There has been lots of talk about Bill 23 and the impact it will have on the Heritage Stock in the Province. Our Provincial Chair, Diane Chin, appeared on CBC Radio 1 Windsor this morning to discuss the looming threat. Below are thoughts from Marc Denhez, a lawyer based in Ottawa, sent to our Provincial Organization.
In this new wave of legislation, the only mention that I’ve seen concerning the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS, under the Planning Act) is the intention to roll it together with the Growth Plans (under the Places to Grow Act) into a single document, vaguely like a Provincial Official Plan – except that, like the 1949 Planning Act of George Drew and Leslie Frost (and reiterated in the 1960s by the Ontario Court Of Appeal), it won’t be about municipalities doing planning, but au contraire about preventing them from doing it (just like the Riot Act wasn’t about restricting rioting, not promoting it). Ontario “planning”, if that’s what it’s still called, will be largely at the discretion of the Minister.
Meanwhile, as for business ethics, the Government claimed it would “protect Ontario homebuyers from unethical developers” who “unfairly cancel projects or terminate purchase agreements.” It increases maximum fines under the New Home Construction Licensing Act by $25,000. Big flaming deal.
Under the Planning Act and Municipal Act, the biggies are what I described earlier:
- Single-detached zoning is abolished: all single-detached zones throughout Ontario are now automatically rezoned for triplexes.
- The right of ratepayers and community groups to appeal land-use decisions is abolished. The appeal system is now limited to municipalities and developers.
- All single-detached zones throughout Ontario are now rezoned to permit a carriage house and a secondary suite.
- Site Plan Control is abolished for projects of 10 units or less.
- Architectural and landscape design are banned from Site Plan Control.
- The upper-tier planning approval system by Regional governments (Waterloo, Durham, Peel etc.) is abolished: local municipalities will now need to seek approval of their Official Plans directly from the Minister.
- The Minister will now be authorized to limit a municipality’s attempts to control demolition of rental housing.
- The Minister is given more leeway to order a change to a municipality’s Official Plan.
As for the Ministerial power grab (at the expense of single-family neighbourhoods and the evisceration of municipal jurisdiction), I am stunned by the somnolent acquiescence of the media. It’s buried.
I submitted op-eds to the Globe and National Post, figuring that my background at OMB would be worth some brownie points; but they didn’t dignify them with so much as an acknowledgement. I landed one online magazine, but that’s peanuts. I hope to ask a PR contact later today for advice.
Marc Denhez will appear in a one-hour Zoom lecture Nov. 16, at 7:00 pm. It’s a free talk but attendees must t pre-register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_quvnvHeES2Km2plAm7C88w
To read Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, click here.
Picture from City News Ottawa. Click here to see original source.