballooning neighbourhoods like this one, and parts of downtown and North York, are buckling under that growth.

“Planners, local councillors and those living in these quickly changing communities say the city is at a tipping point, with schools and child care already over capacity, a lack of community and public space, daily traffic jams, crowded subway platforms and concerns hard infrastructure like sewers can’t keep pace without new investment.”

Previous posts about OMB

Click here for previous posts about the OMB >

Among the previous posts is one entitled:

Culture of COA and OMB decision-making has changed dramatically in 25 years: MPP Peter Milczyn

Part 2 of the Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star series is entitled: Planning Power and Politics

An excerpt reads:

“With evidence the board is frequently siding with developers, council and community critics have long viewed the board as undemocratic and unaccountable to the residents whose communities it plans. As the most powerful board of its kind in North America, they say it is in need of overhaul — some say abolishment — to return actual planning to elected councils and local municipal staff.”

Part 3 is entitled: Onward and Upward

An excerpt reads:

“’If at the end of the day we can’t uphold our official plan, well then it’s not worth the paper that it’s written on and you might as well just upload the whole Planning Act and all the planning decisions to the province,’ said Aurora Councillor Tom Mrakas, who led a summit on reforms with 13 other GTA municipalities.”

A second excerpt reads:

“Richard Joy, who was previously the senior policy adviser to the minister of municipal affairs and worked on the 2006 reforms to the Planning Act, said much of what they hoped to achieve wasn’t accomplished.”


1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Many thoughts come to mind. I have spent the past decade and more focused on what goes in in my local community. Before that, my volunteer work was primarily at the national and international level. What I’ve been learning at the local level, through getting to know what happens at OMB and COA hearings, and observing what occurs at the Etobicoke-York Community Council, is somewhat astounding, I would say. I think of a comment by a Councillor in the Toronto Star article, who said that a Councillor’s role in decision-making is very limited, compared to the OMB. That really made me stop and think. The metaphor of the “failed state,” as it applies to countries that lack a functioning government, comes to mind.


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