What will Long Branch look like after OMB has gone?

Long Branch is a neighbourhood in south Etobicoke on the Lake Ontario waterfront: West beach at Marie Curtis Park, April 4, 2018. Jaan Pill photo

Long Branch is a neighbourhood in south Etobicoke on the Lake Ontario waterfront: West beach at Marie Curtis Park, April 4, 2018. Jaan Pill photo.

What will Long Branch look like, after the Ontario Municipal Board has come and gone?

Will the physical character of Long Branch be preserved, or will it be destroyed, even after the OMB has come and gone?

The culture of decision-making at the Ontario Municipal Board has changed dramatically over the past 25 years. Bill 139, passed by the Ontario Legislature in 2017, seeks to get land-use planning back on the right track.

In recent months, I’ve attended meetings and interviewed Long Branch residents, to get a sense of how OMB Reform will actually work out in practice.

Among residents I have interviewed are Sandy Donald and Ronald Jamieson. I will post reports, based on the interviews, at my Preserved Stories website.

A related topic, aside from OMB Reform, concerns the adoption, by Toronto Council, of the Long Branch Character Guidelines. Will the Guidelines have any impact on the rampant lot-splitting/overbuilding that has increasingly roiled the neighbourhood?

As part of my research, I attended an April 4, 2018 meeting organized by the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association, at which City staffers spoke about how the Character Guidelines may, or may not, affect future land-use planning decisions in Long Branch.

At that meeting, I was most interested to learn that, according to two City staffers, I was not permitted to record what City officials said at the meeting, nor was I permitted to post any direct quotations of what staff said at the meeting, based on my notes, without first getting permission from Media Relations at the City of Toronto.

After the meeting, I contacted Media Relations and asked if the above-noted prohibition was, in fact, City of Toronto policy. Among other things, I asked: “Does a person need to get permission from the City before remarks by City staff at a public meeting can be recorded?”

The answer was: “No. Information provided by City staff to the public at a public meeting is a matter of public record. As a courtesy, you may want to advise staff that you are present as a blogger or member of the media but that is not a requirement.”

The bottom line is: If a person is in doubt about a statement, by any person regarding any topic, it’s a great idea to seek verification of it.

Opinion article for Etobicoke Guardian/Toronto.ca website

This above-noted text has been prepared as an opinion article for the Etobicoke Guardian/Toronto.ca website.


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