Best Wishes for a Healthy and Happy 2019 by Shirley Dolan

Published January 1, 2019
Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan

Best wishes from the Ontario Landowners Association to our friends, neighbours, members, and supporters for a healthy and happy new year.

The OLA has had another successful year promoting property rights and advocating for legislative change to bad laws. Many of you have been following our charter challenge of the OSPCA Act (www.fixthelaw.ca) and have contributed to help us complete this court case. The application to the courts, started in October 2013, finally concluded this year when our case was heard in May. A decision is expected by mid-January 2019. Thanks to all of you for your support!

The OLA hosted two successful General Meetings in 2018 as we do most years. We do the Spring Directors’ Meeting in April and an Annual General Meeting in October. This year’s AGM was particularly significant as Tom Black stepped down as President after seven years. We
are fortunate to have Jeff Bogearts, a long time Landowner and member of the Executive step up as Interim President. An experienced OLA member, Jeff is also a paralegal and is often in court defending clients against charges from Conservation Authorities.

We continue to communicate with our members and the public at large through our online newsletter and our Facebook page. Thanks to all who send us stories for the newsletter or to post on our Facebook page.

We have also had some changes at the County group level and it is encouraging to see people step up to lead an OLA chapter. County groups are the foundation of the OLA. You are the “boots on the ground” of the organization. You go to Council meetings and speak out, get the word out about what municipalities are doing to damage our property rights, stand together to fight against bad by-laws and legislation, and spread the word locally about the OLA and property rights. Our sincere thanks go out to the local groups for everything you do!

This year also saw the end of the McGuinty/Wynne government in Ontario, replaced by what is hopefully a government friendlier to the rights of property owners. Several County groups are making connections with their new MPPs to help them understand the damage that has been done to landowners over the past 15 years. One of the biggest issues we have is, of course, the Conservation Authorities, but there are also Official Plans and zoning bylaws unfriendly to property rights.

Is it possible that we could see some change over the course of the next three and a half years left to the current government’s mandate that would turn back the clock on some of the land use planning policies that reduce the value of our properties and interfere with our right to use and enjoy our land?

The McGuinty/Wynne government took a 2003 report called Small, Rural and Remote Communities: the Anatomy of Risk and basically used it as a blueprint to start shutting down rural Ontario. The result was the 2005 and 2014 Provincial Policy Statements which aggressively
restricts development in rural areas.

Is it time to review the Provincial Policy Statement which is the authority used by municipal planners to designate and zone private property as provincial significant wetlands and provincially significant woodlands?

Best wishes for the New Year and thank you for your continued hard work for property rights!

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