“Someone left the cake out in the rain”

Hall monitor: seen and heard at Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting – “Someone left the cake out in the rain”

Jan 20, 2018

Toronto councillors made it known they had lost some love for proposed changes to the legal process that the city and private property owners use when hammering out disputes over developments big and small.

Brian Haley, one of the city’s legal staff, told the city’s Planning and Growth Management Committee that there has been a huge increase in appeals since May when a proposed bill was introduced to replace the Ontario Municipal Board process with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. That increase could result in more appeals going to the OMB instead of the new tribunal, which many Toronto councillors are not in favour of.

“Right now it’s probably about two and a half times the number of appeals that we would typically have experienced in the 2016 period,” Haley said. “So that’s a very significant increase. It was as a result of, presumably, developers and their solicitors being concerned about the impact of the legislation and the change to the new planning regime.”

Councillor Gord Perks confirmed complete appeals will remain under the old rules until the lieutenant governor says the new act is in effect.

In response, Councillors David Shiner and John Filion responded, lamenting that they won’t be able to, ahem, have their cake and eat it, too:

Shiner: The implementation of Bill 139 is like the icing on the cake that’s never going to get eaten and that’s going to be quite stale, I guess, before we actually get a chance to try it…

Filion: Just to continue with your cake analogy and to paraphrase a schmaltzy song from the sixties, I think someone left the cake out in the rain. You know each year you get a little bit more cynical, and each year you realize you’re not nearly cynical enough. If the province really thought that this legislation was important, why would they deliberately prop the door open so that we continue with the old system for years. It’s just so disappointing.

The song, MacArthur Park by Jimmy Webb, was called “among the most baffling hits in the history of pop music,” by Joe Queenan in The Guardian in 2007. Read the lyrics (which begin with “Spring was never waiting for us, girl,” and go on to, “Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don’t think that I can take it / Cause it took so long to bake it / And I’ll never have that recipe again / Oh, nooo!”) or listen on YouTube.