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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

OMB Update and AIMS Environmental Report

Hi everyone,

There has been no decision yet from the Ontario Municipal Board hearing last week, and we're not expecting to hear anything for another few weeks at least. There is nothing unusual about this time frame and we aren't reading anything into it one way or another. A note to the community from Councilor Brian Ashton outlining the city's participation appears below.

In other news, we have received the long-awaited environmental report from consulting firm AiMS Environmental. We originally commissioned the report in the fall of 2008 in order to get an independent assessment of the City's environmental testing on its own lands (via a DCS report from September 2007); and an expert appraisal of materials obtained through a Freedom of Information search of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

In general, the AiMS review does not highlight any significant new environmental information. It does, however, provide a number of recommendations for ensuring that the environmental sensitivity of the site is fully taken into account in any development proposals; and for maximizing public consultation and input throughout the process. These can be found on pages 13 -16 of the report. As a whole, the report is a strong resource and a wealth of environmental information. The full report can be downloaded here (10.8MB, PDF).



Dear Residents:

Following is an informal and condensed overview of the Ontario Municipal Board Hearing regarding GCD's rezoning appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board commencing on February 16, 2010:

"The OMB hearing on this Gerrard/Clonmore site concluded on Friday with final submissions by legal counsel. The decision on these appeals is now reserved and the member, Mr. Chris Conti, advised that he expected to get a written decision out in 4-5 weeks.

This was a complex hearing with many issues, including the historic uses put to the Quarry lands over the decades. On Thursday, we called two witnesses from the TRCA to support our argument about a wetland being disturbed by the first building proposed for Block 2 near Gerrard Street. The other side, of course, argued that the existing marsh arises from a completely man-made situation of a formerly excavated quarry site now filling up and supporting some sporadic growth. On the main issue of land-use, we submitted that the rezoning should be turned down, or should be seen as premature, pending the completion of the Quarry Lands study which has been halted in Phase 2.

It is possible that the Board could approve the request to change the zoning bylaw, but not approve the site plan.

The participants were accommodated and gave their testimony in a late afternoon session. Their points were clear, varied, and not repetitive, and I believe the Board got a good sense of the neighbourhood perspective on these planning appeals.

This was one of our more difficult hearings and it will be very interesting to review the OMB Decision when it issues."

Your continued individual and community support is greatly appreciated.

Councillor Brian Ashton