A triangle of interests, pulling in different directions, shape what is built in Toronto. At one corner of the triangle are builders, at another are neighbours, and at the third is the city planning department.
So who finally decides what gets built in Toronto?
The short answer is: none of the above. Instead, a provincial government body called the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has the last word. It’s like a court, where tough cases end up.
A major OMB case can cost the battling parties at least a million dollars in expert consultations and legal fees. For developers an OMB case can be a cost of doing business, but unless neighborhood groups or individuals can get expert services donated, they can seldom afford to present a convincing case to the OMB. On the city’s side, the planning department is under-resourced and can hardly keep up (really!).
This exhibit tells the story of one recent contentious OMB case — the residential development of the West Queen West Triangle — and describes the development process generally, with some examples of how buildings are proposed and how they end up.