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Economic Benefits Questioned at OMB Hearing

2 June 2016 No Comment

On the sixth day of the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”) hearing regarding the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds the OMB heard the opinions of both Mr. Arthur Churchyard, a policy advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (“OMAFRA”), and Dr. Peter Tomlinson regarding the temporary use by-law proposed for Burl’s Creek and the economic impact of the events happening there.

Mr. Churchyard’s analysis focused at length on Section 2.3.6 of the Provincial Policy Statement, which lays out a number of tests any proposal would need to meet to get a green light from OMAFRA.

“There needs to be an actual land-use argument about whether there is a demand for a site,” Churchyard said. “I would not be able to support this proposed use as being consistent with (Section) 2.3.6.”

Mr. Churchyard challenged Burl’s Creek’s market analysis in that it did not go far enough to assess the demand for such uses beyond ticket sales for the events and that it did not go far enough to look for alternative sites for such events.

When Dr. Tomlinson took the stand he began his testimony by telling the board the camping and parking being considered under the temporary use by-law were actually a drain on the local economy, when looked at on their own.

“The concerts provide the economic benefits,” he said. “The camping on-site is probably — considered on its own — a negative economic impact … simply because of the on-site camping penning the attendees in the event grounds, where there are no in-and-out privileges and where they’re compelled to buy their food and beverages the organizers bring onto the event grounds.”

The hearing adjourned at the conclusion of Dr. Tomlinson’s testimony, with a resumption date to be determined.

Read the news coverage here.

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