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SERRA supports FoNTRA’s submission calling for OMB Reform

SERRA is an active member of the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (see http://www.fontra.com). FoNTRA has drafted and submitted a briefing calling for OMB reform in response to the province’s request for input. Here are the highlights from the submission.

FoNTRA’s submission is based on the principle that municipal councils should be responsible for local planning decisions, not an unelected body that is not accountable to citizens.

The OMB violates this principle in these key respects:
      • It frequently overrides the decisions made by democratically elected municipal councils,
      • It bases its decisions on de novo (“starting over”) hearings in which it can ignore the decisions of municipal councils and evidence presented to them,
      • It pays little attention to concerns of affected citizens, having regard principally for evidence presented to it by “expert witnesses” that ordinary citizens cannot afford.

By making ad-hoc site-specific decisions in response to developers’ applications, it reduces the role of area-wide municipal Official Plans and in so doing too often fails to consider area-wide impacts of major new developments.

FoNTRA’s submission accordingly advocates four key reforms:

1. The role of the OMB should be changed to restrict it to acting as a genuine appeal body, only allowing or disallowing a municipal council’s decision rather than substituting its own judgment for the municipal decision.

2. The number of appeals to the OMB should be drastically reduced by prohibiting privately initiated applications for Official Plan amendments that have not been approved by a municipal council, and redirecting appeals from Committee of Adjustment decisions to Local Appeal Boards.

3. The content of municipal Official Plans should be required to provide clear policy guidance for subsequent amendments to the zoning by-law, including clearly-defined limits on the magnitude of such amendments.

4. Residents’ participation in Board proceedings should be made more effective, through measures as intervenor funding and weighting of evidence based on relevant expertise and knowledge rather than credentialism.

SERRA plans to provide a separate submission that will highlight the reform issues and recommendations that are most relevant to our region.

If you would like to receive more information on the FoNTRA proposal or would like to contribute to SERRA’s submission please contact Andy Gort at president@southeglinton.ca

Your AGM Invitation and Zoom Link

Why join us for our Annual General Meeting on Thursday, January 20th? FIVE REASONS Reason #1: We choose RENEWAL! Reason #2: We want to share some important news with you. Reason #3: Jaye Robinson and Josh Matlow. Reason #4: Hear about what we have accomplished since the last Annual General Meeting. Reason #5: We’d love to hear from you.     REGISTER NOW Here is the registration link for the Annual General Meeting … CLICK … Read more

Mark your Calendars for the AGM

SERRA’s Annual General Meeting is coming up, and we hope to ‘see’ you there! DID YOU KNOW: When SERRA was formed over 50 years ago, it was the “South Eglinton Ratepayers’ Association?”. Eventually, a second ‘R’ was added to the acronym to include ‘Residents.’ As we come through another unprecedented year, and look ahead to our continually evolving neighbourhood, we want the name of our residents’ association to resonate in 2022. So please join us on … Read more

Community Consultation – 537 Eglinton Avenue East

This application proposes to amend City of Toronto Zoning By-law to permit a 23-storey (72.6 metre) high residential building with a 7-storey base building that measures 23.1 metres in height. The proposal contains a total of 128 dwelling units and a total gross floor area of 9,073 square metres, resulting in a density of 16.58 times the lot area. A total of 37 vehicular parking spaces are proposed in two levels of underground parking. City … Read more

The Midtown Working Group asks local residents to support the new vision for Canada Square development.

A new Midtown Town Centre vision for the Canada Square site at Yonge and Eglinton has been developed by the Midtown Working Group and endorsed by Midtown Councillors Josh Matlow, Mike Colle and Jaye Robinson. This vision is a once-in-a-century legacy city-building opportunity on City-owned land, for what will soon be the second most significant transit hub – right in the middle of Toronto. The Town Centre will provide sorely needed education, childcare, affordable housing, … Read more