Ford in the pocket of developers with revival of OMB

Today in Question Period, Mike Schreiner asked why the government is disrespecting taxpayers by reviving the Ontario Municipal Board system that once cost municipalities millions in legal fees to defend against deep-pocketed developers.

“It was bad enough the OMB was used to overturn local planning decisions made by democratically elected councillors. But appeals to the OMB also racked up millions in legal fees on the backs of towns and cities to protect against sprawl-hungry developers,” said Schreiner.

The Minister of Finance dodged the question, failing to even mention housing in his response.

Ford is resurrecting rules that allow an unelected, quasi-judicial body to litigate local planning decisions, a failed system that cost the city of Guelph over $1 million in only three years.

“Bringing back the OMB rules will do nothing to address the housing crisis. All it does is allow an unelected, unaccountable board to run roughshod over municipalities and bulldoze community-driven planning,” said Schreiner.

After failing twice to open the Greenbelt, the Premier is looking for new ways to reward his deep-pocketed friends who want access to prime farmland and greenspace.

“This is another back-door plan to pad the pockets of big developers, who see prime farmland and endangered species habitat as nothing more than expensive subdivisions-in-waiting,” said Schreiner.

“On top of the cuts Ford has passed onto municipalities, they will now have to earmark millions of taxpayer dollars to fight rich developers in these undemocratic disputes,” said Schreiner.