The Bermuda Triangle in West Queen West
Lots of developments in the WQW Triangle file the last two weeks. The most recent development is that the city is being given a grand opportunity to really, really stick it to the Ontario Municipal Board, which, astonishingly, it might just decline.
Let’s recap a couple weeks’ worth of intrigue:
– July 11: the city fails in its bid to have the OMB re-open the Triangle file, a victory for the three developers with condo proposals. The OMB’s original ruling stands. – Monday, July 16: the city and the developers appear in divisional court, where the city hopes to mount a legal challenge to the OMB ruling, which given past experience is highly unlikely to succeed. They ask the court to hold off for a few days while they try to negotiate a settlement. As it happens, Monday is also the start of a four-day meeting of city council. Since any settlement would need to be approved by a council vote, the idea is to try and take advantage of this short window of opportunity. The developers get busy negotiating with the planning department. – Tuesday, July 17: the city comes to agreements with two of the three developers. Active 18, the community group that’s been fighting the developments, says the city basically got no concessions out of the deals. – Wednesday, July 18: council approves the deals. – Thursday, July 19: they appear in court with the remaining developer, Landmark Developments Inc., with whom the city did not settle for reasons too obscure to detail on this blog (or at least in this post). – One week later, on Friday, July 27: The court hands down its ruling, and the city, to everyone’s surprise, wins! More specifically, they win what’s called “leave to appeal,” which means the court will hear their case. So it’s a partial victory, but an important one. The court’s ruling is full of strong language about the shortcomings of the OMB’s original decision.
Given this turn of events, it now looks like a tactical error to have settled with the other two developers. Oops. Anyway, now the question becomes: will the city move forward with the court case, or will it just use this ruling as a bargaining chip to arrive at a settlement with Landmark? The city could still lose its appeal, so there is an incentive to settle. But if the city were to win its appeal, it would be a political blow to the OMB and to Queen’s Park. At this point the Triangle is destined to end up a mess no matter what happens, so the city ought to go ahead and fight the good fight in court. Back in January when Mayor David Miller announced his intention to appeal the Triangle rulings he made a big show of how incensed and how determined he was. He should stick to his guns and fight what’s left of this fight to the end.