The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an unaccountable, unelected and anti-democratic provincially-appointed body that has the final say over our city’s planning decisions. The influence that the OMB has had on the Yonge-Eglinton area were featured in a well-written, informative series in the Toronto Star this past weekend.
As many of you know, I have been a long-time advocate of freeing Toronto from the OMB’s purview. While the Province has stopped short of eliminating the OMB altogether, there are a number of very positive reforms proposed in this Ministry of Municipal Affairs consultation document released last year that would significantly improve the planning process for Toronto, including:
- Only allowing the OMB to hear appeals on the “validity of the decision” by council, limiting the OMB’s ability to hear appeals and completely overturn decisions
- Preventing appeals of secondary plans, including Yonge and Eglinton which is now under review, for two years
- Requiring the OMB to send “significant new information” arising from a hearing back to council for re-evaluation before rendering a decision
- More actively promoting mediation to settle disputes, preventing adversarial hearings
- Better training for OMB members, who are appointed by the Province