Ford says OMB is fair, he wouldn’t try to abolish it
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Thursday, April 10, 2014 1:15PM EDT
Mayor Rob Ford says he isn’t interested in getting rid of the Ontario Municipal Board – the powerful provincial body that has final say in construction disputes between communities and developers.
Speaking with reporters Thursday, Ford said he thinks it’s important to have an appeal body and he said he feels the OMB process is fair.
“Not everybody’s happy with the OMB decisions, but it’s a process and I think it’s fair and I think the OMB’s fair. But abolishing it? No, I’d never support abolishing the OMB,” Ford said.
Ford also said he’s against hiring outside experts to argue on behalf of the community at OMB hearings.
“We have city solicitors go to the board – that’s what we pay them for,” Ford said. “But when they say ‘no, you’re not going to win’ and these councillors go out and pick planners and we get beaten 90 per cent of the time if you look at the stats, that is a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
“That’s $10,000 a crack every time.”
The OMB is the final body of appeal for parties who wish to dispute a planning decision by a municipal council.
Communities across the province have frequently complained that the OMB process is detached and favourable to developers, with a board of unelected members from outside the community empowered to overrule the city’s Official Plan – a tome that details the city’s long-term design strategy.
Ford made the comments as councillors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam prepared to hold a press conference about their push to have Toronto removed from the OMB’s jurisdiction.
In 2012 the councillors moved a motion to ask the province to remove its oversight of Toronto’s planning process. The motion passed 34-5.
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