Earlier this week, the Ontario government passed the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017, legislation that will provide communities with a stronger voice in land-use planning.
The legislation will replace the Ontario Municipal Board with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, an independent tribunal making decisions away from the sway of the government. The latest available data finds that in 2015-16, the Ontario Municipal Board received 1,460 cases from across the province. This move will help ensure that proceedings that come before the tribunal are faster, fairer and more affordable.
The new legislation will also create the free Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, which will provide Ontario residents with information about the land use planning appeal process, legal and planning advice and may also provide legal representation in proceedings before the tribunal.
“This legislation will help create a faster and more accessible process for appealing land-use planning decisions,” said Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario, in a press release. “Giving people a stronger voice in the planning of their own communities will help ensure cities and towns reflect the best interests of the people living in them today, as well as future generations.”
The Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act will come into force on a date yet to be determined by the Lieutenant Government.