Doug Ford is bringing back the Ontario Municipal Board, financially starving our cities, and selling our neighbourhoods to his developer friends. Today the Government of Ontario announced short-sighted changes to the Planning Act that will fail residents, sideline our communities, and cut the legs out from under Toronto's planning policies. These changes, if enacted, will not only turn back the clock on good local planning, it will set Toronto back decades.
Residents and municipalities across Ontario fought for years to repeal the undemocratic, unelected Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which has consistently greenlit poor planning despite the objections of neighbours and local governments. The creation of a Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) had begun to make that change and now that progress is being thrown in the garbage with the Province bringing back the old OMB rule. Everyday residents, who fight tooth-and-nail to be heard by developers, will be completely abandoned. They know this, because they already live in the shade of the terrible and poorly planned projects the OMB approved in the past.
The 'red tape' that Doug Ford hopes to cut are the policies that support sustainable and complete communities. The fees he plans to cap and reduce are the funds that pay for new parks, playgrounds, community spaces, and other needed infrastructure. He even talks of allowing for heritage designations to be overturned. This amounts to selling off our neighbourhoods and cuts that will effectively starve cities of the funds they need to offset growth with new community amenities. If Doug Ford's government was serious about making affordable housing work for everyday residents, they would not be completely absent from the National Housing Strategy and missing in action in the development of Toronto's Housing Now 10-year plan.
Now is the time to mobilize. We need to visit, call, and write to the Premier and local Conservative MPPs and tell them to stop this legislation. Public pressure will be critical in fighting back against Doug Ford and local Conservative MPPs reckless approach to public policy. They must not be allowed to walk into our communities and sell our neighbourhoods out from underneath us.
Please act and encourage everyone you know to act too.
Premier Doug Ford
Constituency office: 823 Albion Rd., Etobicoke, ON M9V 1A3
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Constituency office: Suite 101 - 100 Strowger Blvd., Brockville, ON K6V 5J9
Toll Free: 1-800-267-4408
These rapid fire policy announcements are meant to hurt us. They are designed to create confusion. Ford is enabling reckless development that will harm endangered species and disregard the environment. Announcements are made in the hopes that front-line advocates, residents and communities burn out. But we will not back down. I will remain resolved to organizing, fighting back and defending our great city from being left out to dry.