BRLA Involvement in OMB Hearing

from BRLA President, Brian Hawkins

In June of 2015, your Board filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) against a Township of Rideau Lakes Committee of Adjustment decision regarding a significantly undersized waterfront property on Big Rideau Lake. That appeal is now complete and we await the Hearing Officer’s written decision.

I am writing to advise you of the rationale for your Board’s decision, to assure you that this decision was not taken lightly and that it is not BRLA’s intent to become involved in frequent OMB appeals.

Here are the facts:

·      The appeal challenged a single decision made by the Township’s Committee of Adjustment.

·      This action was brought to the Board by the Environment Committee and was approved unanimously by the Board.

·      In reviewing the Committee of Adjustment’s decision, your Board felt that the very same process which we are all held accountable to when developing our private properties was ignored by the Committee of Adjustment.

·      The Committee of Adjustment did not demand sufficient information from the applicant to permit a proper review of the application and ignored the written input from the technical review agencies

·      The Board felt that if not challenged, the decision could stand as a precedent for future applications which could sidestep existing Provincial, County and Township Official Plan requirements, putting our lake at risk thereby affecting the value of our members’ property investments.

·      The hearing, originally scheduled for one day in November, was extended by two full days, April 28th and 29th.

·      While it is inappropriate to forecast the Hearing Officer’s decision, we are very pleased with his verbal comments at the end of the hearing. He noted that the Official Plan needs to be reviewed and that the Township’s process was deficient.

·      The Township’s lawyer agreed that additional conditions were warranted.

·      The BRLA was represented at the hearings by an interested neighbour on Upper Rideau Lake and most of the technical research was provided by a current member of the BRLA, who also appeared as an expert witness on our behalf.
These services were provided “pro bono”, we are most grateful for their efforts and generosity..

When the decision is handed down, we will update you immediately.

In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me at president@bigrideaulakeassociation.com, or click on the title above to leave a comment here.