Municipal/Planning Law

Jarvis Bike Lane Removal Exposes Serious Weaknesses in Municipal Class Approvals

October 12th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The “Class EA” was introduced to the Ontario environmental assessment process shortly after the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act was passed, in 1976. The purpose of Class EAs was said to be to streamline approvals for undertakings that were similar in nature (i.e. belonging to the same ‘class’ of project) and that generally had predictable and easy to mitigate effects and therefore did not need full environmental assessments. Class assessments were immediately used for municipal infrastructure projects. Class EAs are an attempt to balance many competing policy factors including reducing the cost of municipal infrastructure, avoiding duplication with other municipal processes and the difficulty of predicting environmental effects on a class‑wide basis. However, strong pressures to exempt an ever growing array of projects from full environmental assessments have led to the growth of Class EAs, and Class EAs have come to dominate EA practices in Ontario by a wide margin.

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Ontario Court of Appeal decision upholds P3 arrangements, reduces taxpayer accountability at municipal level

July 10th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

A recent Court of Appeal decision in Friends of Lansdowne v. City of Ottawa et. al. confirms that procedural irregularities are not grounds to overturn a municipal decision.

This case dealt with a redevelopment of Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. The community park is home to a football stadium , a hockey arena and the historic Aberdeen Pavilion exhibition hall. In late 2009 the City approved a redevelopment plan proposed by a private consortium named Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group which hoped to house a CFL franchise at the redeveloped park. The redevelopment plan would renovate the existing arena and stadium, build 330,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space, add underground parking and a new urban park. Heritage buildings would be relocated.  Under the plan, the City would (among other items) contribute $3.8 million per year, pay for some of the costs of the Plan, enter into a 50 year lease for 10.2 acres for an annual rent of $1.00 for the first 30 years, and grant construction and management contracts to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

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Ontario’s wetlands framework needs revision

February 3rd, 2012 by Laura Bowman

Ontario Nature, Earthroots, Ecojustice and Ducks Unlimited released a report this week on Ontario Wetlands: Protecting Greenbelt Wetlands: How Effective is Policy.

Many of the report’s suggestions relate to better interdepartmental and intergovernmental decision-making integration.  Others propose more measurable and defensible standards in the approvals process.

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Cost-effective strategies to promote better planning and development in your municipality

November 29th, 2011 by Iler Campbell LLP

Are you facing an uphill battle to promote better planning and development in your municipality?  Many individuals and community groups are daunted by the prospect of participating in local planning decisions and a possible related Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing. These processes can involve complex legal issues and a considerable investment of time, energy and money.

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Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation makes application to the Environmental Commissioner under the Environmental Bill of Rights for review of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and Plan

October 3rd, 2011 by Paula Boutis

In 2001, the Ontario government passed legislation protecting approximately 190,000 hectares of land known as the Oak Ridges Moraine.  The Moraine is estimated to provide approximately 250,000 people with clean drinking water.  It forms the headwaters of 65 streams flowing south the Lake Ontario and north to Lake Simcoe, Lake Scugog, Rice Lake and Georgian Bay.1

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Citizens and the Ontario Municipal Board

June 10th, 2010 by Paula Boutis

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Sierra Club Peel’s annual celebration, where the Club highlighted the 5th anniversary of the creation of the Greenbelt, and efforts underway to expand the Greenbelt.  As always, planning issues around the Greenbelt, and planning more generally, were a hot button issue.

As part of the provincial government’s raft of important planning initiatives around the time the Greenbelt was introduced, the government also headed the comments and concerns of citizens  and municipalities that the battle to protect spaces and places was being lost by municipalities and their citizens at the Ontario Municipal Board.

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