Local residents invited to form Toronto’s first Planning Review Panel

Thousands of Torontonians will begin receiving letters in their mailboxes today inviting them to volunteer to join the City’s inaugural Planning Review Panel. Toronto’s City Planning Division is launching the Planning Review Panel, an innovative process that will empower 28 randomly-selected Toronto residents to learn about city planning and offer input on a wide range of city issues.

“We all want the best for Toronto and are constantly striving to improve. The City’s Planning Division is seeking greater input from a broader cross section of people to provide their perspective on city planning,” said Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24 Willowdale), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. “Whether you reside in a home, an apartment, townhouse, condominium, or any other type of housing, the Planning Review Panel is an opportunity for residents to directly provide input on planning choices that will shape the future of our city.”

Members will be chosen by randomly selecting names from among the pool of volunteers who respond to the 12,000 letters sent to households across the city — a process called a Civic Lottery. The panel will be as diverse as Toronto itself, with equal representation of both men and women, as well as people of all ages, homeowners and renters, and people who identify as visible minorities. The panel will also include at least one Aboriginal member.

The review panel will meet 16 times over the course of two years. During meetings, members will learn from independent experts and share their perspectives with City staff about important planning issues related to transportation, zoning for new homes and businesses, neighbourhood density and character, historic buildings, and the locations of libraries, community centres, parks and other neighbourhood amenities.

“We are working to make Toronto the most engaged city in North America,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner and City Planning Executive Director. “Our city’s motto is ‘Diversity Our Strength’ yet we know traditional planning processes don’t always hear equally from Toronto’s many communities. The Planning Review Panel is an exciting way to bring new voices to the table, as a complement to the hundreds of consultations we host each year.”

The deadline for letter recipients to enter the Civic Lottery is October 6. The inaugural Toronto Planning Review Panel will begin work later in the fall.

Learn more about the Toronto Planning Review Panel.