A different kind of OMB rantMy mother often does her part to save the environment by carpooling, as a number of her co-workers live nearby. Yesterday, she was carpooling with an area resident who was joining the fight against the high-density development proposed for the Heart Lake Town Centre area in Brampton. He reported that the community was united in opposition, and that he was confident that the development would be stopped.
I've gone on record as saying that I am in favour of this development. To accommodate the growing population in a sustainable way, we must intensify land uses. Period. We must intensify wherever services to support high-density development exists, and the presence of shopping and transit make Heart Lake Town Centre the perfect candidate. I agree that it will cause traffic nightmares, but that is primarily because the City of Brampton is notorious for the tardiness of its transportation capacity improvements. I've lived in this area for almost 15 years, and road expansions which should have been completed then are still under construction. The neighborhood coalition's problem should not be with the developers - it should be with the municipality for not providing the necessary transportation capacity.
So what will happen? The likely result of this process is the following:
The developer will apply to change the land zoning form agriculture to high-density residential, the city will refuse the application. The developer will appeal this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (who is known for ignoring the Planning Act in their decisions), who will grant the zoning change, allowing the developer to build on the land.
For better or for worse, that's how things work in this province. This is a very poor way of deciding what gets built where, but in this case, its a good thing. Yes, you heard me right.
The area residents are looking out for their own interests, and no one can blame them for that. The elected officials are looking to keep their constituents happy, and no one can blame them for that. But at the intersection of those two interests, the greater good gets lost.
So what does that make the OMB? They are the person flirting with you in a bar. You know they've been to bed with half the city, and you're disgusted at their behaviour, but you can't help but flirt back in the hopes that maybe, this time, things will go differently and they'll settle down to a happy ending.
I am still calling for OMB reform, but perhaps after they approve the proposal to build the heart lake development. In the mean time, I must caution everyone dealing with the OMB to use protection.