Thursday, April 10, 2014
Three councillors want to exempt Toronto from OMB oversight
Councillors Josh Matlow, Adam Vaughan and Kristyn Wong-Tam were at Queen’s Park speaking in support of legislation that would remove the city from the OMB — a quasi-judicial provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province.
Matlow pointed out the OMB is unelected and called the current process “unethical” and “wrong.”
“If you don’t like a building in your neighbourhood, you ought to be able to know who was in charge of putting it there — that’s democracy,” Vaughan said. “When a building on a side street becomes eight and then 10 and 12 stories … or whether your neighbour simply builds an extension that takes all the sunlight out of your garden, the person that says yes should be held to account.”
Mayor Rob Ford dismissed the idea of dumping the OMB.
“The OMB is fine,” Ford said Thursday. “You have to have a board of appeal. I do not believe the province will ever abolish the OMB.”
He argued developers and residents should have a right to go to an appeal body if they get “shut down by council.”
“Not everyone is happy with the OMB decision but it is a process and I think it is fair,” Ford said.
Ford went on to rage against councillors voting to send non-city staff to OMB hearings.
“We have city solicitors going to the board, that’s what we pay them for,” he said. “That is a waste of taxpayers money, that’s $10,000 a crack every time.”
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