OMB Decision on Airport and Employment issues (Sep 2011)

What was originally expected to be a 2-week hearing became a session lasting just 1 1/4 hour on September 19, 2011. Appeals by four developer Parties and the Greenspace Alliance were withdrawn. We are not aware of what, if anything, the developers received in return for withdrawing but here is what the Alliance settled for:

  1. the City’s Official Plan was amended to include a commitment to hold consultations with “impacted communities and interest groups” before giving input to the Airport Authority’s draft concept plans for land outside the core aviation functions; [modification to section 3.10.1, Policy 2]
  2. in a letter by Planning and Development General Manager John Moser, the City has committed further to hold such consultations at both the terms of reference stage and the draft final report stage;
  3. the Official Plan notes that certain lands leased by the Airport Authority are outside the “urban and Greenbelt” area (Schedule B); [modification to section 3.10.1, Preamble]
  4. the City committed to come forward before the end of the year with a clarification of the meaning of “organic soils” in the Official Plan and/or the Slope Stability Guidelines, and the Alliance will be given an opportunity to comment on staff’s draft proposal; and
  5. the Airport Authority has released its Wildlife Management Plan.

Items 1 and 3 were endorsed by City Council on August 24. In the opinion of the City’s Legal Services the other terms of settlement did not require Council endorsement. However, the Alliance ensured they were put on the record at the September 19 hearing.

Member Jackson read out his Decision (after a 1/2 hour break — part of the 1 1/4 hour!) at the end of the hearing. It was published September 27 and is attached.

The Airport Authority’s 2006 Wildlife Management Plan is here (305 KB). There are four accompanying Figures: Figure 1 (572 KB), Figure 2 (4.03 MB), Figure 3 (2.87 MB), and Figure 4 (1,021 KB). The Authority also provided us with an undated Transport Canada document, “Safety Above All” (977 KB).

While we can be pleased with this outcome, a large potential loophole remains: Section 3.10.1, Policy 3, states that development proposals may be considered on a case-by-case basis in advance of these concept plans if site-specific issues and constraints are adequately addressed and the proposed uses are consistent with the Authority’s Land-Use Plan and the Greenbelt Master Plan. Vigilance will continue to be a must.

Following the initial launch of the appeal, the Alliance team for this portion of the OPA 76 appeals consisted of Amy Kempster, Sol Shuster and myself.

Erwin Dreessen

24 September 2011