Guelph city councillor cheers demise of Ontario Municipal Board

Guelph city councillor who called for "bold change" to the OMB process admits she did a bit of a "happy dance" on word the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) was being replaced by the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

New appeals will be processed through Local Planning Appeal Tribunal

Unlike the OMB, the LPAT will not be able to overrule city decisions, unless it finds that city councils haven't followed their own rules. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Guelph city councillor Cathy Downer admits she did a bit of a "happy dance" after word came that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) was being replaced by the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

The Ward 5 councillor said they have spent many years and a lot of money at the OMB over a number of different issues.

"The City of Guelph finally got our official plan that was approved in 2012 by the city and the province. We finally got it out of the OMB," said Downer.

"So it was held up there for five years. I think it means that those types of things won't be happening in the future."

Downer said she hopes the new appeals board doesn't morph itself into another OMB over time. But she admits some of the same people who worked at the OMB, could end up at the LPAT. 

Developers not happy

Cathy Downer admits developers are not happy with this decision, but she's not sure how it's going to affect the relationship with municipalities.

"They lobbied heavily against these changes," said Downer. "It depends on how fair it'll be on the LPAT. The first number of hearings are going to set a precedent to how they go forward."

Unlike the OMB, the LPAT will not be able to overrule city decisions, unless it finds that city councils haven't followed their own rules.

The new rules will also allow for local communities to have legal and financial support if they do want to take on a developer.

LPAT will also offer help for neighbourhood groups to fight development. There will be a support centre with legal and planning advice for groups and individuals who want to have their voices heard at the LPAT.

Older cases that predate the change will still be heard by the OMB.

The Ontario Municipal board is no longer going settle development disputes. As of now, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or (L-PAT) will hear disagreements between municipalities and developers. CBC KW first spoke to Cathy Downer, the ward 5 councillor for the City of Guelph when talk of changes began. We get her reaction to the changes 6:02