The Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods is a province-wide volunteer-based umbrella organization of community and neighbourhood associations. We promote awareness of urban issues, undertake projects which will enhance quality of life for residents of urban settings, maintain a resource base for information, share expertise, represent the common interests of member organizations before public and private bodies as well as to encourage citizens to actively participate in and become informed about community and civic affairs.

NEWS

Action Alert – Dominion Foundry Comments deadline March 4th

As agreed by all parties — the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA), the City, and the Province — the hearing has been adjourned (postponed) to give all parties more time to come to some kind of resolution. If they can’t reach a resolution, another court date will be set and the hearing will proceed.

This is great news (for now) because the parties have also agreed that the Interim Order will remain in effect. In other words, the province can’t continue with the demolition while we are discussing resolution.

In the meantime, the Province initiated a one-way “consultation” process which continues until March 4, with the province asking for community input. Using their “consultation” link write to the province today, letting them know this isn’t good enough. A regular two-way dialogue with the community must take place, something we have asked for since October. The process calls for submitting a letter in PDF or Word format – we have prepared a template that you can use as the base for your letter.

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Highway 413 – Back from the dead

(Environmental Defense, February 4, 2021) The zombie highway, Highway 413 is back from the dead. And this time it brought company.

The Ontario government has revived long-cancelled proposals to build two major highways: Highway 413 between Milton and Vaughan, and the Holland Marsh Highway – also known as the Bradford Bypass – that would run above Newmarket and straight through the Holland Marsh!

The Holland Marsh Highway was shelved in the early 2000s and was recently revived to go ahead – without updating the environmental assessment that was done nearly a quarter of a century ago. Meanwhile, Highway 413 was cancelled in 2018 after an expert panel found that the damage to Ontario’s communities, Greenbelt, farmland and water quality would far outweigh its benefits.

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The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Needs to Lead by Example When It Comes to Protecting Ontario’s Environment: Auditor General

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks needs to do more in leading by example on the environmental front by supporting, promoting and administering the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR Act) in a more fulsome manner, concluded Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in her 2020 Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights.

The report found examples by multiple government ministries of non-compliance with their responsibilities under the EBR Act that prevented its effective operation in 2019/20. The report states some ministries are still not posting environmentally significant proposals on the Environmental Registry or giving the public enough time to respond when they do.

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FUN response to request for comments on MZO implementation

The Ontario government can now extend its control beyond the matter of site specific zoning permission to all site details. Yet the government has not provided a principled rationale for why it has done so. Planning is the responsibility of municipalities within the framework of broad Provincial policies to allow municipalities the flexibility to deal with their issues and priorities.

The overriding question is why and when should MZOs be used in the first place. This government is using MZOs far more often than any government in the past. By making over 30 MZOs since its election in 2018, the current government appears to have decided that municipalities cannot be trusted to implement provincial priorities such as “affordable housing, long term care homes and other health care facilities”, and that the government feels it necessary to make decisions unilaterally and override the due process (including community participation) of local planning by municipalities. MZOs do not require community consultations, or to require the provision of any community benefits.

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Draft Northern Ontario Transportation Plan released

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation released Connecting the North: A draft transportation plan for Northern Ontario on December 10, 2020.  Transport Action Ontario has reviewed it in detail. Transportation Action believes that it is too highway-centric and needs more emphasis on passenger and rail freight.

In particular, it provides no concrete timeline for fulfilling the government’s promise to restore passenger rail service between Toronto, North Bay and Cochrane.  

Read Transportation Action’s full review

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Public inquiry recommends conflict-of-interest overhaul for municipal councillors 

The results of a two-year inquiry requested by Collingwoods’ Town Council after an Ontario Provincial Police investigation into the partial sell-off of Collingwood’s electrical utility and alleged improprieties in how the proceeds were used to construct recreational facilities are in!

All Ontario municipalities require a better ethical infrastructure.

The Federation or Urban Neighbourhoods sent a Submission to the Government of Ontario on Nov 18, 2020 supporting the recommended amendments to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, urging the Ontario Government to act on these recommendations to protect the citizens of Ontario.

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Conflict of interest overhaul recommended

The results of a two-year inquiry requested by Collingwoods’ Town Council after an Ontario Provincial Police investigation into the partial sell-off of Collingwood’s electrical utility and alleged improprieties in how the proceeds were used to construct recreational facilities are in!

Frank Marrocco, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario, just released his report – Report of the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry, Transparency and the Public Trust.

The Executive Summary states “undisclosed conflicts of interest marred many of the decisions made in respect to these two transactions, as did a series of unfair and precarious procurement practices. Combined, these factors left the transactions vulnerable to improper influence and cast doubt on both their legitimacy and the Town’s reputation.”

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Dominion Foundry – Stop the demolition!

The Dominion Foundry complex in the West Don Lands, a listed heritage site, is in imminent danger of demolition. We need your help to pressure the Province to stop the demolition and start talking about adaptive reuse of at least part of the site.

On January 14, a demolition crew arrived at the site to raze the Foundry buildings. Because these are provincial lands, no demolition permit was required and no notice was given to the City, the community or to heritage advocates. 

To add insult to injury, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing chose the first day of the emergency provincial lockdown to quietly move in demolition equipment.

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