The MCA and the Minaki residents have prevailed in their appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board, vacating the Provincial approval of the Minaki on the River project.
After 11 days of hearings and presentations on local context and character, sewage flows, Minaki’s tourism industry, permanent vs. seasonal residences, boating and recreational water use, First Nations’ concerns, and the cultural heritage landscape of the golf course, the OMB member based her ruling on one threshold issue — that without municipal backup, private communal sewage treatment is not allowed in unorganized territory under section 188.8.131.52 of the Provincial Policy Statement. Since the redevelopment proposal required that 138 condominium units and a restaurant, all separately owned, share the use of the Lodge treatment plant with no municipal support, the project could not proceed.
For orderly development in unorganized territory generally, and for the Lodge site specifically, that is the best possible basis for the reversal. With that ruling, residential subdivisions in unorganized territory need to arrange for sewage treatment for each lot through a private septic system within that lot. The result is a practical check on subdivision density.
Having disposed of the redevelopment on that critical point, the OMB member did not rule on any of the other issues to which most of the hearing was devoted.
The developers have asked for leave to appeal the OMB ruling to Divisional Court. The MCA and the residents believe that there is no basis for judicial review of the OMB administrative decision.