Ontario Goverment to Review the Ottawa Municipal Board

Yasir Naqvi
By Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre

We are fortunate to live in a vibrant downtown community in a major North American city. Our neighbourhoods continue to grow with development all around us. As your MPP, nothing is more important to me than ensuring that Ottawa is healthy, sustainable and safe for all of us.

Balance is a central factor in maintaining the vibrancy of our communities. We must understand the need for growth and development along with the protection of our green spaces and enhancing the character of our neighbourhoods. The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) plays a central role in the province’s land-use planning process and the City of Ottawa’s own plans for how to best develop our land. Because of this, the OMB’s decisions have a direct impact on Ottawa families and communities.

As such, along with you, I have long advocated for changes to the OMB to ensure community-inspired development. I am proud that the Ontario government has undertaken a comprehensive review of how the OMB operates and its role in our province’s land-use planning system to help make it more efficient and more accessible to all communities.

The OMB review is framed by the following guiding principles: protection of long-term public interests; maintenance or enhancement of access to dispute resolution; provision of transparency in hearing processes and decision-making; and, minimizing impacts on the court system. As a result, the review has been organized according to the following five themes:

– OMB’s jurisdiction and powers
– citizen participation and local perspective
– clear and predictable decision-making
– modern procedures and faster decisions
– alternative dispute resolution and fewer hearings

The government has released a Public Consultation Document to support the review of the OMB. It provides context and direction. It gives background on Ontario’s land use planning system and on the OMB. It sets out possible changes being considered to improve the OMB’s role within the system as organized under the five key themes, and raises questions for consideration. I had the opportunity to host the Ottawa town hall on Nov. 9. The turnout was fantastic with great ideas and suggestions on how to make the OMB work better for our community and give more consideration to council decisions.

If you were not able to attend, there is still opportunity to submit your thoughts online by simply going to ontario.ca/OMBreview. We want to hear from you!

I have often heard from residents that the OMB must be reformed so that it can better serve the unique needs of our community and incorporate better land-use planning principles. Any changes our government makes to the OMB in the future will put people and communities like ours first. Over the next 25 years, our population is expected to increase by more than four million people. That means our communities and municipalities will need to respond and adjust to this growth. We believe no one knows better what is best for the community than the people who live there. That is why the input and advice you share on how to move forward with an improved and modernized OMB is very important.

With that in mind, I hope everyone has the opportunity to gather with family and explore our wonderful community this holiday season. My family and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Season’s Greetings.

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