Concept  Proposals

Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board
- submitted by John Sankey 3 Jul 2006


The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) was established by the province to ride herd on Ontario municipalities. It was established on the assumption that municipalities are creatures of the province, narrow-minded little fiefdoms who have to be kept under a tight leash. This basic distrust of democratically-elected municipal governments has been carried far too far.

I well remember the decision of the OMB to demolish all sensible planning for the movement of truck traffic from Quebec to Ontario. About a billion dollars in Y2K money had been dedicated by the province of Quebec, the province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa, to provide for the movement of heavy traffic from Quebec to the then Queensway (now the 417).

The province of Quebec completed their infrastructure for the project (highways 50/5), the province of Ontario had built an interchange on the Queensway, improved the Inter-Provincial Bridge, and finalised plans to connect the bridge efficiently to King Edward. Only one leg was missing - a below-grade passage similar to Decarie Blvd in Montreal through Sandy Hill to connect King Edward to the interchange.

The OMB, based on NIMBY screams from a small group based largely in the University of Ottawa, blew it all sky high.

Ever since, the province of Quebec has nursed its = billion dollar grievance, leading to today's difficulties over light-rail communication between Gatineau and Ottawa among many other problems. Ever since, the City of Ottawa has been precluded from making any long-range plans to solve the problems of surface traffic in the area. Ever since, we have been forced to rely on intersection-by-intersection 'improvements' north and west of Sandy Hill, combined with a desperate denial that there is any long-term plan guiding them, to stave off disaster.

The end result has been the destruction of a vibrant community east of the Union Station, the elimination of access by the University of Ottawa to the Rideau Canal, total chaos on the ground between King Edward and the Rideau Center, and the waste of roughly a billion dollars in taxpayer's money.

There have been many other destructive decisions from the OMB that I have personally experienced here, among them the Leitrim Wetland and Carson's Woods. Make no mistake: if the OMB is permitted to decide about anything involving our Hunt Club community, such as the Southern Corridor, its decisions will be equally destructive to us.


Skip adjusting the mandate of the OMB. It was created in defiance of democracy. Its decisions remain in defiance of democracy. It should be abolished.

I stand by Winston Churchill: "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."