2024 Ontario Budget Submission

Ontario wild lands - edge of lake

FUN recognizes the significant fiscal challenges facing the Government of Ontario, some representing continuing impacts of the COVID pandemic. We also believe that investing in and maintaining physical, social health and environmental infrastructure, all the while addressing the Climate Emergency are critical to the future wellbeing of all Ontario residents.

However, we are choosing to focus at this time on four matters: the growing Housing Market and Housing Affordability issue, Growing Protected Areas, Save Ontario Place, and Save the Ontario Science Centre.

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Sprawl, Tall, or Infill – Are These Really Our Only Choices?

FUN AGM Presentation – Saturday, June 18, 2022

Guest Speaker: Graham Churchill, Executive Director, A Better Richmond Hill

Sprawl, Tall, or Infill – Are These Really Our Only Choices

With the Ontario government expecting the GTA to grow by an additional 2.9M people in the next 25 years, we need a sensible growth plan. The politicians aren’t doing it so citizen groups need to come together to create one. Graham Churchill has a plan, and he’s looking for like-minded community groups to help refine it.

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Densest housing centre in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the Dharavi slums of Mumbai?

Dharavi slums

Subject: Request that you pause federal funding for the YNSE until a deal is made public

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the resident and ratepayer groups in York Region and elsewhere in the GTA, listed below, I respectfully request that your government pause payment to the Government of Ontario of your government’s 40% portion of funding for the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) until such time that the Government of Ontario makes public the details of a financial deal it made sometime in 2021-2022 with the owner of lands on either side of Highway 407 at Yonge Street, and until such time that the Government of Ontario meets all conditions and guarantees for funding set forth by your government.

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Opportunities to increase missing middle housing and gentle density, including supports for multigenerational housing

Cornell - Markham

Question 1:

  • What are the biggest barriers and delays to diversifying the types of housing built in existing neighbourhoods?

Response

The question is built on several assumptions – which are unproven:

  1. That the housing price issue can be solved through increasing supply.  Instead we need to address the demand issues, such as land speculation e.g. flipping, vacant housing, the real estate industry practices that force up prices;
  2. That there is a housing shortage when in fact the number of homes increased at a greater rate than population;

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Bill 109 – More Homes for Everyone Act

House construction - Markham

The Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (Ontario) is an umbrella group of community associations throughout Ontario. As such we maintain a close interest in the changes to provincial planning legislation introduced by the Government. The latest changes amount to another massive overhaul of the planning process and a new set of directives focussed on supply, rather than demand for homes, but in addition, reducing the role of duly elected municipal councils, and attacking residents who devote their time and energy to contribute to their communities’ development.

The Government’s policy changes, including moving forward with Highway 413, and making municipalities designate more farmland for development, have favoured companies looking to build low-density sprawl outside Toronto.

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413 will facilitate massive, destructive sprawl

Holland Marsh over Bradford - aerial view

The proposed Highway 413 will facilitate massive, destructive urban sprawl unless it is stopped.

There is increasing opposition from many individuals and organizations who are gravely concerned about the impacts of this proposed highway. Those concerned include public health, municipal, business, agricultural, environmental and community groups.

Highway 413 alone would be devastating. It would slice through the Greenbelt and destroy over 800 hectares of class 1 and 2 farmland, impact 220 wetlands covering 130 hectares, impact or remove 680 hectares of wildlife habitat including forest, wetland and meadows and create crossings of 85 rivers and streams – including the Humber and Credit River Valleys. Over 1000 hectares of land identified as important for wildlife movement will be removed or intersected.*

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Proposed Bradford Bypass Project

Ontario highway

RE: Proposed Bradford Bypass Project

We wish to advise you of our strong opposition to this project, a four lane 400 series highway, misnamed as the Bradford Bypass. In May 2021, Minister Wilkinson made a determination that the Bradford Bypass Project did not warrant designation under the federal Impact Assessment Act. The reasons for the decision, are specified in the Minister’s Response on the Designation Request for the Bradford Bypass Project.

While these are undoubtably valid reasons, we feel strongly that this project deserves a similar calibre study as the Highway 413 project.

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GTA West Corridor Highway (Highway 413)

Highway 10, Caledon, ON

This is to advise you that the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods has serious concerns with the proposal to proceed with the Highway 413. It represents the start of what is in essence a whole new 400 series highway system north of Toronto that we believe will have major negative implications for the residents of the Town of Caledon. 

Our concerns can be summarized as follows:

  1. The highway, if built, would encourage and facilitate an unprecedented level of urban sprawl in the GTA, which would destroy important green spaces and prime farmland.
  2. People who live along the highway route (your residents) will suffer health impacts.
  3. Commuters will see diminishing benefits from the highway (due to induced demand). And in any case the pandemic has drastically changed our commuting patterns.
  4. It will incur a significant cost to taxpayers which will be borne by the Provincial Government alone (the Federal Government has indicated it will NOT cost-share).

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Pre-Budget Consultations – January 2022

house model with stacks of coins

FUN recognizes the significant fiscal challenges facing the Government of Ontario, especially in light of the continuing Pandemic. We also believe that investing in and maintaining physical and social and health infrastructure, all the while addressing the Climate Emergency are critical to the future wellbeing of all Ontario residents. However, we are choosing to focus at this time on the growing Housing Market and Housing Affordability issue and offer a recommendation for inclusion in the Spring 2022 Ontario Budget.

We are all aware that Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable in all urban areas of Ontario, especially Toronto. We are concerned however that the Government of Ontario is not effectively addressing the issue. The core issue is the rampant speculation in the housing market.

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Lake Simcoe Protection Plan

Lake Simcoe ice

The Made in Ontario Environment Plan commits the province to: “Build on previous successes and continue to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to protect and restore important natural areas and features of the lake.” It is the Christmas wish of the 28 signatory groups to this letter that you honour that promise.

In early 2019, the year the statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan was to commence, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition launched the Protect Our Plan (POP) campaign, promoting the importance of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The Province hosted a survey, an online consultation and an online science forum in early 2020. The list of extensive consultation, education, and engagement conducted by the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is available at Rescue Lake Simcoe.

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