Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Conservatives Must Take Action Against Racist, Homophobic Candidates In Their Party

I think some serious questions need to be asked about Tanya Granic Allen, Doug Ford and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (see: "Doug Ford distances himself from former leadership rival Tanya Granic Allen over tweets on Muslims, gays," the Toronto Star, April 9, 2018).

The Globe and Mail reports that Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne said, "The Conservatives will have to decide … how they will go forward, but that kind of behaviour, that kind of language, that kind of attitude I believe has no place in our society.”  Ontario NDP leader reportedly indicated that "it was disappointing to see someone with views “that can be described as racist and homophobic” seeking public office." (see: "Ex-Ontario PC leadership hopeful Granic Allen under fire for online comments on Muslims," the Globe and Mail, April 10, 2018).
Dr. David Robinson, the Green Party of Ontario's nominated candidate for the Sudbury riding (the riding that Ford is visiting tonight for a pre-election rally), had this to say about the Ford/Granic Allen situation with the Conservative Party earlier today:
"Allen has compared women in burkas to “bank robbers” and “ninjas” and questioned gay marriage. Maybe Allen really is racist and homophobic, as the critics suggest. Maybe she is simply pandering to racist and homophobic fears. Maybe she is Mary Poppins in disguise. It doesn't matter. Ford gets to decide if her publicly expressed views are acceptable to his party.
"This matters.
"Ford is the leader of the party. Allen put him there. If she is elected, there is a chance that she will become the Deputy Leader of the Big Blue Machine. If Ford forms a government she will have a say in selecting cabinet ministers. She may well be the future of the right wing in Ontario. She my be the future leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario." (see: "STATEMENT TO THE MEDIA from Sudbury Green Party Candidate Dr. David Robinson on Doug Ford and Tanya Granic Allen," Dr. David Robinson, Facebook, April 11, 2018).
Knowing that Granic Allen held these hate-filled, racist and vile beliefs, would any other political party ever have allowed her to seek the nomination and become a candidate to represent their party on the ballot? There is no way that she would ever have made it through a political party's screening.
And yet the Conservatives did just that. She's seeking her Party's nomination in Mississauga-Centre - a must-win riding for the Conservatives, as it represents the sort of suburban area that the PC's have to breakthrough in if they're going to form government. You can bet that because of election calculus, the Conservatives will be backing the candidate in this riding to the hilt with all of the money they can spend.
Worse, though - the Conservatives actually let Granic Allen seek their Party's leadership. The Party brass actually had to get together and make a decision about this individual, knowing what kind of views she held. If you thought they made a mistake allowing Patrick Brown back into their leadership race after his resignation as Party leader - ask yourself if allowing known racist Granic Allen into the race wasn't an equally bad, or worse, decision.
Sorry, Doug Ford - you don't get a pass on this one. As Party leader, you're answerable to the public - and frankly to your Party - about the vile behaviour of your candidates and their public statements. If you continue to sluff this off, clearly you're not the leader that many think you are. Or are you giving Granic Allen a pass because you share her views?
(opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be interpreted as being consistent with the views and/or policies of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)



Council Made Its Decisions on the Kingsway Projects - What Happens Next?



Last night, Greater Sudbury Council approved four applications made by 1916596 Ontario Limited, to add three new land use permissions to an industrial subdivision on the Kingsway.  Two amendments (one to the Official Plan, the other to the City’s comprehensive zoning by-law) will permit a casino on part of the industrial lands.  Another amendment to the City’s zoning by-law will permit an arena/events centre on other lands.  And a third zoning amendment will permit a surface parking lot on yet additional lands.

Together, these decisions of Council are in keeping with the City’s stated desire to move forward with what has become known as Phase 1 of the Kingsway Entertainment District. 

What Happens Now? Appeals!

So, what will happen next?  Almost certainly, all of these decisions will be appealed over the next 25 or so days by members of the public who believe that Council’s decisions have violated the policies of the City’s Official Plan and ignored provincial policy.  The legislation sets out a 20 day appeal period for these kinds of filings, and Day 1 is counted from the date when the City issues notice of the decisions – which could be as soon as later this week.
Tom Davies Square, City of Greater Sudbury

Appeal letters will be filed with City, along with a fee paid by every appellant for each decision being appealed.  The fee for appealing each decision is $300 (the money goes to the Province, not the City) – and that may prove cost-prohibitive to some who are considering appealing (more on that later).  But it’s still almost a certainty that all decisions will be appealed.

When the 20-day appeal period runs out, the City will be responsible for compiling an “appeal record” that will go to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT - or "Tribunal").  The record will include all of the documents that were relied on in the lead up to Council’s decision.  Interestingly, this could mean that some documents that have never been made available to the public will form a part of the submission.  The submission will also include a copy of all public comments received before the decision was made – in unredacted form.

Preliminary Screening and LPAT Determination of Appeal Validity

And of course, the letters of appeal (and fees) will be forwarded by the City to the Tribunal as well.  When received by the Tribunal, the Tribunal will do a preliminary screening of the appeals.  This is to ensure that the appeals meet legislatively prescribed minimum criteria – specifically, the disclosure of land use planning reasons for the appeals.  It may be that some of the appeals filed with the City are found not to be valid by the LPAT (and there is an appeal process before the LPAT if the LPAT seeks to dismiss these appeals without a hearing), but quite likely most, if not all appeals will be accepted by the LPAT as valid – at least on the basis of the initial screening.

These processes, by the way, are so far quite similar to what would have happened with the Ontario Municipal Board appeal process.  Now, here’s where things start to get interesting – and an element of uncertainty is injected into the process.

Brave New World?

In some respects, we’ve just entered a brave new world for land use planning here in Ontario as of April 3rd.  The 100+ year old Ontario Municipal Board has been morphed into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.  There are numerous changes to the ways in which appeals will now be handled, but probably the most fundamental changes include a switch from a full “hearing de novo” process to a far more streamlined assessment related to provincial policy/plan regard/consistency/conformity and Official Plan conformity.

In the past, the OMB would convene a new hearing on a matter – despite a similar process having already been undertaken at the municipal level.  Now, the starting point will be a little different.  Council’s decisions are likely to carry much more weight, because the legislation deems that all decisions made by Council “have regard to matters of provincial interest”; be “consistent with provincial policy” and “conform with or not conflict with provincial plans” and “conform to Official Plans”.  By making the decisions last night, Council is telling the public and the LPAT that those decisions do all of those things.

Professional Planning Opinions

And there might be a little more to it.  Before making the decisions last night, Council (via earlier Planning Committee meetings) heard from its professional planning staff that the applications met all of those tests.  So, for these matters, not only is there a municipal Council decision that proclaims regard/consistency/conformity, but it appears to be a decision informed by advice from professional planners that say the same thing.

What’s not clear is how much weight the LPAT will assign to the recommendations and advice of professional planners at the outset of an appeal process at the time of the initial screening to determine appeal validity.  In the past, the OMB gave significant weight to the advice of professionals – but only during a hearing process, where cross examination of professional opinions by other parties and the Board itself could take place.  But now the LPAT will be using a largely paper-based process where cross-examination of experts and professionals can’t occur.

This might suggest that the LPAT could favour Council’s decision, while being a bit more dismissive of the position of the appellants.  But hold on for one moment, because here is where things get complicated – and I suspect our Council doesn’t even have an appreciation for this.

Agreeing With and Ignoring the Advice of Professional Planners

At last night’s meeting, we heard how Council made a decision that was in keeping with the advice of professional planners.  That is true.  However, it’s only half the story.  Council also made decisions last night that IGNORED the advice of professional planners.  You see, part of the submission to the City included several reports prepared by professional planners who indicated that approving the land use applications would not have regard to/be consistent/conform with the Planning Act/provincial policy/provincial plans/the Official Plan. 

So when this matter ends up in front of the LPAT via a paper process, the LPAT will have several different professional opinions about legislative and policy tests – but only one decision of Council.  No one is quite sure what the LPAT might do, initially – but it’s my suspicion that the advice/direction of professional planners could play a role in determining regard/consistency/conforming at this stage in  hearing process – but only where that evidence of professionals is uncontradicted.  And that’s not the case here.

(So note: if you’re reading this analysis and trying to apply it to a different planning appeal circumstance, my suggestion is this: hire a planner before a decision is made by Council, and get your planner’s comments on the public record.  Ditto for other experts if the dispute relates to technical matters like water quality or traffic).

Preliminary Screening Not a Big Deal for Appellants

I also should point out that we have a municipal Council member here in Greater Sudbury who seems to be under the impression that the LPAT is likely to take action at this point in the process and determine that appeals filed by appellants will be dismissed over their lack of land use planning grounds.  His argument is that since Council made the decision to approve the applications based on professional planning advice, the LPAT will determine here at this stage of the process that Council's decision had regard to the Planning Act, was consistent with provincial policy, conformed with and did not conflict with the Northern Growth Plan, and conformed with the Official Plan.  Sorry - that's not likely to happen here.  As I indicated earlier, this part of the process is quite preliminary - the LPAT will be screening appeals on the basis of minimum submission requirements ("did the appellants disclose planning grounds for the appeal?  did those planning grounds indicate the decision of Council didn't have regard to the Planning Act, was not consistent with provincial policy, conflicted with the Northern Growth Plan and did not conform to the official plan?  did they pay the prescribed fee?").  And if the LPAT determines that the appeal submission didn't quite live up to the minimum requirements, it will....likely ask the appellants for additional information rather than dismiss the appeal out of hand (if it asks for and does not receive the additional information it needs to conclude that the appeal met minimum requirements, it will only then likely proceed to dismiss the appeals at this stage).

So for those who are being led down the garden path that this all might be resolved by June, you can forget about it.  Clearing this stage of the process will not prove to be a hurdle for knowledgeable appellants.

Rule 26 - Mandatory Case Management Conference

Back to our process for a moment now.  After the LPAT makes an initial determination regarding the validity of appeals (whether minimum criteria are met), the LPAT will schedule a Mandatory Case Management Conference (CMC).  That’s new.  We’re now entering into territory that I’m sure will become known in the Ontario Planning World as “Rule 26” – which is presently terra incognita.  Rule 26 is the section of the LPAT’s Rules of Practice and Procedure that will guide this new, preliminary appeal process.

The “LocalPlanning Appeal Tribunal: Appeal Guide A” describes a CMC as a, “mandatory hearing event that provides LPAT with the opportunity to identify parties and participant requests, identify or narrow the issues, identify facts that may be agreed upon, and provide directions for disclosure of information. LPAT will also address parties to discuss opportunities for settlement, including the possible use of mediation or other dispute resolution processes.

New Restrictions on Parties and Participants?

That sounds something like the OMB’s “Pre-Hearing Conference” process – although there appear to be some added restrictions on who can participate in the new Tribunal process.  Parties may be added and participants identified by the LPAT at a CMC, but there is a new requirement that those wanting to participate or be added as a Party (for Official Plan and zoning amendment matters) first petition the LPAT at least 30 days before the CMC takes place.  You have to file a submission in writing and identify specifically whether the decision of Council was inconsistent with provincial policy, does not conform with or conflicts with a provincial plan, or fails to conform with an Official Plan.  And that’s different.

In the past, via the OMB, participants in particular were given a little more leeway to make submissions – often a participant might agree with an overall development proposal, but have some concerns about how to make it a little better.  The OMB rarely excluded participants from a hearing.
But now to participate in an Official Plan or zoning amendment matter, it looks like you have to believe that the decision of Council failed to meet the regard/conformity/consistency tests of the legislation/policy.  That might not be a big deal for potential participants in these Greater Sudbury matters who oppose Council’s decision, but it seems that it will completely restrict members of the public who agree with Council’s decision from playing any role in the LPAT’s process.  Further, those who want to play a role in this process in order to make a decision just a little bit better, rather than offer outright opposition, will also find that the opportunity to do so has come and gone (if they couldn’t convince Council in the first place, they won’t be able to convince the LPAT).

Surely I am reading this wrong, right?  Well, that’s where some of the process uncertainty starts to creep in.  We’re in a different world now – a streamlined world that doesn’t start from the beginning again.  It could very well be that the big thinkers behind this LPAT process have thought clearly about this, and the restrictions on supporters of a Council decision in front of the LPAT might be redundant in this environment, along with hearing from concerned citizens.  With this in mind, coupled with the new submission requirements which clearly emphasize that to become a party or a participant, you must believe the decision failed the legislative and policy tests, it seems to me the process wonks really only have thought this through.

An interesting side-bar here, having to deal with appeal filing fees.  $300 a pop might be a little steep for some members of the public who are thinking of filing appeals.  I know that’s steep for me – I’m just some guy who doesn’t like Council’s decisions and who believes that they don’t meet the legislative/policy tests that they are required to meet.  But I don’t exactly have a spare $1,200 hanging around to appeal all of these decisions.  But since I expect all of them to be appealed, someone in my position could simply wait until the matter is handed over to the LPAT, and then make a written submission to be added as a Party to the matters 30 days for the CMC.  Sure, there’s no guarantee that someone would be added as a Party, but there is a good chance that you would be.  If you follow this route, you could potentially save yourself some money, for the moderate risk of not being added by the Tribunal as a Party.  Just sayin’.

Timing of the CMC

75 days notice.  That’s what parties get regarding the timing of the CMC.  Let’s start a bit of a timeline now for the Greater Sudbury matters.  The decisions were made last night.  Let’s assume that notice is issued today or tomorrow (and that’s pretty quick), meaning that the last date for an appeal would be May 1-ish. Give 15 days to the City to transmit the appeal record to the Tribunal, and call it 10 more days for the Tribunal to make the initial determination that the appeals meet minimum requirements.  That takes us up to May 25th.  Assume that there is no back-and-forthing on the validity of the appeals to delay matters further.  With 75 days of notice for a CMC, the earliest a CMC could be held on these matters would be around August 7th – after the Civic Holiday.

But there’s still stuff going on.  Although the Province has sold this new process as being one that’s intended to be more open to private citizens, I’m not so sure that’s actually going to be the case.  Here’s something new: in the lead-up to the CMC, appellants have to file an Appeal Record and Case Synopsis (two different things) with the Tribunal.  The Appeal Record is intended to be a document book that an appellant will rely on in support of their submission to the Tribunal. It will include copies of all relevant sections of the legislation, provincial policy, official plans and growth plans, along with any other written document (like the City’s staff reports) which might be referred to by an appellant in their submissions.

Certificates of Service must also be filed, confirming that the process was followed.

My take is that this process might be good for the LPAT, but it will prove overly bureaucratic for every-day appellants.  Anyway, it is what it is – and it’s going to mean that some people are going to be hanging out at Staples a lot over the summer.  Well, at least Staples is air-conditioned.

Anyway, keep in mind that we’re still just at the preliminary stage here.  At the CMC, a Tribunal Member will decide on who gets to participate in a future hearing.  There will be no actual oral evidence given at the CMC – although the Member may ask for additional information arising from the Member’s review of the written records already submitted.  The Member may also determine whether mediation of a matter will be appropriate.

Mediation

Given the relatively entrenched positions of (expected) appellants and the City, mediation doesn’t appear to make a whole lot of sense – on the surface.  However, I expect that there will be a mediation process entered into for these matters, as one of the goals of mediation is to scope the issues that the Parties are disputing.  The one thing about the Greater Sudbury matters that stands out for me is the sheer number of issues that have been raised by Kingsway opponents.  From my perspective, I don’t think all of the issues are relevant.  And it may be that while an issue seems to be an important one – take the road salt matter, for instance – it may be that a lack of expert analysis around this matter on the part of the Kingsway opponents might lead to this matter ultimately being scratched by the Parties themselves.  And yes, that’s my not-so-subtle way of suggesting that, going forward, if you want to dispute a land use application on technical grounds, hire your technical experts BEFORE Council makes a decision.  Since the anti-Salt people haven’t made an expert submission to support their thesis that road salt in the watershed is an actual issue, I would think that a mediation session will lead to salt being dropped by parties.  And hey, I expressed concerns about road salt too – and I continue to think it’s an issue, but I’m not willing to put my money where my mouth is.  And if you want to fight City Hall in this new world, that’s what you’ve got to do, the Precautionary Principle be damned.

Back to our timeline.  Figure the LPAT acts quickly to schedule a mediation session after the CMC.  So now we’re into the last week of August – nah, everyone’s at camp that week, so let’s go into the week after Labour Day.  We’re up to September 4th now.  What comes next?

Rule 27 Hearing

We’re leaving Rule 26 territory, and now we’re into processes guided largely by Rule 27 – where the Tribunal determines whether to send a matter back to Council  for further consideration – or whether it’s more appropriate to dispose of the appeals.  So this is the big one for appellants.  It’s at this hearing event that each of the parties is given just 75 minutes to make their cases that the decisions of Council either have regard to/are consistent with/conform to the legislative and policy tests, or don’t.
What I haven’t been quite able to figure out here is how much time we can expect to elapse between the CMC and this first Rule 27 hearing.  I think 60-ish days makes sense, but it may be more time would be appropriate where mediation occurs.  For the purpose of this blog, let’s stick to 60 days – and that would put the Rule 27 hearing in the first week of November, say on November 5th.  That means the matter will be going for a hearing after the October 22, 2018 municipal election – not that the election is going to have any bearing on the Rule 27 hearing event.

But, it might have some bearing on what comes next.

Dismiss Appeals or Return the Matters to Council?

At the Rule 27 hearing, after listening to all parties make their cases, the Tribunal Member will do one of three things:
  • S/he will dismiss the appeals if the appellants fail to convince the Member that Council’s decisions did have regard to Section 2 of the Planning act, were consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, did conform or not conflict with the Northern Growth Plan, and did conform to the City’s Official Plan.
  • If the Member determines that Council’s decisions did not have regard to Section 2 of the Planning Act, were not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, did not conform with or did conflict with the Northern Growth Plan, and did not conform to the Official Plan, the Member will refer the matter(s) back to Greater Sudbury Council, without any recommendations
  • or with recommendations on how to better achieve regard/consistency/conformity.

With regards to those recommendations, going forward I think those are going to be telling.  If the Tribunal Member believes that regard/consistency/conformity can be salvaged, expect to see recommendations.  But there may be times that the Tribunal Member is convinced that there’s just no way for applications to meet the tests – in those circumstances, expect to see no recommendations at all.

Timing of decisions?  Give the LPAT Member 30 more days to consider and write the Order.  That takes us up to December 4th.

Outcomes of the Rule 27 Hearing

Note that it is possible that the LPAT might return some of the applications to Council, while dismissing the appeals related to the others.  For example, the appeal to the OPA for the casino might be dismissed, but for technical reasons, the LPAT might return the zoning by-law with recommendations (like, “it’s not a ‘place of amusement’, guys – get your act together and call it a casino in the by-law!”), while returning the arena and parking lot zoning amendments without any recommendations. It could happen.

In the first outcome, above – where the appeals are dismissed – that’s pretty much the end of the matter.  Council’s decision is vindicated and things get rolling.  With zoning in place, the draft plan of subdivision which the City believes is still before it could proceed towards registration (unless it’s sidetracked by another process, as there are some in this City who believe that the subdivision approval lapsed in October, 2016 – and when I say “some” I mostly mean “me”).  The subdivision registration is critical for Zulich and the City, as the lot that the City wants to obtain for the arena doesn’t actually exist yet – it will only come into being when the subdivision is registered.  And Gateway can only acquire property from Zulich for the casino after the subdivision is registered.
After the subdivision is registered and Site Plan approved, building permits can be issued, and if building commences in the spring of 2019, that means that it appears quite possible, if not probable that Council’s timeline to have the Wolves in a new arena by September, 2020 could still be maintained.  It’ll be pretty tight – better for the City’s timeline if there are no appeals.  But that’s not going to happen.

(one other matter should be noted here: at least municipal Council member has indicated that he will press Council to ask for costs against appellants if they are unsuccessful at making their case in front of the Tribunal.  Motions for costs can always be brought against any party, but it is somewhat unusual for motions to be brought against good faith appellants by a municipality.  In this case, even if Council does opt to pursue costs, based on what's happened with cost motions in the past at the OMB, I just can't see a motion for costs being successful against appellants - but it may be that the new Tribunal will take a different view.  But I don't think so)

Matters Returned to Council for Second Chance

In the event that some or all of the matters are returned to Council by the LPAT, here’s where things might get a little interesting, because the Council to which the matters will return will *not* be the same one from which they originated, due to the election.  We know at least one member of Council has said that they’re not going to run again, so at the very least, there will be one new face on Council, with a new opinion.  I expect that there will be several others. 

With the matters returning to Council, new decisions by Council will be required.  Council gets a second chance here, and could potentially redeem itself by making decisions in keeping with provincial policy and its Official Plan.  That may mean saying “No” to the applications. 

Council has 90 days to make a new decision.  That takes us into early March, 2019.  Add 20 days for the appeal period, and we’re at the end of March.  Add 15 days for the City to transfer the Record to the LPAT, and we’re in the middle of April, 2019.

But no matter what the new Council says, you can expect that the new decisions will be appealed back to the LPAT – either by the original appellants, or, if Council now refuses the applications, by the applicant and/or Gateway casinos.

The Second Appeals

On this Second appeal, the LPAT has greater latitude with what it can do.  It can either approve one or all of the applications, modify and approve them, or deny the application(s) or do some combination of all of these things.  These second appeals will follow a more traditional hearing process, which consists of Pre-hearing conferences and oral hearings (although the Rules ofPractice and Procedure do express a preference for paper-based hearings, the Rules also indicate that oral hearings may still be the norm in a number of circumstances, including where complexity is an issue.  For the matters here in Greater Sudbury, it’s fair to suggest that there is a high level of complexity in play).

60 days of Notice is required for the first hearing event of the Second hearing process.   For those keeping track, that likely brings us up to the middle of June, 2019.  And since the first hearing event is likely to be a pre-hearing conference, the actual hearing likely will not get underway until the fall of 2019, with a decision/order issuing in December, 2019.  If this happens, there is almost zero chance that the Wolves will be playing their 2020 home opener at a new arena on the Kingsway.
So that’s the process –or as near to it as I can gather from reading about it.  And since no one has yet participated in it, that’s the best that I can do.

The Likelihood of Outcomes - My Opinion

Now we come to the opinion piece.  What do I realistically think is going to happen?  Let me answer those questions at each of the milestone points in the process – where a decision/outcome can be expected.  I’ll stick to the 3 proposed land uses: casino, arena and parking lot.

Decisions related to all 3 proposed uses are going to be appealed to the LPAT.  Most of those appeals – and specifically the ones filed on behalf of Casino Free Sudbury and the Downtown BIA will be screened by the LPAT and found to meet the minimum requirements for appeals.  That means that a CMC will be scheduled for all matters.

At the CMC, it is likely that additional parties and some participants may be added – but that’s a bit of a wild card, as the LPAT might consider that these requests are too similar to the appeals already having been made by the other parties.  I’m interested to see how things might play out during this stage – but either way, the CMC will be held and things will go forward.

I expect that there will be a mediation session prior to the Rule 27 Hearing.

The Rule 27 hearing is the big one for the appellants.  While I believe that the decisions of Council made last night do not have regard to the Planning Act, are not consistent with provincial policy, do not conform to and do conflict with the Northern Growth Plan, and do not conform to the City’s Official Plan, I think those cases will be easier made by the appellants with regards to the arena and the parking lot.  The casino is going to be a difficult matter, because there is so little in the legislation and policy that speaks to this sort of land use – there’s hardly anything to guide decision-makers.

With that in mind, I expect that the Tribunal will return the arena and parking lot zoning amendments to Council, without recommendations.  They may also return the Casino OPA to Council with the recommendation that an analysis on public health and safety be carried out first, prior to a further decision.  They may also return the zoning amendment for the casino to Council with the recommendation that a different zoning category than “place of amusement” be applied for.
Given how much our current Council is invested in the Kingsway Entertainment District, I would expect all of the matters returned to Council to also be approved again by Council, and appealed again to the LPAT.  After a lengthy hearing process, I expect that the casino will be approved by the LPAT, but the arena and parking lot will not be.

Deciding Issues

With regards to the issues that will decide these matters, I don’t have much hope that road salt and ground water recharge will have any bearing on the outcomes, even though those issues are near and dear to my heart.  Traffic issues, too, will not be determinative, as the only traffic study undertaken at this time supports the applications. 

I do believe the lack of an economic analysis is going to ultimately hurt the City’s chance for success for the arena application, but even without the urbanMetrics Report, arena appellants will still have a strong position at the LPAT.  What’s clear to me from reading the City’s Staff Report in support of the arena application is that City Staff failed to consider significant policies in the Official Plan with regards to the downtown.  Further, important parts of the provincial policy statement received little or no discussion, including those parts that suggest that public facilities like this arena ought to be located in central hubs located in parts of the City that are livable.  Further, the climate change considerations in the PPS were also largely ignored by Staff in their analysis.  And finally, Staff is relying on a questionable interpretation regarding institutional land use permissions being allowed “throughout the City” to demonstrate conformity with the Official Plan.  For these reasons, I expect arena appellants to ultimately succeed in thwarting these proposals that are, in my opinion, contrary to the long-established city building vision that we’ve prescribed to here in Greater Sudbury through our many and varied land use and economic development guidance documents.  Throw in the urbanMetrics Report that indicates about 200,000 discrete trips to the downtown will be lost in preference to the Kingsway should the arena locate out of the downtown – well, I just don’t get how Staff could have ignored that finding while claiming the health of the downtown won’t be impacted.

 (opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be interpreted as being consistent with the views and/or policies of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Casino is No 'Place of Amusement'


My letter to Council.

Re: Application to Amend the City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law 2010- 100Z
City of Greater Sudbury File Nos. 751-6/17-24 and 751-6/17-19


1916596 Ontario Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the “applicant” or the “land owner”) has applied to amend the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan and Comprehensive Zoning By-law 2010-100Z for lands described as being Part of Lot 9, Concession 4, Part of Parts 10 & 11, and Parts 12 and 13 of Plan 53R-19391 in the geographic township of Neelon. Together, these applications intend to permit a casino by adding a site-specific “place of amusement” land use permission to the Plan and by-law.


Presently, the lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law are designated "General Industrial" in the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan.  The General Industrial designation permits a range of industrial land uses and complimentary and ancillary uses as of right, and allows for heavy industrial activities subject to an amendment to the zoning by-law.


The lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law amendment are presently zoned "M1-1" in the City of Greater Sudbury's comprehensive zoning by-law #2010-100Z, as amended by a site-specific by-law in 2014. Presently, the zoning permissions on the subject lands include a range of industrial uses, and some commercial uses including office uses, bulk retail, warehouse uses and a commercial recreation centre and hotel.


The Subdivision


The lands subject to the proposed Official Plan and zoning by-law amendment and other lands in the area under the control of the land owner were previously subject to a draft approved plan of subdivision, which received draft approval subject to conditions by the City of Greater Sudbury in 2010. The application for a plan of subdivision sought to create 33 blocks (12 blocks for light industrial service commercial use; 10 lots for industrial use; and 11 for heavy industrial uses. Two blocks were also provided for stormwater management purposes) in accordance with the City’s Official Plan.


That draft plan of subdivision appears to have lapsed in October, 2016 – although the City of Greater Sudbury continues to treat the draft plan as if it had not lapsed. Determination as to the actual status of the draft plan of subdivision may need to take place at some point – however, comments and analysis provided here will be done so based on the City’s understand that the draft approved plan of subdivision remains active.


The Proposed Official Plan Amendment


A casino is not presently identified as a permitted land use in the City's Official Plan. The Plan provides no guidance or direction to decision-makers with regards to how and where this sort of land use should be developed. The City's staff report in support of this applications treats a casino as a type of commercial land use, and as such, considers it a an employment activity appropriate for a mixed-use industrial/commercial area.

Non-Commercial Land Use


A casino is not a commercial land use. Commercial land uses are normally considered to be transactionary in nature – where goods or serviced are exchanged with the public for remuneration. The City of Greater Sudbury's zoning by-law is helfpul in understanding what commercial uses are, describing them as (with regards to a building, structure, lot, use or activity) as, “pertaining to the buying, selling or renting of commodities or the supplying of services for remuneration, gain or profit, but does not include activities primarily associated with industrial use (processing or manufacturing) or with any construction work.

The proposed casino will offer no services to the public. Instead, it is a government-run monopoly whose primary function will be to enrich government coffers via legalized gambling. The government of Ontario controls contracts, and this casino will not be in competition with other casinos – indeed, the government of Ontario has ensured a lack of geographic competition between casino facilities via agreements with casino operators which “bundle” casino operations in geographic areas together.


As the use is not commercial in nature, the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan should provide a policy environment that is appropriate for the development of a casino gaming facility in the City. At present, the Plan does not provide such an environment. Given that the Plan is now proposed to be amended by the application, the appropriate time to formulate a policies to guide the development of a casino would be through this amendment process – however, the applicant is not proposing any new policies to be added to the Official Plan.


Removal of Land from Employment Area – Requires a Comprehensive Review


Further, as the use is not commercial in nature, it is presently inappropriate to consider the use as an employment activity appropriate for an employment area. As per the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) lands should only be removed from designated employment areas after a comprehensive review has assessed their need over the long term. There has been no comprehensive review conducted by the City of Greater Sudbury to determine whether the subject lands continue to be needed to meet the City's long-term employment needs, and as such, this application for a casino use is premature.


Public Health and Safety


The Provincial Policy Statement (2014) indicates in Section 1.1.1 c) that healthy, livable and safe communities are sustained by avoiding development and land use patters which may cause environmental or public health and safety concerns. Section 1.1.3.4 of the PPS indicates that appropriate development standards should be promoted which facilitate intensification, redevelopment and compact form, while avoiding or mitigating risks to public health and safety.


Locating in a casino on the subject lands sites a potential health risk adjacent to a proposed public facility (in the form of a community arena) and in proximity to existing residential land uses. Further, through the integrated site plan process, Council appears intent on making the casino more accessible to citizens via enhanced public transit and the provision of additional parking facilities beyond the requirements of the zoning by-law, compounding potential health and safety impacts.


At this time, the City of Greater Sudbury has not assessed the potential health and safety impacts that a casino would be expected to have on the public. As such, it is premature for the City to approve these applications.


The public health and safety issues with a casino gaming facility have been brought to the attention of Council time and again through various processes, including the public process underway to evaluate these development applications. This issue can't be ignored if consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement is to be demonstrated – unless Council refuses these applications.


The Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment


The proposed zoning by-law amendment applied for by the applicant seeks to add a “place of amusement” as a permitted use to the subject lands. This site-specific addition to the by-law will not facilitate a casino in this location.


The City's zoning by-law defines a “place of amusement” as, “a commercial establishment where indoor facilities are provided for participatory entertainment and amusement activities, or where exhibits are displayed for gain or profit, and includes, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a bowling alley, pool hall, billiards parlour, arcade or game establishment, pinball arcade or wax museum.” A “casino” is not listed in the by-law as an example of a place of amusement.


The zoning by-law is clear: the use must be commercial in nature – which means that it will provide a good or service with the requirement of remuneration. As discussed above, a casino is not a commercial land use, as it does not provide goods or services, and does not reap or lose profit as commercial enterprises do. It is a government-sanctioned monopoly that does not compete with other, similar uses for the purpose of profit.
Further, it is quite clear that the zoning by-law contemplates much smaller-scale uses than a casino in the “place of amusment” category. The uses listed are all commercial in nature, and although may be physically somewhat large, they are the sorts of uses that one might expect to find in town and regional centres, and along mainstreets. And that's largely where “places of amusement” are presently permitted in the by-law.


Indeed, the by-law even includes restrictions for some types of places of amusement – notably, lands zoned C2 in the by-law permit a “place of amusement” but offer further restrictions to “pinball arcades”, indicating that a pinball arcade containing more than 20 game machines shall locate within 300 metres of a public school. This restriction on “pinball arcades” of a certain size is very suggestive that the “place of amusement” zoning category is one that contemplates a type of use which is a poor fit for a casino.


If a casino is not a “place of amusement”, what, then, is the appropriate zoning category for a casino? As with the City's Official Plan, a “casino” is not defined in the City's zoning by-law. As such, it is clear that the use is not presently contemplated in any zoning category. A site-specific zoning category would need to be established in order to permit a casino use anywhere in the City via a zoning by-law amendment. The application in front of Council filed by the applicant would have been the appropriate time to address the specific regulatory needs of a casino, however the amendment seeks simply to add a “place of amusement” to the by-law for the subject lands.


Although not specifically defined in the City's zoning by-law, there is an existing land use permission on one piece of property in the City where a casino appears to be identified as a permitted use. The lands on which the Slots at Sudbury Downs are located are zoned “Open Space Recreational 2” in the City's by-law, which permits “wagering facilities” and a “gambling casino”. It does not permit commercial land uses, or a “place of amusement”. Instead, the by-law here is very clear with regards to the use in question – a “wagering facility” and “gambling casino” are uses and activities that are quite different from a “place of amusement”.


While the language in the by-law for the OSR2 lands may be left over from the former Comprehensive Zoning By-law for the Town of Rayside Balfour, it must be noted that the City of Greater Sudbury did away with that by-law in 2010 when it adopted a Comprehensive By-law for the City in its entirety. The City could have addressed the matter over the appropriate zoning for the Slots facility in 2010 if it believed that a casino would more appropriately be zoned as a “place of amusement”, but it did not change the land use permission for the Slots at Sudbury Downs.


Based on the above, I submit that the applicant, if applying for a permission for a casino, has erred in the submission of a zoning amendment to permit a “place of amusement” on the subject lands. A casino is not a commercial land use, and it is not a permitted use on lands where a “place of amusement” is permitted. Given that the City of Greater Sudbury's comprehensive zoning by-law only permits a “casino” on lands currently occupied by Sudbury Downs, the City should rely on that zoning permission in the by-law to determine what an appropriate zoning category for a casino.


And since a casino is not presently permitted in the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan, the City should develop policy for casinos through the Official Plan that can help guide decision-makers when it comes to determining whether a casino is an appropriate land use in our City, and if so, where it should be located so as to minimize health and safety concerns as per the Provincial Policy Statement.


Analysis


The proposed Official Plan and zoning by-law amendments do not have regards to matters of Provincial Interest as identified in Section 2 of the Planning Act (and specifically those matters related to public health and safety), are not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) and do not conform to the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan, which currently does not contemplate this type of land use without the comprehensive addition of guiding policy.


Further, the proposed “place of amusement” land use permission for the subject lands is inappropriate, as it will not facility a casino on the site.


For all of the above reasons, Council should refuse the proposed zoning amendment.


Please provide me with Notice of Council’s decision with regards to this matter.

(opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be interpreted as being consistent with the views and/or policies of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)



Monday, March 26, 2018

Greater Sudbury Councillors Dismisses Public Participation in Land Use Process - Equates Public Participants with Saboteurs

This is getting out of hand. Here we have an elected official - someone who actually gets to vote on the official plan amendment and rezoning applications to permit a new casino and arena on the Kingsway - insist that the existing Sudbury Community Arena has had NO IMPACT on the City's downtown.
And the thing is, there isn't much in the way of evidence to contradict what the Councillor says - except for the urbanMetrics report that was released recently that states that the present arena is responsible for generating about 200,000 trips to the core annually. While it defies belief to think that not one of those trips to the arena has generated any economic spin-offs for the downtown (including, presumably, paying for parking at private and municipal lots), the Councillor has dismissed this report out of hand and is actually attacking its author. Rowan Faludi, who is an expert in downtown development and revitalization.

Had the City of Greater Sudbury undertaken its own economic analysis - as required by Section 19 of the Official Plan - before Council approved the location of the arena and entered into a business relationship with Gateway Casinos for the purpose of co-developing the site, we might have a better understanding of what the actual economic impacts of the existing Sudbury Community Arena are, and what economic impacts can be expected by removing this public facility from the downtown in favour of relocating it to an industrial area.
And finally, taking issue with who is paying Mr. Faludi for his professional services, while mentioning nothing of Dillon Consulting and the City's own planning department, despite the existing business relationship the City has with Gateway and landowner Dario Zulich - well, that's completely bizarre. The City has an expressed interest in approving these applications, because it will acquire property at below-market value. And we have Councillors running around insisting that the decision regarding the location of these facilities "has already been made" and those who are now opposing those land use applications are doing so only to sabotage those already-made decisions.

Nothing is further from the truth, of course. The decisions haven't been made - but they are about to be made: by a Council who is clearly biased due to the process they themselves created that left the public out of the loop until the last minute, while betraying the City's promise to the public, made via our Official Plan. Yes, I get that Council selected the Kingsway site for the arena back in June, 2017 - but they did so without first obtaining necessary land use approvals. And they've been completely silent on the location of a casino up until now. These land use planning decisions, however, are the ones that matter. If the zoning amendments are ultimately refused, there will be no casino or arena on the Kingsway. This decision process - which is finally one where the public has an opportunity to participate in - is the one that matters.
Of course, this member of Council also believes that the only reason people are using their "democratic right" to participate in a statutorily required public process is to "sabotage" the City's decision. That's a truly bizarre lens that an elected official has with regards to public participation and engagement. The fact that he thinks the decision to locate the arena and casino on the Kingsway site HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE speaks a lot about just how important this public process is.
What kind of City are we living in where experts are ignored and belittled by Councillors and where citizens are threatened and bullied by elected officials? This is shameful and it shouldn't be happening in our community or anywhere else.

(opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be interpreted as being consistent with the views and/or policies of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Comments to the City of Greater Sudbury re: Zoning Amendment to Permit an Arena/Events Centre on the Kingsway

To my regular readers: please forgive me this indiscretion.

I have provided my comments to the City of Greater Sudbury on application 751-6/17-27 - an application filed by 1916596 Ontario Ltd. to amend the City of Greater Sudbury's zoning by-law in order to permit an arena/events centre on industrial lands on the Kingsway.

I am posting my comments in their entirety to my blog, as I think they may be of use to other people in my community who are preparing to speak out about this application.

I am posting here tonight a version of my comments which are not formatted for this blog.  I hope to "tidy things up" over the next few days - but I believe that it's more important to get this text out into the public realm than it is to worry about how nice it might look.

Please forgive me for the length of this post as well.   But frankly, there's a whole lot wrong with the application, so....here we go.



March 15, 2018

Re:       Application to Amend the City of Greater Sudbury’s Zoning By-law 2010-100Z
            City of Greater Sudbury File No. 751-6/17-27


1916596 Ontario Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the “applicant” or the “land owner”) has applied to amend the City of Greater Sudbury's Comprehensive Zoning By-law 2010-100Z for lands described as being Part of Lot 9, Concession 4, Part of Parts 10 & 11, and Parts 12 and 13 of Plan 53R-19391 in the geographic township of Neelon.  The application intends to amend the zoning by-law by adding a new site-specific use, “recreation and community centre” in order to permit the establishment of an arena/events centre.  The amendment also proposes to include site-specific height requirements for structures, and no minimum requirement for the interior side-yard setback.

Presently, the lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law are designated "General Industrial" in the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan.  The General Industrial designation permits a range of industrial land uses and complimentary and ancillary uses as of right, and allows for heavy industrial activities subject to an amendment to the zoning by-law.

The lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law amendment are presently zoned "M1-1" in the City of Greater Sudbury's comprehensive zoning by-law #2010-100Z, as amended by a site-specific by-law in 2014. Presently, the zoning permissions on the subject lands include a range of industrial uses, and some commercial uses including office uses, bulk retail, warehouse uses and a commercial recreation centre and hotel.

The lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law amendment and other lands in the area under the control of the land owner were previously subject to a draft approved plan of subdivision, which received draft approval subject to conditions by the City of Greater Sudbury in 2010.  The application for a plan of subdivision sought to create 33 blocks (12 blocks for light industrial service commercial use; 10 lots for industrial use; and 11 for heavy industrial uses. Two blocks were also provided for stormwater management purposes) in accordance with the City’s Official Plan.

That draft plan of subdivision appears to have lapsed in October, 2016 – although the City of Greater Sudbury continues to treat the draft plan as if it had not lapsed. Determination as to the actual status of the draft plan of subdivision may need to take place at some point – however, comments and analysis provided here will be done so based on the City’s understand that the draft approved plan of subdivision remains active

The applicant is seeking to add a “recreation and community centre” land use permission to the existing zoning for the subject lands, to facilitate the construction of an Arena.  Recreation and community centre is described in the City's comprehensive zoning by-law 2010-100Z as, “A building or structure, or part thereof, owned or operated by a private club, a non-profit or charitable institution or a public agency including a facility developed or operated as a public-private partnership, where facilities are provided primarily for athletic or recreational activities or events, and includes without limiting the generality of the foregoing, an arena and a public pool.

Further, the By-law defines “Arena” as, “A building housing ice making equipment and infrastructure capable of enclosing an artificial ice surface intended for year round recreational use and may include uses such as special events and competitions, circuses, concerts, conventions, weddings/banquets/anniversaries, auctions, restaurants, flea markets and trade shows or exhibits with a retail component.

In a letter to the Manager of Development Approvals, City of Greater Sudbury, from the applicant's agent, Karl Tanner, MCIP RPP, dated December 5, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as the “Tanner December 5/17 letter”) it is noted that the City of Greater Sudury has completed a Market Analysis and Business Case for the creation of a new 5,800 seat arena/events centre.  This reference appears to be the two reports prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) – the “Proposed Sports and Entertainment Centre – Feasibility and Business Case Assessment” (February 21, 2017) and the “City of Greater Sudbury Event Centre Site Evaluation” (June 2017).

On June 27, 2017, Council for the City of Greater Sudbury selected the lands subject to this proposed amendment as the preferred location for a new arena/events centre, which is intended to replace the existing Sudbury Community Arena, located at 240 Elgin Street.  Through Council's selection of the applicant’s property for a new arena/events centre, the land owner was invited to make this application to amend the City's zoning by-law.

The analysis contained in this letter will demonstrate that the application to amend the City's zoning by-law to permit a “recreation and community centre” on the subject lands does not have regard to Section 2 of the Planning Act, is not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, is not consistent and does conflict with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, does not conform to the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan, is not in keeping with the development direction of the City as expressed through public consultation that informed and led to the acceptance by the City of the Downtown Master Plan and “From the Ground Up”, the City's economic development plan, and it does not represent good planning.

The Application in Context of the City’s Planning and Development Framework as it Pertains to an Arena/Event Centre

The City of Greater Sudbury has long recognized the importance of a centralized major multi-use community centre.  Presently, that centre is the Sudbury Community Arena, which serves City residents as a venue for accessing local sports and entertainment; as a recreation centre; as a centre thtat hosts cultural and civic activities, such as the July 1st multicultural celebration and the annual November 11th Remembrance Day commemoration; as a centre for trade-shows and conventions; as a centre for evacuation in times of crisis; and as a general meeting facility.

In 2005, the City of Greater Sudbury adopted its Official Plan, which acknowledged the importance of community facilities generally, and the Sudbury Community Arena specifically, as uses which would help attract and retain needed residential development in the City's downtown. 

Since the adoption of the City's Official Plan, there has been a growing acknowledgement of the need for a new community events facility to replace the existing Sudbury Community Arena.  The City initiated studies to assess the viability and costs of repairing the existing facility, which was built in 1951.

In 2010, the City of Greater Sudbury initiated the Downtown Master Plan – a 3 year long planning process involving hundreds of local business, academic, and civic stakeholders, including downtown residents and those who shop, recreate and work in the City's downtown core.  This planning initiative led to the Downtown Master Plan, received by Council in February, 2013.  The Downtown Master Plan acknowledged the importance of public recreation facilities such as the Community Arena in the downtown, and identified a potential location for a new multi-use facility that would work together with other new facilities, such as a convention centre and commercial hotels, to create better circumstances for economic and residential development.

In 2015, the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC) led a municipal-wide public consultation process that engaged with a very broad range of stakeholders, including citizens, business and industrial stakeholders, the academic community, environmental organizations.  This process culminated in a new economic development strategy for the City, “From the Ground Up – gs2025”, received by Council in April 2016.  This new economic development strategy recognized the importance of the City pursuing a major, centralized community recreation and events facility to be located in the City's downtown core – the location that could best capitalize on economic development spin-offs while benefiting local businesses and incenting residential development.

In March, 2017, Greater Sudbury Council accepted a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) that recommended the City replace the existing Sudbury Community Arena with a new facility, and that a site selection process be undertaken to determine which sites in the City would be the most appropriate for a new venue.  PWC returned to Council on June 27, 2017 with a short list of 4 sites for consideration of Council.  One site was located in the City's downtown core; two other sites were located in or near to the South End Regional Centre; a fourth site was located in an under-utilized industrial area on the eastern urban fringe of the former City of Sudbury – the Kingsway site.  After significant discussion regarding how the Kingsway site could leverage new entertainment-oriented development on private lands owned by the applicant, Council ultimately selected the Kingsway site as the location for a new arena/events centre.

Site Selection for the Kingsway Not in Keeping with Planning and Development Documents

In making its decision in favour of the Kingsway on June 27, 2017, Council ignored the long-established directions of the City's Official Plan, Downtown Master Plan and Economic Development Plan – plans which, as a foundation, acknowledged the importance of a centralized community recreation and entertainment facility in the form of a Community Arena located in the City's downtown core.  In succession, these plans built on that foundation, and anticipated a new facility, to be put to the same or similar, if expanded, use as the existing Sudbury Community Arena, in order to better achieve creating a healthy, sustainable community and economic development goals.

No Such Thing as the “Kingsway Entertainment District”

Although the opportunity for the Kingsway site to potentially become a new entertainment district was cited by some on Council as rationale for selecting the Kingsway site, it should also be noted that prior to June 27, 2017, the City had never expressed an interest in creating a new hub of entertainment facilities – including publicly-owned facilities in the form of a Community Arena – anywhere other than in the City's downtown.  Importantly, eve as of today – almost 8 months after selecting the Kingsway site - the City still has not moved towards updating planning documents to identify any desire to create what is now being referred to as the “Kingsway Entertainment District”.  The applications that have been filed with the City of Greater Sudbury by the applicant are intended to permit a new arena/events centre, parking lot and casino facility as site-specific exceptions to General Industrial land use permissions, but there has been no comprehensive initiative to change the land use designation on the property that would better acknowledge the site as an entertainment hub, or to develop policies in the Official Plan for how development in the district is to occur.

As it stands today, the “Kingsway Entertainment District” is really nothing more than a conceptual idea for an existing industrial area.

What this means is that evaluating this application within the greater context of an entertainment hub is premature, and not in keeping with the City's Official Plan, which provides citizens and decision-makers alike with the true development vision for the City of Greater Sudbury.  The conceptual “Kingsway Entertainment District” and any “planning” which might have taken place to advance this vision (including the so-called “integrated site plan” process – a process led by the City with two business partners, that took place outside of the context of the Planning Act and assessed uses which are not currently permitted by the Official Plan) can have no standing in the evaluation of this application and should be ignored by decision-makers.

Recreation and Community Centre – Not a Tourism Use

It is worth noting that in the letter from the applicant's agent to the General Manager dated Tanner December 5/17 letter, the land owner’s consultant provides a land use analysis for the application that appears to be, in large part, based on the mistaken belief that the application to amend the zoning by-law will permit what appears to be primarily a “tourism” use.  With regards to tourism and tourist use, the applicant’s planner writes,

“Our analysis suggests that the proposed development is consistent with the intent of the Official Plan in the following ways, they are:

·         Section 1.3.2, Economic Development – The proposed development promotes the attraction of a diverse population through the creation of a curious, adventuresome city, by introducing a new tourist-based destination.
·         Section 4.0, Employment Areas – The proposed development provides a wider variety of serviced employment lands, also allowing for a diversification of the employment base; and, the proposed development ensures the efficient use of currently underutilized industrial lands for the development of a tourist-based destination.”

This analysis appears to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what a “recreation and community centre” is and is not.  Through discussion here, I will show that a “recreation and community centre” in the form of an arena/events centre is an institutional use, as per the City’s Official Plan, and a “public facility”, as per the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, and as such is intended to be used primarily by residents of the City of Greater Sudbury.  I will also show that while it is expected that there will be some out-of-town guests (“tourists”) who will use this facility, that cannot change an evaluation based on the primary and fundamental use of the public facility – namely, to provide service to residents of the City of Greater Sudbury.

Tourism in the City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan

The City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan acknowledges the important role that tourism plays in the City’s economy.  The Plan identifies Centres as “nodes of retail, tourism, business, education and government services.” (Section 4.2).  For the purposes of the City’s Official Plan, “Centres” consist of the Downtown, Regional Centres and Town Centres.  The industrial area on the Kingsway where lands subject to this application are situated are not within a “Centre”.

Section 5.2.6 of the Plan identifies that resort and shoreline commercial uses in rural and waterfront areas are permitted as a means of expanding the tourism sector.  The lands subject to this application are not in a rural and waterfront area.

Part VI of the Plan indicates that, “A diverse and vital economy is an essential quality of a Healthy Community.  Greater Sudbury has adopted an economic development strategic plan that identifies several key engines of growth.  In addition to mining and supply services, other targeted sectors include tourism, arts & culture, health care services and research, and the development of an environmental services sector that will build upon the City’s well-established land reclamation and lake water quality programs.  It should be noted that the “economic development strategic plan” referred to in this policy has since been replaced by a new, more up-to-date economic development plan, “From the Ground Up – gs2025”.  “From the Ground Up – gs2025” also emphasizes the key role that tourism plays for economic development in the City.  That Plan identifies a number of actions which the City and other stakeholders should consider undertaking to better create and promote opportunities to expand our tourism sector, including:

·         4.2.1 – Implement innovative alternative transportation, transit, and parking options focused on improving visitor circulation in the city connecting major tourism and retail/commercial nodes;

The zoning by-law amendment to permit an arena/events centre on the Kingsway, to be accessed primarily by motor vehicles, while removing the community arena from the downtown will not be helpful and is anticipated to be harmful in achieving this outcome.

·         4.2.2 – Co-ordinate regional planning, economic development, and tourism interests to advocate for the development of more efficient and modern transportation infrastructure in the northern Ontario;

Putting a new arena/events centre on the Kingsway, where it will be poorly serviced by public transit, and opportunities to walk and bike, will not assist in achieving this outcome and will not help lead to more efficient, modern and active transportation systems in the City.

·         4.3.2 – Leverage assets and programs of Sudbury Tourism to increase Greater Sudbury’s appeal for residential attraction;

The presence of the Sudbury Community Arena in the City’s downtown is acknowledged as a facility that is part of a strategy to attract and retain residential development in the City’s core.  Replacing the existing downtown arena/events centre with a new facility in an industrial area will frustrate the downtown residential development strategy and will not help achieve this goal.

·         Goal Six: A nationally recognized centre of artistic excellence, vibrancy and creativity – There is overwhelming consensus that arts, culture and heritage provide value to communities in the form of quality of life, downtown revitalization, sense of community, attraction and retention of creative professionals, economic development and tourism.  By fostering an environment that supports cultural pursuits and creative individuals we will benefit in these areas.

In Goal Six, “From the Ground Up – gs2025” clearly contemplates the linkages between a vibrant arts, culture and heritage sector with the revitalization of the downtown and the promotion of tourism.  A new arena/events centre on the Kingsway in an industrial area will not help the City achieve this goal; removing the Sudbury Community Arena from the downtown would likely lead to the opposite of downtown revitalization.

·         Goal Seven: One of Ontario’s top tourism destinations states in part, “Tourism is also an important sector of Greater Sudbury’s economy, and all citizens have the opportunity to be good ambassadors, promoting the beauty of our city and encouraging visitors to come...  One of the key priorities for Greater Sudbury in the tourism sector is based on the range of events that the community offers.  The city, with is reputation as a regional capital, has had success hosting a series of festivals throughout the year…During the consultation process it was suggested that the development of a new arena/entertinament complex could help unlock the potential for the continued growth and economic propsertity of the community.  This would complement Greater Sudbury’s existing festivals with an additional venue for other concerns, entertainment events, live performances, and sporting events, not to mention its potential for expanded convention business.  There are still a number of opportunities that exist in the tourism sector that Greater Sudbury can leverage to help make it one of Ontario’s top destinations.  For example, the Downtown Sudbury Master Plan calls for promoting tourism in the downtown core and creating destination attractions such as a “Signature Arts District” that will draw visitors from across the region.  Consideration should be paid to investing in the necessary infrastructure to support the added visitors to the area.  Continued growth and diversification of the region’s retail sector will also maintain and enhance Greater sudbury’s regional capital status as well.

An a new arena/events centre on the Kingsway in an industrial area does not further any portion of Goal 7.

·         7.1.1 – Develop a multi-purpose facility (or facilities) for arts, culture, business and sport in the Downtown core, with consideration for the following high-priority uses:
·         Conference facilities
·         Performing arts centre
·         Arena/sports complex
·         Art gallery
·         Accommodations 

Shuttering the existing Sudbury Community Arena in the City’s downtown core in favour of a new facility in an industrial area on the Kingsway is contrary to this Action identified in “From the Ground Up – gs2025” in Obective 7.1 – Invest in Facilities, Spaces, and Initiatives Needed to Support the Growth of Tourism.

·         7.2.8 – Work with Transit and other agencies to improve choice and quality of connections between attractions.

The development of a new arena/events centre in a car-dependent industrial area on the Kingsway will not assist with achieving this desired outcome.

·         7.3.1 – Promote the “scenic sights, urban delights” brand for Sudbury Tourism in order to distinguish the city from its competitors in Ontario.

Removing the existing Sudbury Community Arena from the downtown’s urban fabric in favour of locating a new arena/events centre in an industrial area surrounded by surface parking facilities will not assist with marketing a brand that focuses in part on the City’s “urban delights”. 

·         Conclusion – “Our city will be recognized as one of Ontario’s top tourism destinations, offering world-class attractions, high caliber accommodations and unieque events and activities for all types of travelers.  The implementation of the Downtown Sudbury Master Plan will help transform the downtown core into a destination  featuring attractions that will draw vidistors from across the region, the province and around the world.  Investment in facilities, spaces and initiatives will support the growth of tourism along with prioritization of tourism destination development and promotion initiatives.”

Locating a new arena/events centre in an industrial area will not assist in achieving this desired outcome.  It is important to note that the industrial area where lands subject to this request for zoning amendment is located is not identified as a priority for tourism initiatives in our Economic Development Plan – indeed, this area on the Kingsway is not even mentioned. 

Section 17.6 of the Official Plan indicates that, “Council in conjunction with the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation and other stakeholders as appropriate, h) Will continue to develop tourism infrastructure and promote the City as an outstanding vacation destination and place to live and work by, ii) selectively enhancing arts and cultural amenities to fit unique heritage and local strengths; v) creating a comprehensive marketing strategy to bring Greater Sudbury’s tourism and lifestyle advantages to key markets.

The application to permit an arena/events centre on the Kingsway is not in keeping with these Plan policies that seek to leverage existing local strengths and our tourism marketing strategy.  The urban focus of the “scenic sights, urban delights” brand plays up on one of our City’s local strengths – a vibrant and dynamic arts and entertainment hub in our downtown core.  By shifting a major event hosting facility from the downtown to an industrial area on the Kingsway, we would diminish opportunities for local synergies in the development of tourism infrastructure.

Application Not in Keeping with Tourism Promotion Policies and Programs

If the subject application were intended to be evaluated through the lens of tourism, what is clear is that putting an arena/events centre in an industrial area, as contemplated by this application, would not be in keeping with the City’s Official Plan and Economic Development Plan.  The policies in these two City plans as they relate to tourism clearly do not support the establishment of a tourist-oriented arena/event centre in an industrial area on an urban fringe of the City.  Instead, there is a strong policy direction in these Plans which suggest that an arena/event centre would be properly located in the City’s downtown core, where it can act as a facility that leverages and synergizes with other tourist-based attractions in a way that is accessible by active transportation and transit.

However, as indicated earlier, the proposed “recreation and community centre use” should be primarily evaluated as an institutional use – one to be used primarily by the citizens of our City, as it is not expected to generate a significant amount of tourism.  However, if the small tourism component is deemed to be an important consideration, than this application to permit an arena/events centre on the Kingsway in preference to the City’s downtown should be refused by Council.


What is a “recreation and community facility”?

The Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, describes “public service facility” as “lands, buildings and structures for the provision of programs and services provided or subsidized by a government or other body, such as social assistance, recreation, police and fire protection, health and educational programs, and cultural services.

A recreation and community facility is a public service facility.  Public service facilities are institutional land uses, and although they may include commercial activities (such as paid entertainment) and small-scale commercial uses (food vendors, ticket sales, etc.), the primary purpose of institutional uses is to perform functions and provide services that are of importance to citizens and the municipal corporation. 

Locally, the Sudbury Community Arena is probably the best-known example of this kind of multi-use and multi-functional public service facility. 

As the application intends to permit a “recreation and community centre” as a permitted use on the subject lands, the proposed use must be assessed as a public service facility.

Evaluating a “recreation and community centre” as a Public Service Facility

The City’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law 2010-100Z defines “Institutional Use” as “A children’s home, a day care centre, a place of worship, a hospital, a private club, a non-profit or charitable institution, a group home type 1, a group home type 2, a special needs facility, a recreation and community centre, an arena, a public museum, a public library, a public business, a public fire hall, a public or private school other than a trade school, or any public use other than a public utility.”

The By-law defines “recreation and community centre” as “A building or structure, or part thereof, owned or operated by a private club, a non-profit or charitable institution or a public agency including a facility developed or operated as a public-private partnership, where facilities are provided primarily for athletic or recreational activities or events, and includes without limiting the generality of the foregoing, an arena and a public pool.

The By-law defines “Arena” as “A building housing ice making equipment and infrastructure capable of enclosing an artificial ice surface intended for year round recreational use and may include uses such as special events and competitions, circuses, concerts, conventions, weddings/banquets/anniversaries, auctions, restaurants, flea markets and trade shows or exhibits with a retail component.

None of these definitions refer to “tourism” – although a “recreation and community centre” in the form of an Arena can and will nevertheless attract some people from areas outside of the City.  However, the primary function of this use is clearly one that serves the residents of the City of Greater Sudbury.

With operating losses projected by PWC to be approximately $800,000 annually, this “recreation and community centre” use in the form of an arena will be a public service facility that is clearly subsidized by a government, in keeping with the PPS 2014 definition of “public service facility”.

Existing Land Use Permissions

Through application 751-6/13-35, the subject lands were rezoned in 2014 to permit the development of a complex with office, hotel, bulk retail, warehouse, and commercial recreation centre uses.  The City’s Zoning By-law 2010-100Z defines “recreation centre, commercial” as, “An establishment where participatory athletic, recreational or physical fitness facilities are provided for gain or profit, and includes without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a commercial fitness centre and exercise spa or club, a commercial ice or roller skating rink, a commercial squash, tennis or golfing facility and a commercial outdoor recreation area, but does not include a riding stable, place of amusement or amusement park.

Although the letter to the Tanner December 5/17 letter indicates that the “development of a ‘recreation and community centre’ in the form of an arena and Event Centre…is complimentary to…current permitted uses,” this assertion is unproven.  The type of facility currently permitted on the subject lands as a “recreation centre, commercial” appears to be something of much smaller scale than a public facility in the form of an arena events centre that is subsidized by the City.  An “Arena” is not permitted. 

There has been no economic analysis undertaken which has led to the conclusion that an arena/events centre of the scale proposed here (5,200 seats for an Ontario Hockey League game) represents a profitable commercial investment.  The only analysis undertaken at this point, by PWC, determined that OHL-style arena/event centres almost always require public subsidy for long-term operations, and as such are not profitable on their own.

Comparing the existing zoning permission for a “recreation centre, commercial” to the new permission now being sought for a “recreation and community centre” is unhelpful for any land use evaluation of the application, since the likelihood of both types of facilities occurring on the subject lands is extremely low – and given that the City has made it clear that it plans to purchase the subject lands, it’s almost a near certainty that a for-profit “recreation centre, commercial” will never be established on these lands.

Institutional Uses and the City’s Official Plan

This application pertains to the addition of a new use on lands designated “General Industrial”.  The new use is an institutional use in the form of a “recreation and community centre”, which is a public service facility, as per the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014.

The City’s Official Plan includes policies for institutional uses within the Employment Areas section, and specifically in Section 4.4.  While the Plan establishes a site-specific land use designation for some institutional uses – mostly for major health and education facilities – it acknowledges that institutional uses will occur within other land use designations, and that “Institutional uses are permitted throughout the municipality in accordance with the needs of area residents and policies set forth below.”  Indeed, the Sudbury Community Arena – an institutional use – is located on lands that are designated “Downtown” in the City’s Official Plan, and zoned C-6 – which allows for institutional uses.

Policy 2 of Section 4.4 is the only relevant section of 4.4 that would apply to and provide guidance for this land use application to amend the zoning by-law to permit a “recreation and community centre” – an institutional use – on the subject lands.  Policy 2 of Section 4.4 indicates, “2. In considering the establishment of new institutional uses or the expansion of existing facilities on lands not specifically designated for institutional purposes, Council will ensure that:
a. sewer and water services are adequate to service the site;
b. adequate traffic circulation can be provided;
c. adequate parking for the public is provided on-site;
d. public transit services can be provided economically for the site;

e. the proposed institutional use can be integrated into the area and is compatible with surrounding uses; and,

f. adequate buffering and landscaping is provided.”

Institutional Uses on the Subject Lands

The City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan designates the lands subject to this application as “General Industrial”.  General Industrial policies are also found within Section 4, “Employment Uses”, of the Official Plan, and specifically within Section 4.5.1.  Policy 1 of 4.5.1 indicates that, “Permitted uses may  include manufacturing, fabricating, processing and assembling of industrial and consumer products, repair, packaging and storage of goods and materials, and related industrial activities.”  The use of the words “may include” in Policy 1 seems to imply that this is not a comprehensive list, and that other appropriate uses could be permitted, including institutional uses.

It may very well be appropriate for some kinds of institutional uses to locate on lands designated “General Industrial”.  For example, the City’s recycling centre at 1825 Frobisher Street appears to be located on lands that are designated “General Industrial”. 

However, it would be an error to determine that by virtue of language in the Official Plan that indicates, “Institutional uses are permitted throughout the municipality in accordance with the needs of area residents and policies set forth below,” that it is implied that all areas of the municipality are appropriate for all institutional uses, subject to policies found in Section 4.4 of the Plan.

Further direction with regards to this situation is found in Section 20.5.2 of the Official Plan, which pertains to Rezoning Applications.  Section 20.5.2 indicates, “It shall be the policy of Council to ensure  that the Zoning By-law and amendments thereto conform with this Plan. To this end, it is the intent of Council to evaluate each rezoning application according to all applicable policies – simple conformity with land use designation does not automatically guarantee a rezoning to the proposed use.”
Clearly, a more significant level of analysis is needed prior to determining whether a proposed new institutional use is appropriate in a specific location.
Note, too, that Section 4.4 does not indicate that institutional uses are permitted within every land use designation – it simply says “throughout the municipality”.
If one were to interpret Section 4.4 as applying to lands within every land use designation, the following situation would seem to permit institutional uses in locations that are completely inappropriate:
Scenario.
The City’s Official Plan prohibits new development within floodplains.  Floodplains occur in multiple land use designations, throughout the City, including Living Area 1 and the Parks and Open Space designation.  An interpretation of Section 4.4’s “throughout the municipality” which suggests that institutional uses can locate in any land use designation, subject only to items addressing items a) through f) of Policy 2, would lead to the absurd outcome that a new recycling centre, place of worship or recreation centre would have a valid land use permission within a flooding hazard, subject only to an assessment of the following (none of which have to do with environmental impacts or natural hazards):
a. sewer and water services are adequate to service the site;
b. adequate traffic circulation can be provided;
c. adequate parking for the public is provided on-site;
d. public transit services can be provided economically for the site;
e. the proposed institutional use can be integrated into the area and is compatible with surrounding uses; and,
f. adequate buffering and landscaping is provided.
At the Planning Committee meeting of January 11, 2018, planners for both the City and the applicant advised Planning Committee that this application was in conformity with the Official Plan based on the sentence found in Section 4.4 of the Official Plan that indicates “Institutional uses are permitted throughout the municipality in accordance with the needs of area residents and policies set forth below,” and presumably with consideration given to items a) through h) of Policy 2.

Given the significant direction of the Official Plan, which must be considered with regards to consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 and the Northern Growth Plan, I submit that the analysis provided by the planners to Planning Committee on January 11, 2018 does not stand up to the strong policy direction contained in these three documents that would lead considered decision-makers to determine that an industrial area on the fringe of an existing urban centre is not the appropriate location for a public facility in the form of an arena/event centre.

Council, when making its determination, must consider all of the policies in its Official Plan, including Section 20.5.2, which specifically applies to rezoning applications.  Official Plan policies must be read in conjunction with both the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 and the Northern Growth Plan, as both of these policy documents have been issued by the Province since the approval of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan.

Official Plan Conformity

1.2 – Vision
The Official Plan functions as much more than a land use planning document – it also encompasses our objectives related to social, economic and environmental matters. The vision statements below reflect the collective aspirations of those who live in Greater Sudbury by drawing on past community initiatives and public consultation.”
-City of Greater Sudbury Official Plan

…a policy statement is a conscious or stated choice – a kind of public promise - to take a consistent and fair approach to similar circumstances in the future and to make decisions (or have others who hold similar authority make decisions) that will advance the desired objectives of the policy. Like an unkept promise, a policy observed ‘more in the breach’ is of little true value.”
-Ontario Municipal Board Member B.W. Krushelnicki, Material Handling Problem Solvers Inc. v. Essex (Town) Marshfield Woods, the Hearn Group [2002] O.M.B.D. No. 1133

The application does not conform to the following policies of the Official Plan:

Section 4.5.1, General Industrial

Section 4.5.1 of the Official Plan reads,
Policies
1. Permitted uses may include manufacturing, fabricating, processing and assembling of industrial and consumer products, repair, packaging and storage of goods and materials, and related industrial activities.
2. Complementary uses, such as administrative offices, which do not detract from, and which are compatible with, the operation of industrial uses are also permitted.
3. General Industrial uses must have minimal environmental impacts. Any use which may impact surrounding areas and cause nuisance will be appropriately buffered and screened.
4. Where development occurs in areas that are not fully serviced, only dry industries that generate less than 4,500 litres of wastewater a day may be permitted.
5. Heavy industrial uses may also be permitted by rezoning.” 

A “recreation and community centre” use in the form of an Arena on this site does not conform to the Official Plan.  It is a public service facility as defined by the PPS, 2014, and as such should be strategically located in an area of the City that promotes cost-effectiveness and better facilitates service integration.  A public service facility of this nature should also be easily accessed by all citizens, including via public transit and active transportation.

An industrial area is not an appropriate location for this type of public service facility.  The City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan directs this sort of facility to an alternate land use designation via the following policies.

·         1.4, Context
The heart of Greater Sudbury, its most urban place, is and will be the Downtown. With the changing role of downtowns, there is a continuing need for appropriate policies and programs to enhance the Downtown as a location of government, commerce, cultural and entertainment facilities. Residential development in and around the Downtown is needed to support new and expanded facilities and amenities.”

This part of the Official Plan’s context identifies the Downtown as having a continuing need for programs that enhance the location for a number of uses, and in particular cultural entertainment and residential uses.  The provision of an arena/events centre in the Downtown would enhance and support these uses.

·         4.2.1, Downtown Sudbury
“Downtown Sudbury forms the historic core of the amalgamated City, retaining its important function as a centre of retail, arts and culture, government and business services. The Downtown services a large catchment area that extends beyond Greater Sudbury. Compact and walkable, the Downtown possesses a distinct built form that sets it apart from other urban areas, offering unique opportunities to protect, develop and sustain its role as the vibrant hub of a dynamic city.”

This policy identifies the Downtown as the heart of the amalgamated City.  It indicates that the Downtown serves a catchment area that extends beyond the City.  A distinct built form that more easily promotes the use of active transportation exists in the Downtown like nowhere else in the City.  To develop and sustain the Downtown’s role as a vibrant hub of a dynamic City, the Plan recognizes the importance of the Downtown for  the provision of various services to the community and beyond, including retail and business services – and noteworthy for our discussion pertaining to an Arena, arts and culture services as well.

·         4.2.1, Downtown Sudbury
“Council will develop the Downtown as a creative district by promoting arts and culture, encouraging public art initiatives, and partnering with the non-profit sector and other levels of government. The development of a performing arts facility in the Downtown core will be a key priority.”

While the “Kingsway Entertainment District” may be a concept plan that has yet to be identified in any of the City’s planning documents, our Official Plan does recognize the Downtown as a creative district for arts, culture and entertainment.  No other part of the City is recognized as such.  An arena/events centre in the Downtown contributes to our existing Downtown Entertainment District.

·         4.2.1.1, Downtown Residential Development
“Amenities such as the Farmer's Market, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Greater Sudbury Public Library, Sudbury Arena and the Centre for Life contribute to the appeal of the Downtown. In order to make it more attractive as a place of residence, additional amenities necessary to enhance the livability of the Downtown will be identified.

This Plan policy specifically identifies a downtown arena as part of a strategy to promote residential development in the downtown by enhancing the livability of the area.  The promotion of residential development in our Downtown has been identified by the Official Plan as a desirable objective, based on the well-understood principle that vibrant and dynamic downtowns are ones where people live, work, shop and play.  The removal of the Arena from the downtown would be contrary to the downtown residential promotion strategy outlined here.

·         4.2.1.2, Downtown Urban Environment
“The Downtown offers a unique urban environment that is characterized by its distinct built form, heritage resources, street configuration, pedestrian spaces, and linkages to neighbourhoods and amenities such as Bell Park. The Downtown plays a key role in defining the City's image and quality of place, perceptions that are essential to the success of a number of City initiatives.”

The Plan acknowledges the important role that the Downtown plays in the public perception of the City, and how that perception is used to achieve successful outcomes for City initiatives, including residential and economic development initiatives.  The downtown Arena helps form a part of that perception.

·         4.2.1.2, Downtown Urban Environment
“It is a policy of this Plan to preserve those aspects of the Downtown that contribute to the image, character and quality of life in the City, including natural features, landmarks, design attributes and heritage resources, linkages to existing trails, pedestrian walkways and other desirable elements of the built environment.”

Building on the previous policy regarding the importance of public perception, this Plan policy clearly identifies that those aspects of the Downtown that contribute to its image, character and quality of life will be preserved.  “Landmarks” are specifically signaled out.  Without question, the existing Sudbury Community Arena is one of those landmark elements that contribute to the success of the downtown (and by extension, to that of our City) and enhance our quality of life.  While it may not be possible to preserve this landmark, it would be irresponsible – and contrary to this Official Plan policy – not to preserve its continued use as a public service facility in the City’s downtown core.

·         4.2.1.2, Downtown Urban Environment
“High quality urban design in the Downtown will be promoted, compatible with the existing character and scale. A special focus on public spaces is intended, utilizing such design elements as street trees, landscaping, street lighting and furnishings, public art, gateway entrances and playgrounds that are wheelchair and stroller accessible.”

The Downtown is a unique area of the City, rife with opportunities to encounter public art and high quality urban design.  A new public facility – especially one that will cost taxpayers up to $100 million based on estimates provided by PWC – should incorporate a high quality design that compliments surrounding uses.  This can’t be achieved in an industrial area – and indeed, our Plan does not contemplate the need for high quality urban design for public facilities in an industrial area.  But high quality urban design could be achieved in the Downtown.   Taxpayers should settle for nothing less.

·         11.0, Transportation
“Enhancing the public transportation system and encouraging increased transit use are important objectives, particularly within the context of improving air quality and contributing to Kyoto targets.
Sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths and walking trails need to be fully integrated components of the overall transportation system, providing safe access for pedestrians and cyclists supported by good urban design principles. Opportunities to engage in recreational and leisure activities are also tied to the transportation network.”

Shifting the arena out of the downtown core, which is the best-serviced area of the City with regards to transit and active transportation, and moving this important public facility to an industrial area on the fringe of the urban area that is accessible primarily by personal motor vehicles will not help enhance our transit system or our active transportation systems. 

·         11.1, Transportation Objectives
It is the objective of the transportation network policies to:
e. promote all travel modes, including public transit, walking and cycling;
f. provide affordable, convenient and reliable public transit service that enhances mobility and access;
g. consider the needs of the physically challenged in the planning and design of all aspects of the transportation network; and,
h. support programs that aim to reduce the environmental impacts of certain modes of transportation.
The application to permit an arena in an industrial area on the urban fringe will not assist the City with achieving transit-oriented and active transportation objectives of the Official Plan’s Transportation policies.  The application does not support all modes of travel; requires the inefficient and costly expansion of transit services; does not enhance mobility or access; and, does not consider the needs of physically-challenged people (particularly those who rely on motor-assist devices, given the industrial location and lack of walking options for access).
Further, the link between “Kyoto targets” and “environmental impacts” indicates a concern about how the City’s transportation systems – particularly those that rely on fossil-fueled motorized vehicles – are impacting the global climate.  As the City moves forward into the 21st Century, it is incumbent on decision-makers to consider the climate change impacts of their decisions.  While the City currently lacks a comprehensive plan to reduce emissions, what is clear is that decision makers need to start thinking about how their decisions can help – or hinder – greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
These policies in the City’s Official plan urge decision-makers to do just that, when considering development options and alternatives.  This application in particular, which seeks to relocate an important, much-visited public facility out of the City’s walkable, bikeable downtown core and move it to a location that is largely car-dependent will certainly work against reducing ghg emissions.
The application is not consistent with this section of the Official Plan.

·         11.3, Public Transportation
“Although the automobile will remain the primary mode of personal transportation for the foreseeable future, public transportation will play an increasingly important role for the municipality. Increased public transit use will help the City improve air quality and achieve Kyoto targets, as well as alleviate traffic congestion on Arterial Roads.
The provision of public transit is also closely aligned with other municipal initiatives. A new emphasis on residential intensification that encourages higher densities within existing built-up urban areas will in turn support the expansion of transit services and increased ridership.”
The City’s Transportation policy objectives are further articulated in this section, and a direct connection is made between the delivery of expanded transit services and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (“Kyoto targets”).  Section 11.9 of the Official Plans speaks a little more to the importance of emissions reductions.
Further, this policy indicates that the provision of transit is aligned with other plan objectives, including residential intensification.  It should be noted again that a downtown arena is specifically identified in Section 4.2.1.1 of the Official Plan as being a part of a strategy to promote residential development in the City’s core.  Moving the arena to the Kingsway site will not assist with that strategy, and will therefore not help enhance the provision of cost-effective public transit services that increase ridership.
But maintaining an arena in the downtown core – an area already well-serviced by transit – can certainly help achieve this outcome, especially when considered as a part of a holistic approach to attract and retain knowledge-based jobs to the community through the provision of public amenities and a built environment that meets the needs and wants of knowledge-economy workers.  An efficient and effective public transit system is a part of that strategy that promotes healthy living and economic prosperity.
·         11.3.2, Land Use Policies To Support Transit Needs
“The provision of public transit must be supported by compatible land uses policies and sound urban design principles in order to promote transit use as a viable option for residents. Transit-supportive policies form linkages with other City initiatives, including the need for increased residential intensification, ongoing efforts at downtown revitalization, and objectives established by the EarthCare Sudbury Local Action Plan.
1. Urban design and community development that facilitate the provision of public transit will be promoted.”
Here again, the Plan links transit policy to residential intensification and downtown revitalization.  The application which will see the existing arena relocate to an industrial area on the urban fringe of the City is contrary to downtown revitalization and promoting residential intensification.  It is also contrary to policies of the Official Plan, like this one, which seek to enhance our public transit system.
·         11.7, Active Transportation: Pedestrian and Bicycle Network
“Protecting and expanding the existing pedestrian and bicycle network in the City is essential to creating quality of place. Trails promote healthy lifestyles and provide an alternative transportation network.”
This application will not assist with enhancing the City’s pedestrian and bike network, as it will shift a well-used public facility out of the downtown core (an area well-serviced by active transportation facilities) and into a car-dependent location on the City’s urban fringe.
“2. Development proposals will be reviewed to ensure that there is adequate pedestrian access in new developments. The City may acquire lands to provide pedestrian facilities as a condition of approval. Wherever possible, the provision of adequate bicycle facilities will be encouraged.”
There is inadequate pedestrian access for this development proposal.  Industrial areas throughout the City have only limited pedestrian access – and the same standards can be expected on this site, given the industrial nature.  The application for zoning amendment does not propose to create any new standards.
Industrial area access standards for pedestrian are inappropriate for a public service facility that is expected to service several hundred thousand visitors annually.
This application is not in keeping with this policy.

·         12.2.1, Provision of Sewer and Water Servcies
“The City will ensure that the sewer and water systems are provided in a manner that:
is financially sound and complies with all regulatory requirements;”
This application will lead to the unnecessary expansion of public sewer and water infrastructure.  If the arena were to stay in the downtown, the costly expansion of sewer and water services would be avoided.
·         12.4.2 , Energy Efficiency Programs
“5. This Plan supports district energy plants as an efficient method of supplying heating, cooling and electricity to buildings. The environmental benefits of co-generation plants are recognized for their contribution to cleaner energy sources and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
6. Geothermal projects based on the small district energy system model will be facilitated by this Plan to meet the heating and cooling needs of new clusters of environmental businesses.”
This application, which will only be realized through the provision of public funds, does not seek to use district or geothermal energy – an egregious oversight for what is ultimately a major investment of taxpayer money.  Further, by taking the arena out of the downtown, the downtown’s district energy system will be diminished.
Alternatively, a new downtown arena could enhanced the cost-effectiveness of the downtown district energy system.
·         14.5, Design Features, Views and Corridors
“Those aspects of the Downtown that contribute to the image, character and quality of life in the City will be identified and preserved. Viewpoints to landmark features should be preserved as a means of guiding movement through the core and enhancing the visual appeal of the Downtown. New landmark features should be developed and integrated into the Downtown landscape, including the completion of the Farmers’ Market.”

This policy, too, calls for the preservation of Downtown elements that contribute to character and quality of life.  It calls for the preservation of viewscapes to landmark features.  And it calls for the development of new landmark features that can be integrated into the Downtown landscape.  Although not specifically identified, clearly a new arena would be one of those landmark features.

Note that there are no comparable Official Plan policies that call for new landmark features in a General Industrial area.

·         14.6, Urban Design Programs
“Programs to beautify the Downtown are required to improve the quality of the built form and support its role as a centre of retail, arts & culture, government and business services. Such initiatives will contribute to the viability of Downtown residential development.”

This policy, too, acknowledges the central role that the Downtown plays as a hub for retail, arts and culture, business.  It also acknowledges the importance of facilitating residential development.  A downtown arena is a key public facility identified in Section 4.2.1.1 of the Plan as part of a strategy to promoter residential development.

·         Part VI: Healthy People, Healthy Places
“Healthy Community determinants developed as part of an extensive public input process form the underlying foundation of the Official Plan. Although these principles inform all aspects of this Plan, they are presented here by major theme. Adequate access to Housing is a core need and is addressed in a separate chapter. To help us achieve our Healthy Community objectives, our essential approach to Economic Development is also presented as a series of objectives, policies and programs. Although not normally included as part of an Official Plan, these chapters are intended to provide policy direction for Council.”

This area of the Official Plan identifies the importance of Healthy Community objectives to achieving economic development outcomes, tying healthy and sustainable living with building a prosperous, knowledge-based economy.  A downtown arena facility, as identified in various policies found in Section 4.2 of the Official Plan, will contribute to the circumstances needed for both making our City a healthier place for residents, and a more prosperous location for business.

As such, the Plan indicates that the approach outlined here for economic development should be one pursued by Council.

·         16.2.2, Accessible Recreation Programs and Facilities
“Provide leisure and recreation facilities and programs that are accessible to all citizens. The needs of persons with disabilities shall be considered in the design and construction of public facilities including buildings and outdoor activity centres.”

When looking for locations for landmark public facilities that are intended to serve the needs of all residents, consideration should be given to equity and ease of access.  As noted elsewhere in the Plan, Greater Sudbury’s downtown is a unique district, not only because it acts as a hub for retail, business, government services, arts, culture and entertainment uses, but also because of the built environment and the ease of access to and within the downtown for those citizens in our community that do not own or have access to motorized vehicles.

The downtown is a transit hub.  It is located in an area that is within walking distance for tens of thousands of community residents.  Active transportation routes, both existing and planned, lead to the downtown and connect it to other parts of the City.

Although the Kingsway projects are intended to be accessed by transit and active transportation routes, due to the suburban industrial location of the lands, only extremely limited access by non-motorized vehicles is likely to occur.   This is not equitable.

Removing an important public facility from the City’s downtown in favour of a location in an industrial area on the urban fringe will lead to a loss of equity and access for people who do not and cannot rely on personal motor vehicles for personal transportation.

·         16.2.3, A Prosperous Community With Employment Opportunities
“In addition to the more detailed discussion of Economic Development contained in Chapter 17.0, the following policies will apply:
1. Have regard for the City’s economic development strategic plan in assessing development applications.”
As noted above, the City’s Economic Development Plan, “From the Ground Up – gs2015” acknowledges the downtown as the location for a new arena/events centre.  The plan is silent with regards to locating this important public facility in an industrial area.
This policy suggests that Council should have regard to our economic development strategy when making decisions related to development applications.  This specific development application is not in keeping with Section 16.2.3 1) of the Official Plan.
“2. Recognize the importance of “quality of place” in attracting new residents and investment to our community. Related to this, the image of a City is often associated with its Downtown and main streets. On this basis, there is a need to promote a high standard of urban design in the City.”
This policy again reminds Council that when considering development applications, strategies that promote residential development, promote quality of place and promote the image of the City are important considerations.  The Downtown is again specifically highlighted as being linked to the public’s perception of the City.  The downtown arena is a landmark public service facility that enhances the downtown’s physical environment and enhances the public’s perception of a successful downtown.
“3. Recognize that arts, culture, heritage and libraries are integral to healthy communities, and that the support, preservation and promotion of these are fundamental in attracting and retaining skilled, entrepreneurial individuals to the community. In addition, public libraries play a vital role in forming a literate society and fostering lifelong learning, are community-gathering places where people interact and share ideas, and most importantly, offer an array of services to all people breaking down barriers that are fundamental to building a strong and healthy community.”
This policy links the provision of arts, culture and entertainment facilities to attracting and retaining knowledge-economy individuals and entrepreneurs. The downtown is identified in the Official Plan as the hub for arts and culture, and acts as Greater Sudbury’s entertainment district.
“4. Where compatible, encourage the location of wealth-creating businesses in close proximity to existing communities.”
While not specifically a business, the Sudbury Community Arena is the kind of public facility that is identified in the Official Plan as acting as a catalyst for community prosperity.  Local businesses in the downtown core have clustered near the existing arena so as to generate economic activity as a result of the numerous patrons that are attracted to the arena - and the downtown – annually.  It is a community wealth-creator.

If the City were to locate the arena in an industrial area on the fringe of the built-up part of the City, the City would lose existing synergies and miss out on additional opportunities to create wealth and prosperity.  Although the so-called “Kingsway Entertainment District” concept envisions the creation of a cluster of entertainment uses in the vicinity of this application, it should be noted again that this concept has no legal or policy standing, and the review of this specific application in the context of an entertainment cluster would be inappropriate.

·         16.2.12, Community Vision and Leadership
“Decisions and actions taken by Council and City staff, including public investments and service delivery, should be guided by the policies contained within the Official Plan and on the principles of a Healthy Community.”

The City has never invested in itself in the way that it is about to do.  The PWC reports, which recommended the City first pursue a new arena/event centre, and then recommended a downtown location as a priority, estimate that a public investment of up to $100 in capital funding may be needed to construct this new amenity.  Further operating losses (another form of public investment) of up to $800,000 annually can be expected. 

In short, a new arena/events centre is a public facility that is going to require the most massive investment that the City has ever made in itself.

This policy simply reminds Council that decisions related to public investments should be guided by the Official Plan.  That appears to be an important reminder, given that the June 27, 2017 decision of Council to select the Kingsway industrial area as the site of the new arena/events centre did not consider the strong direction of the Official Plan, Downtown Master Plan, and Economic Development Plan – all of which clearly point to a downtown public arena.

Council and staff should pay particular attention to Section 16.2.12, Community Vision and Leadership.

·         17.1, Economic Development, Objectives
“a. enhance the comparative advantage of the City in the global economy;”
Greater Sudbury, like many mid-sized cities, is chasing after knowledge-economy based jobs.  Our Official Plan and Economic Development Plan both refer to the importance of the knowledge economy for our prosperity.  Greater Sudbury is a City of Science, a City of Education and a City of Regional Health Care Services.  We also have one of the strongest mining and supply sectors of any City in the world.  Attracting and retaining knowledge-based workers to fill the jobs that we want to create here mean that the City has to pay particular attention to the needs and wants of those who are going to fill those jobs. 
The City’s Official Plan and Economic Development Plan have been designed with both in mind.  And a downtown arena is one of the elements identified as being useful for fostering the type of urban environment that knowledge-based workers are seeking.
In contrast, the Official Plan and Economic Development Plans, which have a lot to say about City-building for the 21st Century and the pursuit of knowledge-based economic development initiatives – these plans are silent with regards to how a new arena/events centre in an industrial area on our urban fringe would assist with achieving these outcomes.  The Plans are silent because such an approach would clearly be contrary to achieving those outcomes.
“b. encourage further diversification of the local economy, especially in the value-added sectors that generate new wealth for the community;”
Further diversification of the economy will be realized through pursuit of knowledge economy jobs.  
“c. facilitate a smooth transition into the knowledge economy;”
Retrofitting a City to better meet the needs of citizens in the 21st Century will be an expensive endeavor.  The City of Greater Sudbury is already at a disadvantage in many respects, due to the sprawl which has accrued around our numerous urban centres since the 1950s.  An automobile-based built form does not provide the kind of flexibility that knowledge-based workers – and indeed healthy citizens of all ages – need to prosper in the 21st Century. 
With this in mind, our efforts now should be on minimizing additional sprawl-based built-forms that will require expensive and costly retrofitting in the future.  Locating an important, wealth-generating landmark public facility in an industrial area on the urban fringe will not assist with facilitating a smooth transition to the knowledge economy.    However, continuing to locate the arena in the City’s livable downtown core will.   That approach is also in keeping with the City’s Official Plan and Economic Development Plan.
“d. ensure that a full range of infrastructure is in place to support economic development;”
There is already in existence a full range of municipal infrastructure available to service a new arena in the downtown.  Municipal services will need to be extended at cost to the municipality in order to realize the creation of an arena in a currently unserviced industrial area on the City’s urban fringe.

To be cost-effective, the City should be looking at opportunities to use existing infrastructure first, before considering extending infrastructure.

“e. enhance the conditions that encourage economic development by fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, encouraging lifelong learning and innovation, establishing a standard of excellence in all endeavours, nurturing human capital, and constantly improving the quality of life of the community;”

The Official Plan includes numerous policies regarding how to enhance the quality of life of community residents.  Many of these policies speak to how important, wealth-generating landmark public facilities like an arena should be centrally located, accessible by transit and active transportation, consider the equity needs of residents, and act in synergy with surrounding local businesses to help create prosperity.

There are no policies in the Official Plan which identify an arena in an industrial area on the urban fringe as enhancing the quality of life of the City and its residents.

“i. continue the development of Greater Sudbury as the Centre for Northeastern Ontario.”

The City’s downtown is the primary driver of public perception related to the City’s overall image, both here in the City and in a wider regional context.  The Official Plan indicates elsewhere that the downtown provides services to residents and to a larger regional area.  Enhancing our downtown through the development of quality of life facilities and amenities – and specifically through the creation of a new arena/events centre – is in keeping with the continued development and identification of Greater Sudbury as the capital of Northeastern Ontario.

The development of an arena/events centre in an industrial area on the urban fringe is not recommended by the City’s Official Plan or Economic Development Plan as a means of accomplishing this outcome.

·         17.5, Development Quality of Place
“Improving quality of place is directly tied to the success of our economic engines. Council must recognize the importance of recreation, arts and culture, and cultural diversity for attracting and retaining the creative talent that will contribute to the economic prosperity of the City and its entrepreneurial spirit. Given its impact on the City's image and appeal, the physical appearance of the urban landscape must be improved through a renewed focus on good urban design. Recognizing that quality of life is a key component of its economic development strategy, Council will strive to protect the community's natural environment, to improve its built form, and to enhance its social environment. The development of venues to showcase local and visiting talent, as well as our vibrant ethnic and cultural activities and organizations, is essential to improving quality of place. Special emphasis on creating a youth-friendly city is required.
1. Recognizing that quality of life is a key component of its economic development strategy, Council will strive to protect the community's natural environment, to improve its built from, and to enhance its social environment.”
This policy again links quality of place (as expressed through a vibrant arts, culture, recreation ad entertainment scente) with community prosperity.  Improving the City’s built-form and enhancing the social environment by providing a landmark public service facility that equitably services community residents will enhance the City’s social environment.  A downtown arena is in keeping with this initiative.  This application, which proposes a public service in a car-centred industrial area on the urban fringe of the City, will not enhance the social environment, or the image and appeal of our City.

“2. The development of venues to showcase local and visiting talent, as well as our vibrant ethnic and cultural activities and organizations, is essential to improving quality of place. Special emphasis on creating a youth-friendly city is required.”

As one of the primary attractions for people visiting the downtown core, the Sudbury Community Arena helps support many of the local venues that visiting and local talent rely on.  These venues contribute to quality of life experiences for residents.  The entire downtown is able to act in an integrated way, where arts, culture, recreation and entertainment are showcased.  Promoting the downtown as a hub for these activities, along with a healthy and vibrant retail/business/government services sectors and promoting residential uses, has been a priority of our Official Plan.

Further, a “youth-friendly” city is one where personal vehicles are not required for access, and transit and active transportation options exist in abundance. 

By shifting the arena out of the downtown and into an industrial area on the urban fringe, the City will have diminished the very arts/culture/entertainment hub that it has long sought to enhance.  It would be contrary to the City’s Official Plan.

Section 19, Finance
“To facilitate the implementation of the policies and programs of the Official Plan, council will:
a) Examine the financial impacts of all major development projects or proposals to ensure that they are financially sustainable”
b) Have regard for the programs contained in this Plan and give precedence to financing those programs which further Official Plan and policies;
c) Before undertaking a program, consider alternative proposals that meet the same objectives and evaluate their cost-effectiveness, taking into account capital, operating and maintenance costs.”

With respect to the Arena, there is no discussion regarding b), alternatives – there should be an assessment as to why existing programs and direction as per the Official Plan, Downtown Master Plan and 'From the Ground Up - gs2025' were abandoned in preference to the new direction to build in an industrial area.


With regards to financial sustainability, while the wording in the Official Plan doesn't make it explicit that financial sustainability applies to the municipality rather than simply a project, the term "sustainability" itself incorporates that idea.  To determine “sustainability”, a higher level of analysis is needed - it's something much bigger than simply asking the question whether the facility can continue to support itself.  "Sustainability" has to include a look at equity for citizens and economic development over the long term – development that does not negatively impact the needs of future generations.  When you include these ideas in the concept of “sustainability”, you end up in a different place that requires a much broader analysis than simply whether a facility might break-even until it’s no longer needed.


Further, based on the information provided by the applicant, it is not clear whether the application conforms to the following Official Plan policies:

Section 8, Water Resources

This section of the Official Plan seeks to protect and enhance water quality and quantity, and identifies drinking water sources as a priority.

The lands subject to this application are located within the Ramsey Lake watershed.  The Nickel District Conservation Authority’s Source Water Protection Plan identifies a threat to water quality for the Ramsey Lake drinking water source from the application of road salt.

The application proposes massive new surface parking facilities to accommodate the needs of more than 5,000 expected patrons.  These new parking facilities will likely be subject to the application of road salt.

The Official Plan identifies that sensitive surface water features will be protected from development through restrictions if necessary.  The Plan also sets out a watershed-based approach to planning.

Presently, the City is undertaking a subwatershed study for Ramsey Lake.  The findings of this study could help guide this development application, however this study has not yet been completed.

The applicant has not provided any technical studies which address how salt loading in Ramsey Lake will be minimized by this application.  As such, the application is premature and should not proceed until the subwatershed study is completed and appropriate technical studies that address water quality maintenance and enhancement have been produced.

Section 2 of the Planning Act - Provincial Interests

Section 2 of the Planning Act states, "The Minister, the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board and the Municipal Board, in carrying out their responsibilities under this Act, shall have regard to, among other matters, matters of provincial interest such as," and then lists a number of matters of provincial interests for decision makers to have regard to.

The zoning by-law amendment appears to not have regard to the following matters of provincial interest:

(a) the protection of ecological systems, including natural areas, features and functions;

(e) the supply, efficient use and conservation of energy and water;

(f) the adequate provision and efficient use of communication, transportation, sewage and water services and waste management systems;

(h) the orderly development of safe and healthy communities;

(i) the adequate provision and distribution of educational, health, social, cultural and recreational facilities;

(l) the protection of the financial and economic well-being of the Province and its municipalities;

(m) the co-ordination of planning activities of public bodies;

(n) the resolution of planning conflicts involving public and private interests;

(p) the appropriate location of growth and development;

(q) the promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, to support public transit and to be oriented to pedestrians;

(r) the promotion of built form that,
(i) is well-designed,
(ii) encourages a sense of place, and
(iii) provides for public spaces that are of high quality, safe, accessible, attractive and vibrant;

(s) the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to a changing climate

Northern Growth Plan 

Section 3 (5) of the Planning Act states, "A decision of the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board, a minister of the Crown and a ministry, board, commission or agency of the government, including the Municipal Board, in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter,
(b) shall conform with the provincial plans that are in effect on that date, or shall not conflict with them, as the case may be."

The Province of Ontario has developed the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011, to provide a strategic framework to help guide decision-makers and investment planning decisions throughout Northern Ontario.

The City of Greater Sudbury has been identified as an economic and service hub by the Minister.

Plan policies indicate that,

4.1, Communities – Preamble
“…achieving a healthy, prosperous future for the North.  This begins at the local level with establishing a clear vision for each community’s future, and mapping out a path to achieve this vision.  Official Plans, community economic plans and the participation in community planning efforts are effective tools and approaches to ensure citizens’ and businesses’ view are reflected in their communities’ future economic and long-term sustainability.”

This section of the Growth Plan outlines how community visions are to be mapped out, and identifies the importance of stakeholders in the planning process.

Here it must be noted that there was significant public input that went into the preparation of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan.  The 2013 Downtown Master Plan benefitted from a comprehensive and dynamic public engagement process – one that I was pleased to participate in.  And “From the Ground Up – gs2025”, the City’s economic development plan, was also subject to a dynamic public engagement process, where citizens were able to participate in meaningful ways that ultimately informed the Plan.

In contrast, there was no public process in the lead-up to the City’s selection of the Kingsway as the site for a new arena/events centre.  Instead, those like me who had participated in public engagement processes with the City that led to a more fulsome articulation of policies to support the health, well-being and prosperity of the City’s downtown area felt that Council’s decision on June 27, 2017 was akin to a slap in the face.  In short, by selecting the Kingsway, Council broke its public promise as articulated in plan policy.  That promise now should be restored, in absence of policy direction that supports Council’s decision – and this application for zoning amendment.

Of further note, the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario is clearly drawing a linkage between land use planning and planning for economic development. In this context, to demonstrate consistency or a lack of conflict with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, other community-based planning initiatives, like our Economic Development Plan and the Downtown Master Plan, must be considered as part of any development application review.

This zoning application is not in keeping with the clear direction for the development of a public service facility in the form of a community arena, as articulated in the City’s Official Plan, the Downtown Master Plan, and the City’s Economic Development Plan.  It is therefore also not consistent with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.

“4.3.2, Economic and service hubs should be designed to,
b) function as service centres that deliver important region-wide public services to the broader surrounding region;
c) function as economic hubs linking Northern Ontario with other significant economic regions in Ontario and beyond

4.3.3, Economic and service hubs shall maintain updated official plans and develop other supporting documents which include strategies for:
c) improving access to public services by local residents and by residents of surrounding communities;
e) providing for a range of transportation options;
f) enhancing community identify, vibrancy and cultural amenities”

Taken together, the economic and service hub policies of the Northern Growth Plan are largely addressed through the strong Official Plan policy direction of the Greater Sudbury’s plan that identifies the downtown as an important economic and business/government services hub for municipal and regional residents, and contributes to municipal identity in the region and beyond.

Further, the City of Greater Sudbury’s Official Plan includes a number of policies related to access for important public facilities.

Policies in the City’s plan that seek to enhance the provision of transportation choices are also in keeping with the economic and service hub policies of the Northern Growth Plan.

However, the application for zoning amendment, which seeks to move an important public facility out of the City’s downtown core and into an industrial area on the urban fringe conflicts with the economic and service hub policies of the Northern Growth Plan.

4.4, Strategic Core Areas – although not specifically identified at this time as a “strategic core area” in keeping with the Northern Growth Plan, due to the lack of a conformity exercise, the City of Greater Sudbury’s downtown is clearly intended to be a strategic core area as per the Growth Plan.
4.4.4, Strategic core areas with a revitalization strategy in place incorporated into an official plan should be the preferred location for major capital investments in,
c) major redevelopment projects;
e) major cultural institutions and entertainment facilities.

Clearly, the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario contemplates that downtown “strategic core areas” of economic and service hubs should be the focus of public investment.  The Plan specifically identifies the redevelopment of major projects (like the Sudbury Community Arena) and investment in cultural and entertainment facilities.

The lands subject to the application for zoning amendment are not located in a strategic core area, and an industrial area on the fringe of the City would not be in keeping with the definition of a strategic core area.  As such, the application conflicts with the Growth Plan, which seeks to locate this kind of arena/events centre public facility in core areas of large municipalities, like Greater Sudbury’s downtown.


Identify section that references other plans

The Provincial Policy Statement

Section 3 (5) of the Planning Act states, "A decision of the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board, a minister of the Crown and a ministry, board, commission or agency of the government, including the Municipal Board, in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter,
(a) shall be consistent with the policy statements issued under subsection (1) that are in effect on the date of the decision;"

The Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 was issued under section 3 of the Planning Act, and was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, Order in Council No. 107/104.  It came into effect on April 30, 2014, and remains in effect.  The Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 (the "PPS") provides policy direction on matters of provincial interest and land use planning.

Section 6 of the PPS defines "public service facilities" as "land, buildings and structure for the provision of programs and services provided or subsidized by a government or other body, such as social assistance, recreation, police and fire protection, health and educational programs, and cultural services.  Public service facilities do not include infrastructure."

Part III of the PPS,"How to Read the Provincial Policy Statement", states that,

"The Provincial Policy Statement is more than a set of individual policies. It is to be read in its entirety and the relevant policies are to be applied to each situation. When more than one policy is relevant, a decision-maker should consider all of the relevant policies to understand how they work together. The language of each policy, including the Implementation and Interpretation policies, will assist decision-makers in understanding how the policies are to be implemented."

and, 

"There is no implied priority in the order in which the policies appear."

Part IV of the PPS, Vision for Ontario's Land Use Planning System, states, in part, 

"The long-term prosperity and social well-being of Ontario depends upon planning for strong, sustainable and resilient communities for people of all ages, a clean and healthy environment, and a strong and competitive economy."

and, 

"Efficient development patterns optimize the use of land, resources and public investment in infrastructure and public service facilities. These land use patterns promote a mix of housing, including affordable housing, employment, recreation, parks and open spaces, and transportation choices that increase the use of active transportation and transit before
other modes of travel. They also support the financial well-being of the Province and municipalities over the long term, and minimize the undesirable effects of development, including impacts on air, water and other resources. Strong, liveable and healthy communities promote and enhance human health and social well-being, are economically and environmentally sound, and are resilient to climate change."

The development of a community events centre on lands subject to the proposed zoning by-law amendment appears to be contrary to the Vision for Ontario's Land Use Planning System.  

The following Policies found in Part V of the PPS are applicable to the proposed zoning by-law amendment:

1.0 Building Strong Healthy Communities
Ontario is a vast province with urban, rural, and northern communities with diversity in population, economic activities, pace of growth, service levels and physical and natural conditions. Ontario's long-term prosperity, environmental health and social well-being depend on wisely managing change and promoting efficient land use and development patterns. Efficient land use and development patterns support sustainability by promoting strong, liveable, healthy and resilient communities, protecting the environment and public health and safety, and facilitating economic growth.

1.1.1 Healthy, liveable and safe communities are sustained by:
a) promoting efficient development and land use patterns which sustain the financial well-being of the Province and municipalities over the long term;
b) accommodating an appropriate range and mix of residential (including second units, affordable housing and housing for older persons), employment (including industrial and commercial), institutional (including places of worship, cemeteries and long-term care homes), recreation, park and open space, and other uses to meet long-term needs;
c) avoiding development and land use patterns which may cause environmental or public health and safety concerns
e) promoting cost-effective development patterns and standards to minimize land consumption and servicing costs;
g) ensuring that necessary infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities are or will be available to meet current and projected needs; and
h) promoting development and land use patterns that conserve biodiversity and consider the impacts of a changing climate.


1.1.2 Sufficient land shall be made available to accommodate an appropriate range and mix of land uses to meet projected needs for a time horizon of up to 20 years. However, where an alternate time period has been established for specific areas of the Province as a result of a provincial planning exercise or a provincial plan, that time frame may be used for municipalities within the area. Within settlement areas, sufficient land shall be made available through intensification and redevelopment and, if necessary, designated growth areas. Nothing in policy 1.1.2 limits the planning for infrastructure and public service facilities beyond a 20-year time horizon. 

1.1.3.3 Planning authorities shall identify appropriate locations and promote opportunities for intensification and redevelopment where this can be accommodated taking into account existing building stock or areas, including brownfield sites, and the availability of suitable existing or planned infrastructure and public service facilities required to accommodate projected needs.

1.1.3.4 Appropriate development standards should be promoted which facilitate intensification, redevelopment and compact form, while avoiding or mitigating risks to public health and safety

1.1.3.6 New development taking place in designated growth areas should occur adjacent to the existing built-up area and shall have a compact form, mix of uses and densities that allow for the efficient use of land, infrastructure and public service facilities. 

1.1.3.7 Planning authorities shall establish and implement phasing policies to ensure:
a) that specified targets for intensification and redevelopment are achieved prior to, or concurrent with, new development within designated growth areas; and b) the orderly progression of development within designated growth areas and the timely provision of the infrastructure and public service facilities required to meet current and projected needs.

1.2 Coordination
1.2.1 A coordinated, integrated and comprehensive approach should be used when dealing with planning matters within municipalities, across lower, single and/or upper-tier municipal boundaries, and with other orders of government, agencies and boards including:
a) managing and/or promoting growth and development;
b) economic development strategies;
c) managing natural heritage, water, agricultural, mineral, and cultural
heritage and archaeological resources;
d) infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, multimodal transportation systems, public service facilities and waste management systems; 

1.2.3 Planning authorities should coordinate emergency management and other economic, environmental and social planning considerations to support efficient and resilient communities.

1.3 Employment
1.3.1 Planning authorities shall promote economic development and competitiveness by:
a) providing for an appropriate mix and range of employment and institutional uses to meet long-term needs;
b) providing opportunities for a diversified economic base, including maintaining a range and choice of suitable sites for employment uses which support a wide range of economic activities and ancillary uses, and take into account the needs of existing and future businesses;
c) encouraging compact, mixed-use development that incorporates compatible employment uses to support liveable and resilient communities; and
d) ensuring the necessary infrastructure is provided to support current and projected needs.

1.5.1 Healthy, active communities should be promoted by:
a) planning public streets, spaces and facilities to be safe, meet the needs of pedestrians, foster social interaction and facilitate active transportation and community connectivity;
b) planning and providing for a full range and equitable distribution of publicly-accessible built and natural settings for recreation, including facilities, parklands, public spaces, open space areas, trails and linkages, and, where practical, water-based resources;

1.6 Infrastructure and Public Service Facilities
1.6.1 Infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities shall be provided in a coordinated, efficient and cost-effective manner that considers impacts from climate change while accommodating projected needs. Planning for infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities shall be coordinated and integrated with land use planning so that they are:
a) financially viable over their life cycle, which may be demonstrated through asset management planning; and
b) available to meet current and projected needs.
1.6.2 Planning authorities should promote green infrastructure to complement infrastructure.
1.6.3 Before consideration is given to developing new infrastructure and public service
facilities:
a) the use of existing infrastructure and public service facilities should be optimized; and
b) opportunities for adaptive re-use should be considered, wherever feasible.
1.6.4 Infrastructure and public service facilities should be strategically located to support the effective and efficient delivery of emergency management services.
1.6.5 Public service facilities should be co-located in community hubs, where appropriate, to promote cost-effectiveness and facilitate service integration, access to transit and active transportation. 

1.6.6 Sewage, Water and Stormwater
1.6.6.1 Planning for sewage and water services shall:
a) direct and accommodate expected growth or development in a manner that promotes the efficient use and optimization of existing:
1. municipal sewage services and municipal water services;

1.6.6.7 Planning for stormwater management shall:
a) minimize, or, where possible, prevent increases in contaminant loads;
c) not increase risks to human health and safety and property damage;
d) maximize the extent and function of vegetative and pervious surfaces;
and
e) promote stormwater management best practices, including stormwater attenuation and re-use, and low impact development.

1.6.7 Transportation Systems
1.6.7.1 Transportation systems should be provided which are safe, energy efficient, facilitate the movement of people and goods, and are appropriate to address projected needs.

1.6.7.3 As part of a multimodal transportation system, connectivity within and among transportation systems and modes should be maintained and, where possible, improved including connections which cross jurisdictional boundaries.
1.6.7.4 A land use pattern, density and mix of uses should be promoted that minimize the length and number of vehicle trips and support current and future use of transit and active transportation.
1.6.7.5 Transportation and land use considerations shall be integrated at all stages of the planning process.

1.6.11 Energy Supply
1.6.11.1 Planning authorities should provide opportunities for the development of energy supply including electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, to accommodate current and projected needs.
1.6.11.2 Planning authorities should promote renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems, where feasible, in accordance with provincial and federal requirements. 

1.7 Long-Term Economic Prosperity
1.7.1 Long-term economic prosperity should be supported by:
a) promoting opportunities for economic development and community investment-readiness;
b) optimizing the long-term availability and use of land, resources, infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities;
c) maintaining and, where possible, enhancing the vitality and viability of downtowns and mainstreets;
d) encouraging a sense of place, by promoting well-designed built form and cultural planning, and by conserving features that help define character, including built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes;
f) providing for an efficient, cost-effective, reliable multimodal transportation system that is integrated with adjacent systems and those of other jurisdictions, and is appropriate to address projected needs to support the movement of goods and people;
g) providing opportunities for sustainable tourism development; 
i) promoting energy conservation and providing opportunities for development of renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems, including district energy;
j) minimizing negative impacts from a changing climate and considering the ecological benefits provided by nature

1.8 Energy Conservation, Air Quality and Climate Change
1.8.1 Planning authorities shall support energy conservation and efficiency, improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change adaptation through land use and development patterns which:
a) promote compact form and a structure of nodes and corridors;
b) promote the use of active transportation and transit in and between residential, employment (including commercial and industrial) and institutional uses and other areas;
c) focus major employment, commercial and other travel-intensive land uses on sites which are well served by transit where this exists or is to be developed, or designing these to facilitate the establishment of transit in the future;
f) promote design and orientation which:
1. maximizes energy efficiency and conservation, and considers the mitigating effects of vegetation; and
2. maximizes opportunities for the use of renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems;

2.2 Water
2.2.1 Planning authorities shall protect, improve or restore the quality and quantity of water by:
a) using the watershed as the ecologically meaningful scale for integrated and long-term planning, which can be a foundation for considering cumulative impacts of development;
b) minimizing potential negative impacts, including cross-jurisdictional and cross-watershed impacts;
e) implementing necessary restrictions on development and site alteration to:
1. protect all municipal drinking water supplies and designated vulnerable areas; and
h) ensuring stormwater management practices minimize stormwater volumes and contaminant loads, and maintain or increase the extent of vegetative and pervious surfaces.

2.2.2 Development and site alteration shall be restricted in or near sensitive surface water features and sensitive ground water features such that these features and their related hydrologic functions will be protected, improved or restored. Mitigative measures and/or alternative development approaches may be required in order to protect, improve or restore sensitive surface water features,
sensitive ground water features, and their hydrologic functions.

4.7 The official plan is the most important vehicle for implementation of this Provincial Policy Statement. Comprehensive, integrated and long-term planning is best achieved through official plans.
Official plans shall identify provincial interests and set out appropriate land use designations and policies. To determine the significance of some natural heritage features and other resources, evaluation may be required. Official plans should also coordinate cross-boundary matters to complement the actions of other planning authorities and promote mutually beneficial solutions. Official plans shall provide clear, reasonable and attainable policies to protect provincial interests and direct development to suitable areas.

In order to protect provincial interests, planning authorities shall keep their official plans up-to-date with this Provincial Policy Statement. The policies of thisProvincial Policy Statement continue to apply after adoption and approval of an official plan.

Conclusion

The application filed by 1916596 Ontario Ltd . to amend the City's zoning by-law to permit a “recreation and community centre” on the subject lands does not have regard to Section 2 of the Planning Act, is not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, is not consistent and does conflict with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, does not conform to the City of Greater Sudbury's Official Plan, is not in keeping with the development direction of the City as expressed through public consultation that informed and led to the acceptance by the City of the Downtown Master Plan and “From the Ground Up”, the City's economic development plan, and it does not represent good planning.

Conformity with the City’s Official Plan, consistency with the PPS and Northern Growth Plan, and regard to Section 2 of the Planning Act cannot be demonstrated through planning rationale that suggests institutional uses are permitted throughout the municipality, and that therefore this specific institutional use is appropriate for this specific location, as this approach is contrary to Official Plan policy Section 20.5.2 which pertains to Rezoning Applications, and which indicates, “It shall be the policy of Council to ensure  that the Zoning By-law and amendments thereto conform with this Plan. To this end, it is the intent of Council to evaluate each rezoning application according to all applicable policies – simple conformity with land use designation does not automatically guarantee a rezoning to the proposed use.”

Further, such an approach ignores the overwhelming policy direction found in the City’s Official Plan that would direct this kind of public service facility to the City’s Downtown.  Similarly, the approach ignores the policies of the Northern Growth Plan for redevelopment initiatives and the development of entertainment facilities.  Ultimately, that approach is not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 and does not have regard to Section 2 of the Planning Act.

For all of the above reasons, Council should refuse the proposed zoning amendment.

Please provide me with Notice of Council’s decision with regards to this matter.