City Council Votes Against Reason



No one knows what kind of perverse joy your agent gets in planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder arguing against “reasonableness” when it comes to the Ontario Municipal Board.

When has reasonableness ever held sway in planning in Ottawa? … zoning as a suggestion, extremification, lousy mass transit …

God help us if the OMB starts being reasonable. The city won’t be able to put 16- and 14-storey condos beside single-family homes in residential neighbourhoods. Reasonableness is a threat to the cosy relationship the city has with the development community. What’s next! No concierges?

Instead the planning department, city politicians and builders like things just the way they are. Let’s not be reasonable. That could tip the good ship Ottawa. Fairness? Golly, we can’t have that.

This all came about at city council because the Ontario government (again) wants to restructure the OMB so that it adjudicates over municipal planning decisions using “reasonableness” as a guide. With that presumption, we can safely say that the OMB has not been making decisions based on reason. All evidence shows that to be true.

So reasonableness was shot down at council 17-6 with ‘no’ led by Harder.

Nothing could better characterize city government in Ottawa.



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4 thoughts on “City Council Votes Against Reason

  1. Remember the big reaction over Councillor Allan Hubley’s statement that CDPs were a waste of time because they will just get overturned by the OMB. (That was at the time that a South Keys CDP was underway and different height zoning changes were being debated.)

    Isn’t now a good time, while the Ontario Government is debating OMB reforms, for Hubley and his fellow councillors to address this issue? If not “reasonableness,” then what would Hubley suggest?

    1. Unreasonableness, I think.

      I thought it was hilarious that city council voted down reasonableness.

      The councillors were probably right. How do you enforce reasonableness?

      Still it was funny.


  2. All this is granting the point of reasonableness even existing at all times within City Council. I fail to see that it exists at all times with all councilors so the point is moot.

  3. It would be great to have someone go through the media’s archives and pull out every time a city councillor has reacted to an OMB decision saying either that the OMB was being unreasonable or that the city’s and/or community’s position was reasonable. If they didn’t think reasonableness was measurable, why didn’t they come up with an alternative?

    While in the archives, let’s look for the number of times the mayor has said that “people” (with whom he disagrees) have to be “reasonable” or that the city has taken a “reasonable” approach to something.


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