City Planning: The Illusion Of Oversight


Frequent Bulldog contributor Ron Benn takes on the issue of planning oversight in Ottawa with the dismantling of the Ontario Municipal Board and the advent of local planning review panels:

Academics and government employees, and let’s face it, many of the people who populate the workstations and offices in municipal planning departments are a combination of both, do not like to have their decisions challenged.

That’s especially by the great unwashed who are neither academics nor planners. The political class does not enjoy oversight. Neither group enjoys having someone overrule the decisions made by the planners and rubber-stamped by the elected officials.

The replacement of the OMB with a local panel was proposed by members of a higher order of the political class, many of whom started their careers as elected officials at the municipal level. That the manner in which the planning panel will be populated has not been disclosed with any degree of detail should not be a surprise. After all, for those whose decisions are subject to scrutiny, the illusion of oversight is far more comfortable than actual oversight.

4 thoughts on “City Planning: The Illusion Of Oversight

  1. ” The illusion of _ _ _ _ _ _ is far more comfortable than actual _ _ _ _ _ _ ”

    Now fill in the blanks with :
    – transparency
    – free markets
    – free speech
    – democracy

    Hey, you could even fill in the blank with ” safe bike lanes “.

  2. The illusion that choo choo trains to Windsor, fixing the Hydro rates and OMB overhauls are all indicators that the government is taking charge is far more comfortable than the actual reality that shoring up a falling approval rating is the name of the game.

    1. Chaz, the illusion of taking action is always easier to create than creating tangible, comprehensive, cohesive policies, let alone implementing tangible, comprehensive and cohesive actions.

      1. Ron,
        Some pols and civil servants will need to get out their dictionaries to look up the meaning of tangible,comprehensive and cohesive ( oh, might have to look up creative too ).


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