Dear Premier Ford,
I am dismayed at your decision to close the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre (LPASC). This centre provides residents from all neighbourhoods with a source of information to help them with their appeals.
Many people come to this centre with questions concerning new developments in their neighbourhoods. This service allows residents to properly structure their appeals before submitting them for review; its elimination will, therefore, clog the provincial appeal system with poorly-structured appeals. The LPASC saves not only the residents’ time, but also the time of those who must review the appeals. This service also helps residents to better inform themselves of the Planning Act and local Official Plans, and helps them to engage the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, without having the added cost of expensive lawyers and planners.
One of the significant problems with the development of Ottawa’s Official Plan is a lack of comprehensive public consultation, and the LPASC was one of the ways in which the public could provide their input; without this service, residents will struggle to communicate with their City about its Official Plan, and struggle to voice their concerns about the many developments taking place in their neighbourhood. How can we expect residents of our nation’s capital to provide their input on how their city ought to be designed, if a crucial avenue for their participation, like the LPASC, is removed?
This decision by your government tilts the balance of power further in favour of corporate developers and further away from average folks. Eliminating this service will embolden unscrupulous developers across the province, and will further empower them to usurp and diminish green and culturally-relevant spaces. Residents deserve to have access to public bodies like the the LPASC--bodies that help them defend their homes and communities from developments that put profit over people.
Exemplary Official Planning is established through strong, healthy and complete communities. To achieve that we must be inclusive of all feedback and participation from all communities. Planning only works when citizens can engage with the support of City resources. Removing access to information and disabling the citizenry’s ability to consult with their planners will only undermine good urban planning in the long-run.
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