On 27 March 2014, the Ontario Municipal Board decided that Marianneville Developments could redevelop the former golf course which threads its way through Glenway. Soon, over 700 new dwellings will be shoe-horned into the neighbourhood, utterly transforming it forever.

The previous Council agreed in April 2014 there should be a “lessons learned” meeting in an effort to understand what went wrong. We are still waiting for that meeting to be scheduled.

In the meantime, on 17 December 2014, I formally asked the OMB to review its decision.

The simple question that is crying out for answer in my own mind is this:

Would the OMB adjudicator, Ms Susan Schiller, have made the same decision on 27 March 2014 if she had known then what she knows now?

Since the end of March 2014, a mass of material has come into the public domain that would, at the very least, have changed the dynamics of the OMB Glenway Hearing. New questions would have arisen. Others, seemingly relevant at the time, would now be regarded as otiose.

Above all, in the context of what we now know, the absence from the OMB Hearing of any planner directly employed by the Town of Newmarket would have been seen as inexplicable. The empty seats would have set alarm bells ringing.

You can read my request for a review of the OMB’s decision on Glenway by clicking on “Documents” in the main menu panel on the left. Navigate to “Government Documents” and open “Request for a Review of OMB Decision on Glenway”.


A curious anomaly in the provincial Municipal Conflict of Interest Act allowed Frank Dale, the newly elected chair of Peel Region, to vote for himself, in a ballot he otherwise would have lost, thereby landing a job with a $184,898 salary and juicy pension entitlements.

The Toronto Star’s Urban Affairs Reporter, San Grewal, explains:

“Through three rounds of balloting, Dale cast his vote for himself, with rivals eliminated after each round. In the fourth round, he tied with Sanderson — 12 votes each. If Dale had not voted for himself, he would have lost. Instead, he won in the fifth and final round, a tiebreaker, in which he again voted for himself.”

“Sanderson couldn’t vote for himself because he is not a member of council.”

John Sanderson, who came from nowhere and almost won, complained the process was “completely unfair”. The round-by-round balloting is detailed here.

Sounds like a bit of a pantomime to me.

Another reason – as if any more are needed - for all Regional Chairs to be elected by the voters at large.


To the York Region Administrative Centre for the appointment of the new Regional Chair who will take over from Bill Fisch, retiring after 17 years.

The job pays just enough to keep the wolf from the door. Last year, Fisch took home a useful $217,780.

It is a glittering occasion. The council chamber is packed. I see the enrobed Michelle Fuerst, the Superior Court Justice who will adminster the oaths of office. The police top brass are here too, decked out in gold braid.

I see Canada’s longest serving councillor, Dave Kerwin, all suited-up, perched in the back row, as far away from the action as possible. And sneaking in through a side door, I see Tom Vegh.

Now it is time for the Presiding Officer, the Regional Clerk, Denis Kelly, to guide us through the arcane rules and procedures - at length. I learn that a candidate doesn’t even have to live in the Region. All councillors must vote. No abstentions are allowed. Kelly is, unusually, the centre of attention and is milking it for all it is worth, lapping up every moment.

The absurdity of it all strikes home when Kelly tells us that anyone can go for the vacancy (you can theoretically walk in off the street) so long as you are proposed and seconded by members of York Regional Council.

Wayne "it's my turn" Emmerson

Step forward the rotund Wayne Emmerson, the former Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, who chose not to stand in the recent Regional elections because he had his sights set on the top job and didn’t want to foist a by election on voters back in his patch. He has been a fixture in the municipality for as long as anyone can remember.

Newmarket’s John Taylor also throws his hat into the ring.

A third contender pulls out and the pressure is on Taylor to do likewise.

Emmerson’s proposer, Richmond Hill’s Mayor, David Barrow, describes him as “someone with a fiscally responsible vision” which presumably means he likes to keep taxes low. (Fair enough, but why not say so in plain English?) I learn he has been Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services Committee since the dawn of time. Clearly, he is someone who knows all about congestion and gridlock.

Now Emmerson is invited to address his colleagues while the rest of us look on.

His speech gallops along. He swallows his words and occasionally gets them jumbled up. But, despite this, he gives the impression of having it all sewn up. He says he works well with people.

Van Bynen paints a picture

Now it is the turn of Newmarket’s Tony Van Bynen whose hagiography of Taylor is designed to bring a tear to the eye.

The audience hears that Taylor is passionate about building great communities. We learn that the hard infrastructure is being put in place but the social infrastructure has been neglected. John will sort that out. He is fact based and relies on data (so does my I Pad). And, bravely, he is willing to take on policy challenges such as rental housing. He is driven by a strong desire to do what is right (whatever that means) and he is willing to compromise to achieve consensus.

As I am digesting this encomium I hear two women directly behind me. “That was very nice. Very nice.”

I turn round and smile and they smile back, hesitantly.

Now it is time for Taylor to take to the podium. His first attention-grabbing sentence is: “I am not going to win this vote.”

Now he tells us why.

Some people feel I should have dropped off the ballot, installing the new Chair by acclamation without risking a messy old election (I made the last bit up.) But people outside wouldn’t understand why there was no contest.

Taylor sets out his stall

So he is staying in the race – knowing he will lose – to set out his own prospectus.

He talks about York’s ageing population; homelessness and affordable housing which, he says, is at “near crisis” levels.

He wants all-day GO trains to be fast tracked. And one year’s free transit pass to get people out of their cars. (There was some kind of qualification in there but I missed it.)

It all sounds pretty good to me. But, for the other 19 voters, it mostly falls on deaf ears.

Taylor gets four votes out of 20. (Jack Heath from Markham; Brenda Hogg from Richmond Hill; Newmarket’s Tony Van Bynen and his own.)

To applause, Wayne Emmerson ascends to the Chair and then sinks into it.

“I think I need a booster seat.”

This seems hilarious at the time. Less so now.

It is Emmerson’s second speech of the evening and he chooses to recite the achievements of the last term in the life of York Region.

We hear that 364 units have been added to the stock of rental – in four years, across nine municipalities! This, apparently, qualifies as an achievement. Oh dear!

Safely installed, I soon discover that Emmerson will be the guiding hand but “Regional Councillors will have to do all the heavy lifting.” I am left wondering what on earth that means.

He is generous to Taylor whose critics in Newmarket will say the vote was humiliating.

On the contrary, his short (and rather eloquent) speech highlighted the bankruptcy of the current system, based on deals, nods and winks and stitch-ups, to direct election of the Regional Chair by the voters at large.

Even though he lost, Taylor deserves a round of applause.

He did the right thing.


The OMB today confirmed that the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure allows, in certain defined circumstances, an appeal by a third party against an OMB decision.

Information that I relied on earlier - posted on the OMB website - stated categorically that third party appeals were not possible. That is obviously incorrect.

I now intend to press ahead with my appeal against the OMB decision on Glenway.

Here is the exchange of emails:

On 28 November 2014 I wrote to the OMB asking for clarification on third party rights of appeal.

Mr Kondinski

I am sorry to have to trouble you again about my proposed appeal against the Board’s decision on Glenway.

When I contacted you earlier, I relied on the Information Sheet 3 that appears on the Board’s website. It reads:

Can the Board turn down the request for a review?
The OMB will turn down your request if:
A non-party makes the request.

A paper copy of Information Sheet 3 (which I have in front of me as I type this) reads

Can the Board turn down the request for a review?
The OMB may turn down your request if:
A non-party makes the request.

Clearly, Information Sheet 3 was amended at some point to insert “will” for “may” after OMB.

And yet the Board’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, to which you refer me, make it clear that in certain defined circumstances a third party can appeal for a review of a Board decision.

For ease of reference I have pasted the rules below from the OMB website.

In 113 (b) the Chair can determine if there was a valid and well-founded reason why the requester was not a party. I am not a member of the Glenway Preservation Association and I do not live in Glenway. There is very little likelihood that I could have received Party status.

In rule 115 (on which I rely) the Chair can exercise discretion to allow a review if the Board

(d) heard false or misleading evidence from a party or witness, which was discovered only after the hearing and would have affected the result; or

(e) should consider evidence which was not available at the time of the hearing, but that is credible and could have affected the result.

I am minded once more to seek a review of the Glenway decision but, before I do so, I wonder if you could take advice and let me know that the rules you pointed me to still stand and have not been amended to exclude non-parties from appealing a decision.

I am out of the country next week but am mindful that the clock is ticking. So an early response would be very much appreciated.

Gordon Prentice

And here is an extract from the relevant OMB rules of procedure:


110. Board’s Powers on Review When exercising its powers pursuant to Section 43 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act and Section 21.2 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, Rules 110-119 shall govern.

111. Request for Review of Board Decision The Chair shall consider a person’s request for a review of a decision, approval, or order if the person files the information set out in Rule 112. A request for review does not automatically stay the effect of the original decision, approval or order unless the Chair so orders.

112. Contents of a Request A party making a request for review shall file notice of such request with the Chair within 30 days of the date of the Board’s written decision. Such notice shall include:
(a) the requestor’s full name, address, telephone, fax number, and e-mail address (if any);
(b) the full name, address, telephone and fax number and e-mail address (if any) of the requestor’s representative (if any);
(c) the requestor’s or representative’s signature;
(d) the reasons for the request;
(e) the desired result of the review (such as a change or alteration to the decision or a rehearing of the proceeding);
(f) any documents that support the request, including copies of any new evidence that was unavailable at the hearing;
(g) an affidavit stating the facts relied upon in support of the request;
(h) a statement as to whether the requestor has or will submit an application for leave to appeal or judicial review to the court; and
(i) the prescribed filing fee (cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance).

113. Initial Screening of the Request The Board will not consider a request for review:
(a) the request does not include the information required by Rule 112;
(b) the request is made by a non-party unless the Chair determines that there is a valid and well-founded reason why the requestor was not a party;
(c) the request is filed 30 days after the date of the Board’s written decision unless the Chair determines that there is a valid and well-founded reason to extend this time; or
(d) it is a second request by the same party raising the same or similar issues.

114. Filing and Serving a Response to a Request for Review A party that files a request for review may be directed by the Board to serve the request and all supporting material on all other parties to the original hearing event. The Board may require any or all other parties to provide, by a specific date, a response to the request. The Board may identify the issues to address in the response. The response to a request for review shall include the reasons for the response, any supporting documents, and an affidavit stating the facts relied upon in the response. The response shall be served on the other parties and filed with the Chair.

115. Power of the Chair to Dispose of the Request Subject to Rule 115.01, the Chair may exercise his/her discretion to grant a request for review, in whole or in part, and may order a rehearing of the proceeding or order a motion be heard to review a decision. In the event the - 24 - request for review is granted, the Board will set a hearing date or a motion date (as applicable) and will notify all of the parties and provide direction for notice. The Chair may assign a different Member or panel to conduct the rehearing or motion to review. The Chair may also dismiss the request, in which case the decision, approval or order remains in force and effect. 

115.01 The Exercise of the Chair’s Discretion The Chair may exercise his/her discretion and grant a request and order either a rehearing of the proceeding or a motion to review the decision only if the Chair is satisfied that the request for review raises a convincing and compelling case that the Board:
(a) acted outside its jurisdiction;
(b) violated the rules of natural justice or procedural fairness, including those against bias;
(c) made an error of law or fact such that the Board would likely have reached a different decision;
(d) heard false or misleading evidence from a party or witness, which was discovered only after the hearing and would have affected the result; or
(e) should consider evidence which was not available at the time of the hearing, but that is credible and could have affected the result.

116. The Motion to Review. A Board Member or panel assigned by the Chair to conduct a motion to review may, after receiving submissions from the parties, order a rehearing of all or part of the proceeding only if satisfied that the request raises a convincing and compelling case in respect of one or more of the issues set out in clauses a) to e), inclusive, of Rule 115.01. Should the Board Member or panel that conducts the motion determine that the requestor has not satisfied this requirement, then the request shall be dismissed and the decision, approval or order that is the subject of the request shall remain in force and effect.

117. Procedure on Motion The Board’s Rules on Motions generally apply to a motion to review unless the Board directs otherwise.

118. The Review Hearing The Board Member or panel that conducts the review hearing shall rehear the application, in whole or in part, as either directed by the Chair or the decision arising from the motion to review, and may review, rescind, change, alter or vary any decision, approval or order made by the Board.

119. The Chair May Initiate a Request The Chair may initiate a Request for Review and exercise his/her discretion under Rule 115.01 upon notice with reasons to all parties to a proceeding and within a reasonable time after the Board decision, approval or order is made.

And on 2 December 2014, the OMB's Glenway case co-ordinator, Tome Kondinski, wrote

Mr. Prentice,

I am not in a position to further expound or interpret the Ontario Municipal Board's (the "Board") Rules of Practice and Procedure. Neither am I in a position to give advice as the Board is not permitted to provide advice.

As for Rule 113(b), I am not in a position to assess or determine an individual's and/or an entity's qualification criteria for party status, especially after a matter has been adjudicated. Neither am I in a position to make the determination as to whether there is a valid and well-founded reason why a requestor was not a party and whether the requestor therefore qualifies to make a request for a review of a Board Decision. Should you have any further questions or require any direction in the foregoing, you are to seek your own advice.

I would however like to conclude that in all other respects, the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure still stand as currently constituted.

The OMB today confirmed that my request for a review of the OMB’s decision on Glenway cannot proceed.

In an email, the OMB’s case co-ordinator for Glenway, Tome Kondinski, confirms that under the OMB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (110-119) non-Parties cannot appeal a Board decision.

“… only Parties are afforded the right to seek a request for review of a Board decision and no other avenue is open to non-Parties in the foregoing.”

This is very disappointing. Perhaps the forthcoming wide-ranging review of the OMB will consider third party rights. I hope so.

The Parties to the OMB Glenway Hearing in March and April 2014 were: Marianneville Developments Limited; Town of Newmarket; Glenway Preservation Association; Region of York and the York Region School Board.