Council unanimous: Will fight OMB decision
Brampton City Council was unanimous— the city will appeal the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision on a multi-highrise development in Heart Lake.
In a vote Wednesday afternoon, councillors confirmed the city will ask for leave to appeal the decision to the Ontario Divisional Court. A judge will determine if an appeal will be allowed.
Councillors also called on the OMB chair to review the decision under Section 43 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act. The chair has the authority to call for a second hearing.
“So we will fight it on two fronts,” said Regional Councillor Paul Palleschi.
But that’s not all. The City of Brampton is also calling for major changes to the OMB which would prohibit the board from overturning a unanimous decision made by a municipal council. Mayor Susan Fennell will lobby the Premier and members of Cabinet, as well as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, asking for changes to legislation.
Calling the Heart Lake highrise decision “precedent-setting”, councillors stressed that it is something that threatens all neighbourhoods in the city where an in-fill development or a redevelopment could bring the same intensification to an otherwise well established single-family subdivision.
Fighting back tears, Palleschi told approximately 60 residents at the council meeting that the city would not give up in the wake of the OMB decision of April 15, which he has publicly ridiculed as a slap in the face and ridiculous.
“We’re going to fight it, that’s the main thing,” he promised, choking back tears which he later apologized for.
“I guess that’s what happens when you get old,” he said.
Regional Councillor Gael Miles said Palleschi had offered to pay for the appeal out of his own pocket, if councillors did not support it.
“Councillor John Hutton, too,” Fennell added. “These are not rich people.”
Fennell said the councillors were willing to mortgage their houses to finance the appeal, if need be.
Hutton seconded Palleschi’s motion to forge ahead, telling residents, “We’re going to fight this all the way.”
The rest of council echoed those sentiments.
“We need to send a message that we are not going to take this lying down,” Regional Councillor John Sprovieri said.
The cost of the appeal is estimated at between $40,000 and $60,000.
The OMB approved 834 units in a six building highrise development up to 20-storeys high at the northwest corner of Sandalwood Parkway and Conestoga Drive. The land is zoned for 419 units in two 18-storey towers.
It’s significantly less than the original application for 1,443 units and townhouses that included a 32-storey tower, but councillors said the revised proposal would still be too big and inconsistent with the community. It also does not conform to the Provincial Growth Plan, would increase traffic and strain infrastructure, and would not provide the required parkland, the city argues.