..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

... just to remind myself why I'm doing this ...

Depending on our personalities, the world can be a crowded place or a very lonely one. For those who seek comfort in numbers, there is no shortage of hangers on, but for those who avoid that circus, keeping thier own counsel can leave them feeling quite alone and disengaged from the mad place we call home. Life is a trade off and most of us choose how we live it.

For me, I'd rather work things out as best I can, using my own thoughts and feelings to sort things out. Following the crowd has never been a temptation to me, but that has its price, one that I'm totally comfortable with every day I get to stand up and be the person I aspire to be. When I sometimes lose track of who that is, I come here to remember, to reconnect and to resume my quest.

These posts are a reflection of some of what matters to me and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to collect these thoughts as they form in my head, as they prepare the way for my life, as it evolves from one day to the next. They re-inspire me when things seem to be floating about, with no particular aim or purpose, and it does happen from time to time.

So, today I had these thoughts that I think are worth writing down for the future me to look back on when I need to ...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

too late to the party...and a nickel short, to boot

As one would admittedly suspect, the OMB has "ruled" by giving its approval of the agreement between the Town and a developer re the Legion condo deal's height proposal. One of the remarks attributed to the member should be a clear indication that the decision was predetermined and that the "hearing" was a mere symbol of public accountability, something it clearly was not.

The member was reported to have said that if the agreement had not been penned, and if the proposal for 6 stories had been on the table, it would have been approved. That statement proves the predetermined aspect of the decision. Without hearing evidence, objections and arguments for and against a 6 storey proposal, a truly impartial decision could not be honourably rendered. Yet, the member did just that by making the statement she is reported as making. Based on this evidence, it's fair to conclude that the "fix was in". Also supporting this suspicion is the Mayor's reported statement that he didn't want to take a chance on the Board approving 6 stories so he supported the 5 storey agreement. What would cause him to assume that 6 would be approved in the absence of the agreement?

This brings me to my point here. The OMB interprets the rules already in place when it comes to adjudicating conflicts in development proposals. The rules are public knowledge and have been publicly approved by Council under the Official Plan review process. It's all about applying the laws already on the books. The only question arises in their interpretation and that's where the OMB has final say, short of the judicial process which is always an option. Unfortunately the resources needed for such a challenge are usually much scarcer to the challenger than the proponent, who can always recoup them from the eventual proceeds from the project. That makes judicial challenges unlikely and the proponents usually bank on that by pushing for the limit-plus. The place where these excesses and abuses need to be stopped or mitigated is at the OP review stage. Sadly, the public has little in the way of forward vision in these matters, usually becoming alarmed only when the proposals come forward, taking advantage of this lack of diligence on everyone's part. Of course, as evidenced by this latest Johnny-come-lately fiasco, by that point it's clearly too late to slam that particular door shut. Anyone who disagrees with that view should, the next time we have an OP review, have a look at who and how many actually take an active interest. Exactly my point.

I'm no big fan of the OMB but I do see that as one reason for their apparent impatience in such cases. That's not to say that they don't have an obligation to listen to all relevant comments and concerns when thay affect the disenfranchised in such matters. But that also does not absolve that same public from its responsibility to remain engaged if indeed they believe they have any kind of stake in the issues they feel drawn to from time to time.

For any of the aggrieved parties to qualify for affected or interested party status in development matters down the road, they need to acquire that status by becoming familiar, to a degree, with the provisions of the planning rules they might come to disagree with at some time. Then their voices will have meaning and likely an impact on the process, which is presumably what they are looking for in the final analysis.

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