Meed Ward moves a motion at Regional Council - she wants it to become the start of a movement to abolish the LPAT/OMB

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Those who have the time to watch Regional Council meeting and debating issues (there are times when it is entertaining) will have seen a politician working the system while others did as much as they could to not get too close to the motion that was being debated.

MMW + Nisan at Region

Burlington Mayor Meed Ward sits beside Councillor Rory Nisan at Regional Council meetings – he made a friendly amendment to the Meed Ward/Bonnette motion.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward buddied up with Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette to sponsor a motion that would ask the provincial government to abolish the Local Planning Act Tribunal /Ontario Municipal Board.

The motion was passed unanimously on a recorded vote.

The motion will be circulated to the 440 municipalities in Ontario with the hope that they too will endorse the motion.

Meed Ward was the mover and did most of the talking (are you surprised?). She went through the usual arguments; the legislation is dated, Ontario is the only province that has provincial legislation overseeing development decisions made at the municipal level.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Developer wanted 26 stories – was given 24 – City Official Plan permitted up to 8

Meed Ward argued that all the legislation does is add to the cost of a development and used the legal tussle over the ADI Group Nautique development that took two years to resolve to make the point.  The developer was allowed up to 8 stories; asked for 26 and was given approval for 24 stories by the OMB.

Municipalities are spending tens of thousands on legal and planning consultant talent.

More to the point said Meed Ward was that these development are pushing up property values which impact the taxes home owners have to pay.

Meed Ward said she knew that her motion was not going to result in an immediate change of mind at the province – she added that the only way a change can come about is if there is a strong movement at the municipal level.

Start a movement and in time it will be eliminated. Make it a 2022 election issue – it has to go said Meed Ward.

Rick Bonnette -Halton Hills

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonette

Rick Bonnette said he supported the motion completely. “We have become slaves to the lawyers” said Bonnette. In the past three years Bonnette reported the the Region of Halton had spent $5 million on legal fees.

He used the Hidden Quarry in Halton Hills as an example. The hearing lasted 26 days, there were 41 witnesses and it cost $780,000.

While the vote was unanimous – there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm. One Mayor, who just could not utter Meed Ward’s name said that if the LPAT/OMB legislation is eliminated there had better be a Plan B in place.

It would not be difficult for the developers to turn their financial guns on to a community and elect a very pro-development council and push through whatever they wanted. Look at where the development money in Burlington went and keep in mind the 50 storey development proposed for Stoney Creek and Milton.

Meed Ward pointed out that there is a Plan B – it is called a Judicial Review.

Other Regional Councillors pointed out that with the LPAT/OMB legislation in place the province has become the planning department for all the municipalities.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

A Burlington Happy Camper – The Mayor

Meed Ward wanted the politics taken out of development. One of her colleagues suggest that (in the best line heard) if you take the politics out – you are talking about us. That was a hammer hitting a nail right on the head.

What became evident is that Burlington’s Mayor has spread her wings and is preparing herself for the world of provincial politics – the elections in 2026 looks like the time frame during which she will begin taking the GO train to Queen’s Park.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette

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