Busy week in the community!

There are two important community gatherings happening this week that I thought I should mention:

1) Trinity Bellwoods Community Association – Monday Feb 27, 7PM – Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre, 2nd Floor – At monthly TBCA meetings we attempt to build community awareness and facilitate civic discourse on such issues as city bylaws, community safety, building development and the quality and use of parks and public spaces. Our meetings are open to all members of the public, hope to see you there!

2) Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park – Thursday March 1, 7PM, Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre – Annual Winter Spring General Meeting – from their site:

“We are going to combine our regular Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Community Meeting with a ‘Park People” Meeting.  Do you have an interest or concern having to do with Trinity Bellwoods Park?  Want to volunteer in the park?  Give us a shout in advance and we’ll put it on the agenda, or simply come by and we’ll add it to “Other Business”

For the second half of the evening, please join Park People and Friends of Trinity Bellwoods to discuss how communities can organize to care for local parks.  Friends of Trinity Bellwoods will describe how we host events, review permit applications, and ask for donations from film companies on location in our park.  We will also give a brief history of our adopt-a-tree program, farmer’s market, greenhouse, playground and outreach strategy.  Executive Director, Dave Harvey, will present Toronto Park People’s new Park Friends Group Handbook. Park People needs your input to empower communities across the GTA to care for local parks.  Park People is also looking for feedback on their new website at http://www.parkpeople.ca/.

 

Both are great opportunities for you to become involved in your neighbourhood or your park!

 

Skating with Olivia Chow – Monday Feb 20, 3:30-4:30 PM Trinity Bellwoods rink

The Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park are happy to cohost this skating event with the neighborhood’s elected federal representative, MP Olivia Chow, at the Trinity Bellwoods Rink. Come join us for skating and pizza (the latter courtesy of the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park). Northeast corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park, at Gore Vale Ave, just south of Dundas. Don’t forget your skates! See you on the ice!

City of Toronto E-updates

Thanks to TBCA executive Anne Keary for pointing out this new method of staying on top of City of Toronto news by subscribing to their automated mailing lists, or E-updates at http://www.toronto.ca/e-updates/index.htm#email2

 

 

Categories you can subscribe to include:

  • News releases
  • City Update
  • Road Closures
  • Emergency and major incident information
  • Celebrate Toronto
  • Cycling information

There are also other neighbourhood specific alerts that you scan subscribe to on the page. Additionally, you can subscribe to RSS Feeds or the official City of Toronto Twitter account @TorontoComms 

Thanks Anne!

 

Toronto will ask Queen’s Park to exempt it from the OMB

Last week the City of Toronto took the first steps towards divorcing itself from the Ontario Municipal Board, or OMB, a quasi-judicial tribunal originally established in 1897 that, as Christopher Hume points out, now holds “ultimate power over what gets built in Ontario”. Hume argues that this is long overdue:

The truth, of course, is that the OMB should have been abolished decades ago. By enabling politicians to duck the hard decisions, it has left civic politicians in an infantilized state. Toronto faces all the issues of a big city, but behaves like a small town, or more accurately; a series of small towns, each presided over by the ward boss through whose hands all development applications pass. Knowing full well the real action will unfold later at the OMB, councillors tells constituents — i.e. the NIMBY hordes — exactly what they want to hear.

The Toronto Star, in a February 7th editorial titled “Ontario Municipal Board Interference in Toronto’s development has to end” further argues that the OMB is a “an unelected, widely despised, quasi-judicial provincial agency with the power to overrule any community’s development decisions” and that

“It is manifestly undemocratic for an appointed board such as the OMB to substitute its opinions for the considered judgment of elected councillors and professional city staff,” states a report to council. Quite right. No other province has a panel with that kind of power.”

However in an presentation titled “Villain or Scapegoat?: The Ontario Municipal Board and Land Use Planning in Ontario,” Aaron A. Moore argues that removing the OMB from the planning process will not address the larger issues present in Ontario’s planning regime, which he calls “The Wild West”.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association, representing over 1350 member companies, issued a press release in response to the City’s request, saying:

The OMB provides an impartial, independent, adjudicating tribunal that is removed from local political pressures, and renders decisions in accordance with the Planning Act. Many of those decisions have resulted in celebrated projects across the City of Toronto enjoyed by residents and neighbourhoods alike.

“Without the Ontario Municipal Board, facilitation, mediation and adjudication of those celebrated communities may never have been built,” said BILD Acting President Joe Vaccaro.

“Toronto City Council’s request to be removed from the Board’s jurisdiction feeds into a misrepresentation of how city-building decisions are made and how the OMB functions within the process.  Without the OMB, city-building opportunities fall victim to nimbyism and political pressure.”

What do you think, has the OMB’s time come to an end in Toronto, or is there still a use for an impartial judge of what gets built where in our city?