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St. Clair: Another Technicality Piled Onto the First

Whoops. Another legal technicality could swing the St. Clair private right-of-way decision in its favour. After ruling that the project should be put on hold because the City approved it based on a 2002 Official Plan that hadn’t yet been approved by the OMB, the City is seeking to have the decision set aside and re-heard because of a possible conflict of interest on the part of one of the judges.

The Toronto Star has further details. Apparently, Justice Ted Matlow neglected to disclose that he had been the head of a active Forest Hill community association that had dealt with City officials before.

It is important to note that the community association itself (and Justice Matlow’s communications with Mayor Miller) did not have anything to do with the private right-of-way project, but it can be argued that the Justice stands to be personally affected by the project, which could raise questions over how unbiased he could reasonably be.

Even if the three judges refuse to recuse themselves and stay their decision as a result of this revelation, the City has greater leave to appeal the decision as a result.

Personal Commentary

I’m sure supporters of the right-of-way are delighted at this sudden and strong sign of life in this project, but I don’t appreciate the soap-opera nature of this revelation and the taint it adds to everything. Earlier, I criticized the Save our St. Clair group for toppling a democratically-based decision on the basis of a legal technicality. It would be hypocritical of me to take delight in a legal technicality that just happened to go my way.

There are plenty of good reasons to support the right-of-way project. I honestly believe it is good for the community, and vital for the future health of the City of Toronto. Rather than wrangle through dirty fights in the courts, it would be nice if all parties sat down at last and came to a compromise that addressed opponents’ concerns and finally got this right-of-way built.

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