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Does Ontario need the LPAT? Burlington MPP Jane McKenna says Yes
Does Ontario need the LPAT? Burlington MPP Jane McKenna says Yes
July 30, 2019

Every community in Ontario is unique. But no matter where you go, one thing is the same — people are looking for housing that meets their needs and their budget.

Here in Burlington, the cost of buying a home is becoming out of reach for many, and affordable rentals are too hard to find. In addition, the high cost of housing is making it harder to attract investment and create jobs.

COUNTERPOINT: Ontario doesn't need LPAT, says Burlington mayor

According to 2017 projections by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance, Halton Region will grow by 56.2 per cent over the next 22 years — making Halton the fastest-growing area in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area. That’s why we need to get the housing supply right — the right housing, in the right place, at the right time, in the most efficient way. 

Provincial government growth plans have determined land use patterns for over a century. Regional and municipal official plans align to provincial government policy and are used in planning local communities.

Ontario is not the only province that handles appeals involving municipal planning decisions with a tribunal. Like Ontario, Alberta is also home to some of the fastest-growing cities in Canada; they also handle municipal planning with a tribunal.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) exists because people don’t always agree on how their communities should develop or change. Disputes often arise over land-use planning issues, such as where industry is located, where roads and transit are built, protecting environmentally sensitive lands and managing overall development. When people are unable to resolve their differences on planning issues or have disputes with their municipal council, the LPAT provides a forum to resolve those disputes.

Recently, Halton regional council passed a motion calling on the provincial government to eliminate the LPAT. Unfortunately, this is not an option, as it would remove the ability for residents to appeal council decisions outside the courts. Relying on our overburdened court system would increase costs, delay decision-making and hinder people’s ability to settle planning disputes.

Our government’s recent decision to appoint 11 new adjudicators to the LPAT will speed-up decision-making to address the two- to three-year backlog of appeals.

As Burlington works to create a new official plan, our mayor and council continue to receive expert advice from local and provincial planning staff. That’s why I’m confident that, by mid-2020, under a new official plan, the number of appeals will be reduced, with the LPAT playing an important role in ensuring critical checks and balances are in place.

[Click Here to view the original article from the Burlington Post's from the July 30, 2019 issue.]

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