To Improve Ontario Cities, It Is Time To Say Good-Bye to The Ontario Municipal Board

The issue of abolishing the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) needs to be a talking point in the 2011 Ontario election campaign.  It is time for Ontario cities and towns to rally around this issue.

Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star said it best: “After all, the OMB is by any measure anti-democratic and wholly unaccountable. It undermines the authority of city councils and land-use planning departments throughout Ontario, leaving them unable to run their own jurisdictions.” Toronto Star, Oct. 14, 2003

The OMB ruled in favour of the building of a 280-megawatt power plant in Mississauga’s Ward 1 many years ago. The city and its people wanted a different outcome. After years of stagnation, the project is now underway. Once again public opposition is at the boiling point.

Mississauga Councillor Pat Mullin recently drafted an OMB motion, as reported in the National Post, 21 June 2011. “[The OMB] are not elected, they’re not accountable and as far as I’m concerned, we are; the buck stops here,” Ms. Mullin said. “We are in our community, we know our community, and while we may not always support the community in terms of an application, they have the opportunity to get rid of us in the next election…. In my view, it’s time to take back the planning.”

The abolition of the Ontario Municipal Board could mark the beginning of a long overdue renewal process to improve the development and management of cities and towns in Ontario.

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