Our Fight to Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board- Province Passes Legislation to Eliminate OMB
After years of advocating alongside my colleague, Kristyn-Wong Tam and local residents’ associations, the Ontario legislature voted to move forward with major changes to the planning appeals system in Toronto yesterday. Bill 139, the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 will replace the OMB with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. While I have serious concerns that the permissive transition regulations are leading to a rush of planning applications being appealed prior to the new Tribunal being in place, the new rules will significantly level the playing field between communities and developers.
From the provincial Bill 139 backgrounder, here are some of the significant reforms coming to the planning process under the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal:
- “de novo” (entirely new) hearings for the majority of land use planning appeals will be eliminated. Instead, the tribunal will function more like a true appeal body for major land use planning decisions.
- Under the new standard of review for land use planning appeals involving matters like official plans and zoning bylaws, the tribunal will only be able to overturn a matter if the tribunal determines that the municipal decision is inconsistent with, or does not conform to provincial policies and municipal plans.
- Establishing clear timelines for the hearing process to help ensure timely decisions
- Eliminating lengthy and often confrontational examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses by parties and their lawyers at the oral hearings of major land use planning appeals
- The act will establish the free Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, a new provincial agency, offering guidance on the Tribunal process and general planning matters as well as providing planning and/or legal representation in some cases.
- Provincial approvals of official plans and official plan updates, including approvals of conformity exercises to provincial plans will be shielded from appeal
- Secondary Plans (such as Midtown in Focus in the Yonge-Eglinton area) will be shielded from amendment applications for 2 years after approval
Council Votes against Value-for-Money Audit (the most basic and relevant facts) on Scarborough Transit
It is unfortunate that, yet again, the Mayor and Council decided to not ask for relevant and important information, regarding the future of our rapid transit system and the expenditure of billions of tax dollars, by voting against my motion to finally see a Value-for-Money comparison of the 1-stop subway extension with a 7-stop LRT in the McCowan corridor.
I will continue to advocate for honest and evidence-based transit that will serve more people, with more stations, and with every available dollar used thoughtfully. For more information on this issue, please listen to this Metro Morning interview, and read this editorial, column, and article.
Midtown in Focus: Draft Review of Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan Approved at Council
In 2015, I helped initiate the Midtown in Focus review of growth, built form, social services and infrastructure issues in the Yonge-Eglinton area. I believe this work should’ve been done two decades ago, before the condo boom. After two years of intensive study by our dedicated City Planning Staff, we now will have an up-to-date policy that will guide growth in the area and, in combination with necessary improvements identified through the review, support the vitality and quality of life in Midtown Toronto.
The report, approved by Council last week, tells the rest of Toronto what we as Midtown residents already know: social services and hard infrastructure have not kept pace with the rapid growth in our community. This has to change.
I successfully moved a motion with Councillor Robinson requesting City Planning to further support local residents by reporting on potential measures to help ensure that social services and physical infrastructure can accommodate existing and projected growth in the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan area.
I look forward to seeing you in the New Year as Planning Staff consult further on their Review.
For more information, please see this report.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: 2161 Yonge Street Development Meeting
This development application proposes to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a mixed use building that is 36 storeys in height including a 6-storey base building inclusive of office and retail. The proposed residential tower would contain 288 new condominium units and the 155 parking spaces will be provided below-grade.
This public meeting will take place at 7pm tonight (December 13th) at Glebe Road United Church, 20 Glebe Road East
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Alex Teixeira at Alex.Teixeira@toronto.ca or 416-392-0459 . Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
SAVE THE REGENT THEATRE- Iconic Local Movie House on Mount Pleasant for Sale
I’m very concerned about the sale of the iconic and historic Regent Theatre on Mount Pleasant. In addition to the theatre being listed on the Heritage Registry, I successfully moved a motion at Community Council to have Heritage Preservation staff evaluate its full designation which would provide it with even greater protection. However, there are still concerns that its future could be threatened. I’m looking into every creative option that can be considered to protect its use and built form. I will certainly keep you updated on this!
Update on Our New and Improved Parks!
I’m delighted to share the exciting news with you that four new park projects are complete (or nearly complete) and will be ready to fully enjoy for this coming spring season! Below is an update for each of these new or improved green spaces:
Lionel Conacher Park
I am pleased to inform you that the Lionel Conacher Waterplay Improvements project is complete! The upgraded wading pool and new splash pad area will be operational and open to the public for the 2018 swimming season.
To allow the newly installed sod a little more time to germinate, the perimeter protection fencing will be removed next week.
June Rowlands (Davisville) Park
Over the past year, I worked closely with parents and local residents to envision the new Sharon Lois & Bram Playground and Musical Garden. That is why I’m excited to announce that the fencing will be removed and the playground will be ready to enjoy this week! Special thanks to Lesley Stoyan, the Communities in Action Group, Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison for their participation in my design team, Dan Connolly and City Parks staff and everyone who contributed to community consultation meeting I hosted in the spring.
Please note that are a few finishing touches that will be completed in the fall including a wooden harvest table, and additional planting and lighting.
190 Manor Road East (Former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club)
It’s almost ready! After working together as a community, we successfully fought to preserve green space at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site. Keeping in the spirit of having publically accessible space for recreation, we envisioned a park that is now complete with a large and open flexible bocce court and games tables.
250 Manor Road East (Playground and Park beside Manor United Church)
While construction was nearly complete, the quick turn in weather means that some parts of the new playground will be completed in early spring. Please stay tuned for further updates on the brand new playground and park!
St. Cuthbert’s Carols with Friends
Gather your friends and family for an evening of carol singing followed by mulled cider and cookies with St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church on Monday December 18th at 7:00pm! Donations of non-perishable food for the Flemingdon Park Community Food Bank are gratefully received.
TransformTO ‘2050 Pathway to a Low-Carbon Toronto’
Let’s #TransformTO together! To reduce climate change all homes and buildings need to be more energy efficient. Learn how you can get started by clicking here.
#CNIBShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled Project
It was my great pleasure to help CNIB launch their #ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled Project. This accessibility campaign aims to make the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood the most accessible in Canada through the placement of beacons in businesses. I welcome you to watch this video to learn more about this amazing project!
Holiday Wish List: A Guide to Helping Toronto’s Homeless & Vulnerable
The City of Toronto surveyed agencies that run shelters, drop-ins and other services, asking them what gifts would bring cheer to their clients during the holidays. Fifty agencies are on this year’s list, which details specific items that clients need, along with contacts and information about volunteer opportunities and holiday events. The most requested items on this year’s list are winter clothing, gift cards, toiletries, baby products and non-perishable food. If you are interested in checking out this holiday wish list, please click here.
Annual 58th Toronto Scouts Christmas Tree Sale
It’s the annual 58th Toronto Scouts Christmas Tree Sale! For over 60 years, local Scouts have been selling fresh, Ontario grown Christmas Trees & Wreaths to neighborhood residents. They are located on the lawn at the Church of the Transfiguration, 111 Manor Rd East. Open weekdays 6:00pm-8:30pm and Sat-Sun 9:00am-6:00pm. Deliveries available. Call or text 437.776.1591 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please click here to view the flyer.
Sir Winston Churchill Park Association
Are you looking to improve the green space, cultural, and recreational activities of Sir Winston Churchill Park? I welcome you to check out the new and improved Sir Winston Churchill Park Association webpage and Facebook page!
Add More Blue & Green to your Holidays
This holiday season – know before you throw. Learn what holiday waste goes in the Blue Bin, Green Bin and Garbage Bin by clicking here. Let’s keep recyclables and organics out of our landfills!
Update on the Independent Toronto Airspace Review
It’s time for real action on fair flight paths to protect residents’ quality of life! Back in September, Helios presented an overview of the recommendations they are making to NAV CANADA to mitigate the impact of aviation noise on the GTA. Recently, NAV CANADA issued a response that addresses each recommendation, outlines actions they are committing to take and provides timelines for the significant work ahead.
Midtown Yonge BIA Events
Join my friends at Midtown Yonge BIA this weekend from 2pm-5pm for their Midtown Merriment Holiday Caroling! For more details, please click here. Additionally, I hope to see you this evening at 5:30pm for their Menorah Lighting Ceremony and Chanukah Community Celebration on the southwest corner of Yonge and Davisville.
What does a caring, thriving, climate-friendly city of the future look like? #Picture2050 is a photography contest for photographers of all ages, inspired by the Toronto’s TransformTO Climate Plan. The goal of the plan is to reduce Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and build a healthy, equitable and prosperous city. Find all the contest rules and submit your photos at the contest website