This afternoon, the Government of Ontario has tried to sneak in new legislation that further undermines local planning and residents. It aims to centralize decision making and power in the province.
Hidden within Bill 257, the “Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act”, is a provision that would give Minister Steven Clark the unilateral power to issue more Municipal Zoning Order’s (MZOs) without consultation and without regard to the Province’s own policies on planning and land use.
It is unconscionable that in response to legal challenges from municipalities and community groups against the use of the MZOs the province of Ontario would try to retroactively change the rules to get around legitimate opposition from local governments and the residents they represent.
There are too many questions left unanswered by this government about why these changes are necessary, and who is benefiting from rushing through development applications that are contrary to the Province’s existing legislation.
The Province has proven once again that they have no interest in working with local municipalities or their residents, and are only interested in clearing the way for developer friends and donors.
What we have seen happen at the Foundry on Eastern Avenue, including the illegal destruction of heritage buildings, is being made possible across the province.
Our challenge remains much broader than saving four heritage buildings, or the local impacts in Toronto. We need to send a message to Premier Ford and his government that they cannot ignore the rules and laws that apply to all, override local planning processes and bulldoze over proper community consultation. If we want to build safe, equitable and complete communities across Ontario then we need to do it together.
I encourage everyone to write to Minister Clark, Premier Ford and your local MPP to oppose this legislative change.
Please also visit https://www.respectlocalplanning.com/ to stay connected on ways you can help respect local planning in Toronto, and across the province.