Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The authority to build our cities

So yesterday I talked about going to a community meeting about the site plan for the big development project going up across the street. Now I know that for anyone reading this blog who doesn’t live in the immediate vicinity, this topic is likely quite boring. I apologize.

However, if you happen to live in Ottawa, I do hope you care. Actually, if you live anywhere in Ontario I encourage you think about what recourse you’d have if a development company bought a property in your neighbourhood and decided to build an urban monstrosity and the city caved to their demands since the taller the tower, the bigger the tax revenue. What would you do? To whom would you appeal?

 This is the issue we’ve been facing. As a community, we’ve tried to do everything – letters, phone calls, meetings, rallies, parades even! But in the end, the developers win. One of the people at the meeting yesterday pointed out that Ontario is the only Canadian with a municipal board that rules on development issues. He suggested that in the forthcoming provincial election campaign period, we ask our candidates about urban development and how citizens can have a say in how their cities develop. The board is stacked with developers and lawyers – why do they get to trump decisions made by city politicians or challenges brought by community groups?

One of the things that we were encouraged to do at yesterday’s meeting is to demand that our councillor lift delegated authority. As I mentioned yesterday, usually by the time a development proposal is at the stage of site plans, all the big issues have been settled so the file is handed over to city staffers and authority is delegated to them to make decisions. However, at request from the community, the Councillor has the power to lift that delegated authority off staffers and put it back in council – meaning that the public would have opportunity to express their concerns and council would vote on issues.

So please, if you live in Ottawa, write to your councillor and request that delegated authority on the convent site be lifted and the public be allowed to have a voice.

No comments:

Post a Comment