Today in the legislature, Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese demanded the government finally act to reform the Ontario Municipal Board, so developers won’t be able to ignore local planning rules.
RioCan is seeking to bypass a planning process currently being conducted by Toronto’s Chief City Planner on Bathurst Street. The developer has asked the OMB for an exemption from the interim control bylaw so it can push ahead with plans for a big-box retail development and massive parking lot on one of the most-congested streets in Toronto.
“Why are developers and construction companies like RioCan and EllisDon able to rush to the head of the line with this government, while communities must wait for much-needed reforms of the Ontario Municipal Board?” asked Marchese.
Marchese pointed out that the OMB routinely overrules professional planners in order to side with developers. The OMB recently approved a 26-storey tower on Front Street East in the Old Town of York, overruling the city’s planning staff and city heritage experts as well as the city’s design review panel.
With this decision, the OMB dismissed the planning expertise of some of Toronto’s most respected architects, planners and historical conservationists, said Marchese.
“When will the government rein in the arrogant and unaccountable Ontario Municipal Board and put communities first, not large construction companies and developers?” asked Marchese.