Word is leaking out that the TTC and the City have won the battle to start construction on the St. Clair right-of-way. Further links to related articles will be posted as soon as the Old Media catches up to us. Here’s one from the CP Wire. If you wish to download PDFs of the court’s decision click here.
Here’s some analysis from Joe Travers of Biking Toronto:
…the Ministry of the Environment ruled that a certain kind of environmental assessment wasn’t needed for ROW construction, and Save Our St. Clair (SOS) thinks this is illegal. As well, SOS claimed that the St. Clair ROW preliminary work (ie. environmental assessments, public consultations, etc.) was done in the time period between the amalgamation of Metro Toronto (which had an old Official Plan from 1994 which didn’t identify St. Clair as a “rapid transit” route) and the adoption of a new Official Plan (which did identify St. Clair in 2001 as one of many avenues where public transit should have a priority), construction of the ROW was illegal.
The Divisional Court’s decision first mentions that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on Jan 26, 2006 ruled that while the new Official Plan wasn’t “official” in the formal sense, it was still valid in terms of urban planning theory. The court then goes on to politely, um, “dis” the SOS group, saying that they have no leg to stand on regarding challenging the Ministry of the Environment’s decision about the environmental assessment:
SOS in this application is now inviting the Court to indirectly call into question the expertise and experience of the Minister . The Minister’s order of June 3, 2005 approving the Project is not the subject of this application . We decline the invitation to review the issues raised by SOS in respect of the Class EA process and in respect to the environmental issues, as they are a collateral attack on the Minister’s decision .
The Courts will not review decisions of Ministers of the Crown unless it were demonstrated that they were made in bad faith or that the Minister clearly failed to comply with the statutory conditions.