(© Can Stock Photo / jewhyte)

Saugeen Shores mayor feels Ford government taking away local control of planning decisions

The mayor of Saugeen Shores is concerned with provincial plans to restore the Ontario Municipal Board rules for local planning disputes.

Luke Charbonneau said it was a surprise to hear the Ford government announce plans to give Local Planning Appeal Tribunal adjudicator’s power similar to its predecessor, the OMB, particularly the ability to overturn municipal planning decisions.

He said the OMB was not very popular before the previous Liberal government abolished it in favour of the LPAT.

“Returning to the old rules does create some concerns because I know there were lots of concerns from members of the public, as well as municipalities, about how that system worked, so I don’t know why they’re making that change, and I’d like to hear why,” said Charbonneau.  “I think we should have a conversation between ourselves and the province going forward about what an ideal planning process is.”

Charbonneau said he won’t be able to support any system that removes municipal control over local planning.

“We have to design a system that gives control to local communities to set their own destiny,” said Charbonneau. “Decisions on how the town of Southampton, the town of Port Elgin, the township of Saugeen should develop should not be made on University Avenue in Toronto.”

The government announced the changes on Thursday as part of a housing presentation.