Category Archives: heritage district

Can the OMB Ever Be Restrained?

ELTO Environment & Land Tribunals Ontario  As Caledon residents wait  for very many months from the date of their Council’s approval of its first ever Heritage Conservation District Plan (for the old village of Bolton) for the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to meet and rule on last-minute objections from a little group of small-time commercial owners, *Ontario is in the final stages of the latest public review of the 110 year-old Ontario Municipal Board.  Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro — together with Attorney General Nasir Yaqvi, who is involved because the court-like OMB reports through the AG’s office — released a consultation document on OMB reform in October. It set out a number of changes the government is considering based on what it has heard during previous consultations on the future of the OMB and since the current review was launched back in June. These views include:-
  • people feel they don’t have a meaningful voice in the process
  • more weight should be given to municipal decisions
  • OMB decisions are unpredictable 
  • hearings cost too much and take too long
  • there are too many hearings; more mediation should be used.”

*The most interesting discussion has to do with scope.  Scope in terms of which matters end up coming before the Board, and which don’t, as well as the nature of the Board’s review of those matters — whether the Board continues to deal with these matters de novo (by considering the same issue that was before the initial decider fresh); or whether its authority is restricted in some way, giving the municipality’s or province’s decision more weight.”

There’s probably a slim hope that when this review is complete we will see any meaningful measure of control pass back from this unelected tribunal to those we elect. Even if I am wrong, whether this will apply to Bolton’s and other cultural heritage plans already in the OMB’s pipeline seems a an awful lot to hope for.

by Ian Keith Anderson

* From ‘The OMB under review (again)

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