Cambridge council pauses MZO approvals until city incorporates public input policy
Cambridge city hall is seen in this undated image.
KITCHENER -- Cambridge council is refusing all Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) requests until the city has a public consultation policy in place for those requests.
The motion was unanimously approved by council Tuesday night. City staff are now being asked to develop policies that allow for public consultation, heritage impact assessments and consultation with agencies before a MZO goes to council for support.
A MZO allows the province to bypass local planning authorities in order to fast-track development.
The decision to pause all MZO approvals in Cambridge comes after council supported a MZO for a massive warehouse in the Village of Blair last month.
"I feel that I am betrayed," said Ehab Eskander after last month’s approval. Eskander lives in the area and is among many residents worried about the possibility of increased levels of noise, pollution and traffic because of the warehouse.
Several delegates spoke to council Tuesday night, voicing their concerns about how the current MZO process ignores any input from the public.
“Are we no longer going to support a democratic planning process? Is that not our foundation? Our core beliefs?” asked delegate Ed Vos “Or am I just naïve?”
The motion asks for the policies to be brought back to council by the end of the year.