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OMB reform – Van Bynen’s solution

Newmarket's secretive Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, has finally let us into his thinking on OMB reform.

Last night, he told the Province’s OMB Review meeting at Trinity United Church on Park Avenue that the OMB should be given new powers to review and approve Official Plans. He believes the OMB should not be able to overturn an Official Plan at the behest of a developer if they (the OMB) had previously approved it.

This is a whacky idea. The OMB is a small tribunal with only 34 adjudicators and, of these, nine are part-time. They are in no position to review and approve a huge volume of Official Plans from every corner of the Province.

And, if the OMB becomes an approval authority in the way Van Bynen envisages, it could not possibly double-up as an appeal tribunal.

Tony Van Bynen has had years to think about ways of fire-proofing Official Plans against the OMB. Is this bizarre solution the best he can come up with? What on earth does he do all day?

Other Mayors have put forward coherent proposals for change.

Elsewhere… The event is well organized. I see many familiar faces including Ward 7 councillor, Christina Bisanz, a champion for OMB reform.

Up front is the French Canadian facilitator, telling us what to expect from the evening, expertly pulling it all together.

Now we hear from the scene setters from the Ministry and the OMB, guiding us through the questions we would be addressing in our workshops. There is a lot to think about.

We have some feisty exchanges at our table but these are courteous. Now we report back to the plenary session where deep dissatisfaction about the OMB doesn’t take long to surface.

I sense that many people here have had a searing experience with the OMB and are determined to have their say. They have been following the twists and turns of OMB reform for years. The message comes across loud and clear:

If you are not outraged you have not been paying attention.

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