Getting anything from the Land Tribunal that helps tell the story - pull teeth from hens is easier

By Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario Land Tribunal hearing on the plans for two 31 and 36 storey towers will resume on Thursday.

The plan is to tear down the existing hotel and build the two towers on the left – one at 31 storeys and the other at 36 storeys – each sitting on a 3 level podium. The two towers will be separated by a wide pathway leading the the eastern side of Spencer Smith Park.

They are close to hearing all the expert witness testimony and the cross examination of each witness.  Tedious stuff until we are able to match up with what a witness says and what comes out when that witness is crossed examined.

There are all kinds of images, renderings and designs that help tell the story.

Using that material has proven to be a problem.

As media we are required to work with the media specialists at the OLT.  Turns out they have a bunch of rules that we are required to follow – failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $20,000 – which is a little on the rich side for us.

In order to publish what we hear we have to get permission from the OLT Member (Member is the tile given to the person(s) hearing the case before the tribunal.

Problem with that is – we can’t communicate with the Member.

A meeting last week started with the Member saying:

 “In accordance with the tribunals rules of practice and procedure, specifically rules 22.5 to 22.7. No person shall take or attempt to take a photograph a motion picture of video recording, or other recording capable of producing audio or visual representations by electronic means, or otherwise at any Proceedings of the tribunal open to the public, unless the presiding tribunal unit number authorizes the recording.

“The tribunal’s rules require any such request to be made prior to the start of the hearing. And no requests have been made, nor authorized and as such, any of these actions are prohibited in this hearing. Failure to respect this prohibition constitutes an offence under Section 29 of the statutory powers and Procedures Act and potentially exposes a person to significant fines if found in contravention.”

Here is what the OLT media people have told us – they are very firm in the instructions they give.

Please note that contacting a Tribunal Member outside of the hearing event is not allowed as doing so could compromise, or appear to compromise, the neutrality and independence of the OLT and its Members, and their ability to provide natural justice.

If a member of the public wishes to make a request to record, they may contact the Case Coordinator. Requests from media, should be sent to our media inbox media.olt@ontario.ca.

Please see the answer to your questions below:

Question: May we have permission to use some of the images that appear?

During the examination of one of the City witnesses we learned that the grading of the slope that is part of the pathway between the two towers is expected to be similar to the terracing at the Bridgewater development yards to the east. Are people going to be able to get down steps like these easily? Photo credit: Gazette photo bank

The Member presiding over the Hearing in respect to Case No. OLT-22-003866, has advised those in attendance and observing the video hearing that in accordance with the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, specifically Rules 22.5 to 22.7, no person shall take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, video recording or other recording capable of producing audio or visual representations by electronic means, or otherwise, at any proceedings of the Tribunal open to the public, unless the presiding Tribunal Member authorizes the recording.

The request has been denied by the presiding Member.

Failure to respect this prohibition constitutes an offence under section 29 of the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act, and potentially exposes a person found in contravention to significant fines.

Please note that images contained in the case documents that are not subject to a confidentiality order are public records and can be shared pursuant to open court principles. However, using images captured via screenshot during a video hearing event is prohibited. As an alternative, please feel free to reach out to us to request images or documents that may be part of the public record for this case, and we will be happy to share them with you.

This is the part of the development that will present all kinds of problems. The entrance to the Pearle Hotel is on the left – the entrance to the hotel that will be part of the development will be on the right. Photo credit: Gazette photo bank

The difficulty with this is – in order to get the picture we want we have to tell them when the picture was shown and tell them which book of documents it is in and any other data needed to identify the picture.  This is not a small task. The documents at this point are in the thousands of pages.

However, this development is important and the public should know what is planned and what information was used to make whatever decision the tribunal is going to make.

The tribunal instructs us with this statement:

If you need to quote from this statement, please note that quotes should be attributed as an Ontario Land Tribunal spokesperson.

 

 

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2 comments to Getting anything from the Land Tribunal that helps tell the story – pulling teeth from hens is easier

  • Fran - ward 1 - tyandaga

    The OLT needs to be disbanded. It’s ineffective for the community at large and municipalities, and a substantial cost burden to the taxpayers.

    When developers purchase land and have plans and sit on it for years they should follow standard by-laws and not go crying to the OLT at significant cost when they don’t get their way.

    Disgusting!

  • Anonymous

    Unbelievable….

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