OPEN LETTER: GCA Protests Ontario Appeal Change

This is an open letter to Paul Calandra, the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs, from the Glebe Community Association:

Hon. Paul Calandra April 15, 2024 Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Queen’s Park, Toronto


Dear Minister Calandra,

The Glebe Community Association (GCA) is a volunteer, non-profit, membership-based and city recognized organization advocating for a livable, sustainable, diverse urban neighbourhood in  Ottawa. We are supportive of measures at all levels of government to provide solutions to the  housing crisis in Ontario.

We understand that last week, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 185, “Cutting Red Tape to  Build more Homes”. This follows a Housing Afordability Task Force Report tabled in February 2022  that included a recommendation to, “Remove right of appeal for projects with at least 30%  affordable housing in which units are guaranteed affordable for 40 years. While we believe  strongly in the democratic process that includes appeal rights to the Ontario Land Tribunal,  we support the Task Force recommendation in this case, in light of the very pressing need to  accelerate creation of affordable housing units.

However, the proposed legislation is not aligned with the Task Force recommendation. It  goes well beyond that targeted lifting of a right of appeal proposed by the Task  Force. Instead, it includes a provision that would remove all 3rd party appeals, no matter the type  of application. We do not support this proposal and trust that this overreach was unintended.

The right to appeal is a fundamental democratic right. Depriving community associations and other  organizations of the right to challenge municipal zoning decisions risks eroding democratic  processes and could create perceptions that governments are working for private development  interests and not for the public good.

The proposed provision has particular importance to the GCA as we have appealed a rezoning and  Official Plan Amendment (OPA) approval that would enable building of a new privately operated ice  arena/event centre in a city-owned park, in an inner urban area of the city that is already  underserved (according to the City of Ottawa) by green/park space. To be clear, we will not be  appealing the proposed changes to zoning and OPA that would enable two residential towers to be  built, albeit not until at least 2032. In other words, it has no bearing on an application for an  affordable housing project, or indeed any housing project. But it is our belief that the project does

not confirm with the Provincial Policy Statement, nor policies included in Ottawa’s newly-minted  Official Plan. The GCA has invested considerable resources in this appeal to date, with a case  management conference scheduled for April 27, in which it is expected that a hearing date will be  set. But the proposed legislation will result in dismissal of the appeal.

It is for the above reasons that the GCA strongly requests that Bill 185 be amended to align with  provisions with recommendations of the Ford Government’s own Task Force, namely, that  prohibitions on 3rd party appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal be limited to housing projects that  include at least 30% affordable housing.

Thank you very much in advance for your attention and consideration of this request for  amendment.




Carolyn Mackenzie

Planning Chair, Glebe Community Association



Joel Harden, MPP, Ottawa Centre

Robert Brinker, President, Federation of Citizen’s Associations



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