While the debate rages on over whether to abolish the Ontario Municipal Board, one city council candidate thinks he has a middle-of-the-road solution — by taking the province out of the picture.
J.P. Boutros, who is running in Ward 16 to succeed current councillor and mayoral candidate Karen Stintz, says if he has his way
Toronto will have its own version of the OMB.
“The biggest problem with the OMB for me is, I don’t like it when an adjudicator from Orillia, North Bay or Wawa could dictate how things work here,” he said. “A Toronto municipal board allows us to control our destiny a bit more.”
Boutros is up against five others in the race for the Eglinton-Lawrence ward.
Opponents include fire and security officer Michael Coll, aerospace project manager Christin Carmichael Greb, municipal lawyer Adam Tanel, direct mail business owner Paul Spence and law teacher Dyanoosh Youssefi.
The OMB acts as an adjudicator and makes the final ruling on what gets built and what doesn’t in cases where a municipality and developer disagree on a proposed development.
That the OMB and the Planning Act are both provincial isn’t an issue for Boutros, who says giving Toronto the authority to its own shots isn’t a hard fix.
“The province already defines the City of Toronto as being different than other municipalities — that’s why the City of Toronto Act
exists,” he said, adding that he’d make a Toronto municipal board part of that act.
“We should be allowed to decide such simple things as what we want next to us in our homes.”
Walking past a row of houses on Montgomery Avenue that he said “could’ve been condos by now” had he and the Eglinton Park Residents’ Association not fought to save them at the OMB in 2009, Boutros said there’s one reason above all others why he believes it’s important to stand up to developers.
“Developer’s dreams should never trump residents’ rights,” he said. “Ever.”
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