Last spring, the Province’s Local Planning Appeal Support Centre (LPASC) was introduced to provide expert advice and legal assistance to residents participating in the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) development appeal process. The LPASC was an integral part of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) reform passed by the Provincial Legislature in 2017.
In February, the Province suddenly announced that they would be permanently closing the LPASC. Effective immediately, the Centre will no longer be accepting new requests from the public.
Like many of you, I was shocked and disappointed by the Province’s decision. At the February meeting of City Council, I supported a motion strongly opposing the closure of the LPASC. In my remarks, I spoke at length about the lack of accessibility and transparency for residents participating in complex and expensive proceedings at the LPAT, formerly known as the OMB.
The appeal process is difficult to navigate and often leaves engaged neighbours feeling like they are in a David and Goliath battle against powerful, well-funded developers. While professional developers can assemble large teams of qualified experts, the costs of participating in LPAT mediation or hearings are often prohibitive for concerned neighbours and associations. I would encourage you to reach out to the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs to share your concerns about this decision.