Sometime "early in the new year" the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) will start publishing its meetings and agendas using the City of Ottawa's existing e-Agenda tool. Currently the CoA has no online presense and residents have no independent way to access information about upcoming applications, or CoA decisions.
I've been following the CoA's website project for quite some time. In June 2013 the CoA was alreayd working with city IT staff to get online with a projected completion date in 2013. A statement from staff at that time:
The Committee of Adjustment is currently working on a web presence initiative with City IT staff to have its agendas as well as other information posted on the City’s web page.
Along with the Ottawa Public Library, Police Board and Public Health, we are adopting the new e-Agenda solution implemented by the City Clerk’s office, however, there have been ongoing delays with our project and at times, work has been suspended while issues with the City Clerk’s e-Agenda program are dealt with first.
As a result, we anticipate completion of the project by the end of 2013.
I followed up in early December, only to learn that issues with the e-Agenda software were holding things up. The CoA project was getting pushed back in order to focus on Council use of the system instead. The staff statement from December 2013:
The Committee of Adjustment project continues being delayed because issues surrounding the e-Agenda for Council are given first priority.
Given that these delays are outside of our control, we are hesitant to provide a precise date for completion of this work, however, we can assure you that this project remains a priority for us and that we are working diligently with the software firm and City IT staff in trying to move the project forward.
I figured the 2016 draft budget time was a good time to ask for an update. The city now says the Committee of Adjustment will join Council and its committees as a user of the e-Agenda system "early in the new year". Here is the full statement, to be attributed to Committee Vice-Chairs, Mr. Martin Vervoort and Ms. Ann Tremblay:
The Committee of Adjustment remains committed to publishing its Hearing agendas online.
The approved 2015 Operating Budget identified funding for the production of documents suitable for electronic distribution, in accordance with the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This funding is to be carried forward in 2016.
With the majority of the project challenges now resolved, we look forward to publishing Committee of Adjustment agendas on the e-Agenda website, complete with accompanying documents, early in the New Year.
So CoA plans to get online early in 2016, bringing residents in from the cold when it comes to knowing what "minor" variances are being applied for around their neighbourhood, or in places across town that they care about.
It is unclear right now if the Hearing Agendas will include details on the applications being made, or if each item will only include the summary that is already distributed to local media. Today if a resident wants to see the detailed plans for a CoA application they have to physically go to the CoA office at Constellation Drive and look at the paper copies.
Hopefully the CoA is taking this opportunity to release all of the information at once. If not, that is a lost opportunity. We'll know soon.