February 10 - BILD Statement: Toronto Council request to be removed from the OMB

February 10, 2012

BILD Statement: Toronto Council request to be removed from the OMB

Toronto, February  10, 2012 - The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) continues to support the essential role the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) plays in the development approval process, supporting Toronto's desire to create a vibrant world class city.

In our current planning system, an appeal to an independent, non-political, unbiased decision-maker is essential to ensure than any municipality, community, ratepayer association and non-profit agency, along with the landowner has an opportunity to present and test the merits of an application against sound planning principles. This role is currently fulfilled by the OMB.

The OMB provides an impartial, independent, adjudicating tribunal that is removed from local political pressures, and renders decisions in accordance with the Planning Act. Many of those decisions have resulted in celebrated projects across the City of Toronto enjoyed by residents and neighbourhoods alike.

"Without the Ontario Municipal Board, facilitation, mediation and adjudication of those celebrated communities may never have been built," said BILD Acting President Joe Vaccaro.

"Toronto City Council's request to be removed from the Board's jurisdiction feeds into a misrepresentation of how city-building decisions are made and how the OMB functions within the process.  Without the OMB, city-building opportunities fall victim to nimbyism and political pressure."

Here are a few examples of celebrated plans and projects:

- " Condominiums in the Distillery District - a three-residential tower project that financially supported the revitalization and renewal of a formerly derelict historic district, added public art, and brought commerce and community to the area. It received honourable mention at the PUG Awards of Architecture.

- " 18 Yorkville Condominiums - a transit-oriented development that included a new public park for the Yorkville neighbourhood and received a Toronto Urban Design Award, Award of Excellence and a PUG Award of Architecture.

- " One Bedford - an intensification project above two intersecting TTC subway lines that includes retail at grade on Bloor Street and a publicly-accessible courtyard.

- " Shops and Residences at Don Mills - a mixed-use precinct that includes residences, retail, office space, a public park and a contribution of $17-million for a new community centre, all of which revitalized the under-utilized corner of Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East.

- " King-Parliament and King-Spadina Secondary Plans and Zoning By-law - Known as "The Kings," the city-led planning initiatives guide the development of the St. Lawrence/Corktown neighbourhoods in the east and the Entertainment/Fashion districts to the west. The Soho Hotel near King Street East and Spadina Avenue is included in the City's planning document as one example of encouraged new development.

Toronto City Council should be proactively planning by updating the Toronto Official Plan, identifying opportunities for transit-supportive communities that will revitalize neighbourhoods and support the principles of the provincial Growth Plan.

City Council should also be educating residents on the planning process instead of sacrificing economically, culturally, and environmentally-sustainable projects in favour of NIMBY-ism.

By working together to create a modern Official Plan we can share in supporting Toronto's desire to create a vibrant world class city.

About BILD
With more than 1,350 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development Institute/Ontario, is the voice of the land development, home building and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area.  BILD is proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.


For further information, contact:
Amy Lazar
Manager of Communications
416-391-3452 or 416-543-3903


Joe Vaccaro
Acting President