roundtable

Reforming the Committee of Adjustment

For the past six years, one of my chief priorities at City Hall has been to make the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) more effective, accountable and transparent.

In 2014, I placed multiple motions intended to overhaul the Committee of Adjustment, recommending professional training for CoA members, better engagement of residents and improvements to the public notices and notification process.

This year, there are plans to hold training sessions for CoA members in all four districts. This training will focus on the Neighbourhoods policy of the City’s Official Plan to ensure that CoA members are more attune to and respectful of the needs and desires of our local neighbourhoods.

City Planning is also planning to host a roundtable discussion this year with resident groups in each district to discuss outreach strategies and how the CoA can be more accessible and user-friendly. As a result of recent meetings I’ve had with Planning staff, the notice sign is also being redesigned to make it more visible and staff are exploring other strategies to improve the public notice process altogether.

I’ve long advocated for the audio-visual recording of CoA meetings, which finally came to fruition last fall. Currently, the city is working to enable live-streaming of CoA panels on Planning’s Youtube page by the end of the summer, this will increase the accountability of the CoA and allow residents to follow the proceedings in real time..

My Road Safety Roundtable

It was great to work with local advocacy groups and organizations at my Road Safety Strategic Plan Roundtable on January 25, 2016.

It was great to work with local advocacy groups and organizations at my Road Safety Strategic Plan Roundtable on January 25, 2016.

As Chair of Public Works, I initiated the development of a comprehensive, city-wide Road Safety Strategic Plan (RSSP) nearly a year ago.

Last month, I was pleased to host a roundtable in Council Chambers, which brought together local community and advocacy groups, city and provincial agencies and elected officials to share information and best practices about road safety.

We had an outstanding turnout and response. Representatives from more than 24 organizations across our city sat down at the table and took part in an open, respectful and insightful dialogue.

It’s time for Toronto to take a leadership role in developing a strategic, proactive approach that draws together our existing safety initiatives and identifies specific, data-based countermeasures to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.

A draft of the Road Safety Strategic Plan will be coming to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in spring 2016.

Update on Committee of Adjustment Reform

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In June 2014, I asked city staff to bring forward a report with recommendations to improve the Committee of Adjustment.

Among other things, I directed city staff to report back on:

  • Improvements to the notice process, including the manner and form of public notices as well as extending the distribution area and timeline;
  • Training and professional development for Committee Adjustment panel members;
  • The audio-visual or audio recording of Committee of Adjustment panels; and,
  • A public participation strategy to ensure the public is well informed about the process and has the tolls to effectively engage in Committee of Adjustment hearings.

For the full text of my motion click here

Late last month, senior city staff brought two reports to the Planning and Growth Management Committee in response to my motion.

Click here and here to read the reports.

While a significant amount of good work is now under way, the reports left significant room for improvement.

That’s why, following a full and vigorous debate, I championed a series of motions pushing city staff to do better.

My motions direct the Chief Planner to hold a roundtable with residents’ associations and other neighbourhood groups to gather feedback from those most directly impacted by and involved with the Committee of Adjustment.

I also attached hard second quarter deadlines to public notice improvements and asked senior city staff to research best practices in comparable jurisdictions outside of Ontario.

For the full text of the committee’s lengthy decision, click here.