Council Update – January 30, 2018

The Council meeting this week was a long one, with a considerable amount of conversation on a couple of items. The good news is that Council approved the budget for the detailed drawings for Library Square to include the design of the new community building that will be attached to the Church Street School. It is great to see that Council is continuing to follow the process to move this important and significant project forward. The vote was 7-2 (Councillor Abel and Gaertner opposed)

Council also discussed my motion to look at creating a Local Appeals Body – this would be a local decision body that would hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions. I believe that as Aurora has been at the forefront of change when it comes to land use planning and the OMB, that we should continue to take that leadership role.

There was a comment at the table by a member that the municipality has had the ability to create this body since 2007. Not sure why that would be a reason to not proceed (and in fact, if true, would lead to a question as to why we haven’t created one previously) but in any event, that’s not entirely true. The ability for Municipalities to create a local appeals body was afforded to the City of Toronto under the City of Toronto Act and to single tier or upper tier governments. Aurora is not the City of Toronto, or a Single Tier municipality, so nope, Aurora has NOT had the ability to create a local appeals body – until now, under the recently changed legislation. Just thought I’d clear up that misinformation.

Council discussion on the motion focused on whether we should create our own or should we look at requesting the Region to consider creating a body that would represent the whole Region. When I originally considered this motion, I looked at this option but I ultimately thought that we as a municipality should look at creating our own and then speak to the other York Region municipalities and see if any would like to join us. After some debate, Councillor Thompson put forward an amendment to my motion to formally request the Region to look at creating a local appeal body, and for this motion to be circulated to all York Region municipalities for their comments and thoughts. While we wait for the Region to decide, staff will be ready to go with the creation of a terms of reference for a Town of Aurora local appeals body if the Region is not in favour of creating a Regional body.  This is what municipalities have asked for – more authority in making decisions on how we grow and how we plan our communities.. A local appeals body to hear appeals of committee of adjustment decisions, comprised of professionals that are from Aurora, and understand Aurora will better provide for decisions that are in the best interest of our community. #GettingThingsDone

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