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Published on Friday, October 27, 2017

Bill 139 to kill the OMB is a welcome change

Bill 139 will ensure that local council decision-making that complies with provincial policy directions will be respected

Bill 139 to kill the OMB is a welcome change
Mayor Rob Burton
By Mayor Rob Burton, Oakville Beaver

Last week, I made a submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy which expressed the Town of Oakville’s strong support for the Province to enact Bill 139.

Bill 139 introduces a review process before an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing can happen.

The review process proposed by Bill 139 is appropriate given the extensive work that municipalities must complete when doing land-use planning for their communities.

Oakville has grown ever since 1900.

Oakville is not anti-growth.

We expect growth to be carefully planned and led by publicly approved policy.

That is why our town invested the time and significant resources to create our Official Plan and our Zoning By-law.

This work has been informed by professional planners, has undergone significant public consultation, and was found by the Province to be in conformity and consistent with provincial requirements.

Within the current appeals system, however, any developer can apply to amend our plan and disrupt our community’s provincially-approved vision of itself.

Who can justify that?

What is the point of committing municipal resources to produce a comprehensive official plan?

By not deferring to the integrity of local planning decisions, the system, as it stands, ignores local decision-making and renders moot our community’s planning role through its Council.

The reforms proposed by Bill 139 will ensure that local council decision-making that complies with provincial policy directions will be respected.

We need these reforms to fulfil one of the stated purposes of the Planning Act, that is, “to recognize the decision-making authority and accountability of municipal councils in planning.”

We need, and the public demands, stability, credibility, and predictability in the local land use planning process.

I believe in the rule of law and in clear, evidence-based policy and in fair procedures.

I believe the changes proposed by Bill 139 are critical to ensuring that growth in our Town takes place in a planned and orderly manner that maintains the character of our communities, ensures transit-friendly communities, and creates resilient and inclusive communities that are efficient and sustainable.

I look forward to what we can achieve together when provided with a predictable framework within which we can make planning decisions for future generations of our livable Oakville.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News, Opinion

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