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Gravel Watch Ontario

"Gravel Watch Ontario (GWO) is a province-wide coalition of citizen groups and individuals that acts in the interests of residents and communities to protect the health, safety, quality of life of Ontarians and the natural environment in matters that relate to aggregate resources.

The following is in response to Omnibus Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. GWO considers Bill 23 to be flawed to such a degree that it must be withdrawn. The Bill violates established democratic rights for participation and appeal in government decision making that affects our quality of life as well as decisions affecting the environment which are important to our health, well-being and economic prosperity. Key inter-related factors pertain to democracy, liveability and risks to natural capital.


Democracy

Democracy does not end at the polling station. Continued public involvement is a mainstay of a representative governing system. The recent 38% provincial turnout at the ballot box does not justify a recasting of long held democratic rights nor the established operations of local agencies, municipal governments and planning authorities. Shifting the Municipalities’ and Conservation Authorities’ responsibilities weakens the long established regional planning framework and represses the technical experience which is critical to the review of development applications. In addition, amendments to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) contravene its purpose to provide justice and fair, principled resolutions for land use planning conflicts.


Our key concerns are:

• restricting public access and involvement to the municipal level only, denies public access to legal recourses

• restricting access to justice is contrary to governments’ role to protect the public interest

• allowing appeal rights for “specified persons” only (i.e. government agencies and major

corporate entities) erodes public trust in government and perpetuate land use conflicts

• arbitrarily awarding appeal costs without request

• empowering the minister to order an amendment to an Official Plan if the Minister is of the

opinion that the plan is likely to adversely affect a matter of provincial interest

• removing the two-year moratorium placed on Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments forpits and quarries

• structuring the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force without representation from

Municipalities, Conservation Authorities, environmental groups, or the public


Community Liveability

Liveability refers to the conditions that enable a good quality of life for all inhabitants based on a healthy and resilient ecosystem for long term social and economic well-being. Bill 23 is a complex Omnibus Bill that has long-term implications regarding land use planning for ecosystem health, not just a Bill to provide more housing. It contains no evidence that housing will be made affordable........"



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