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Kawartha Lakes council asking for changes to the Ontario Land Tribunal

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes council has decided to call for reforms to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), rather than to abolish the tribunal.

At a meeting on Tuesday, February 22nd, councillors saw correspondence from Tom Mrakas, Mayor of the Town of Aurora, regarding a motion from their municipality, to request “the Government of Ontario to dissolve the OLT immediately.” The motion stated this would potentially eliminate “one of the most significant sources of red tape delaying the development of more attainable housing in Ontario.”

According to an Ontario government website, the OLT handles appeals and disputes, “related to land use planning, environmental and natural features and heritage protection, land valuation, land compensation, municipal finance, and related other matters.” The OLT was formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Ward 6 Councillor Ron Ashmore called for the council to endorse Mayor Mrakas’ resolution.

“It would basically give us some independence. We’d have more control over our land-use planning, which is what we’ve always wanted,” Councillor Ashmore stated.

Ward 5 Councillor Pat Dunn said this “would just get the [Ontario government] thinking about” the OLT and its issues.

However, some councillors had some concerns about this motion.

“It seems more reasonable, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, we tweak the system, we fix it and move forward on that basis,” Ward 3 Councillor Doug Elmslie said.

Mayor Andy Letham agreed it would be better to fix the system rather than eliminate it. “I find this motion very short-sighted.”

Councillor Ashmore’s motion was later defeated. Councillors instead decided to vote to craft a letter to send to the provincial government asking for fixes to the system.

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