GTAW Highway – letter to Town of Caledon

Our concerns can be summarized as follows:

  1. The highways, 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. They 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).
  3. People who live along the highway route (your residents) will suffer health impacts.
  4. Commuters will see little to no benefit from these highways.  And in any case the pandemic has drastically changed our commuting patterns.

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2021 Budget Consultations

Money

FUN recognizes the significant fiscal challenges facing the Government of Ontario, especially in light of the current and continuing Pandemic. We also believe that investing in and maintaining physical, social and health infrastructure, all the while addressing the Climate Emergency are critical to the future well-being of all Ontario residents. And protecting green space improves mental and physical health, and moderates future health care and long term care costs.

Recognizing this, our organization offers the following recommendations for inclusion in the 2021 Ontario Budget.

Urban Infrastructure:

High functioning infrastructure is a key requirement to attracting and keeping businesses in Ontario. The provincial government should provide increased funding and support for urban municipalities to maintain and enhance their facilities, with an emphasis on “green” infrastructure.

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FUN response to request for comments on MZO implementation

Construction - Toronto

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

man writing

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

Conflict of Interest

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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Bill 197 (MZO) implementation feedback requested

Opinion

The Ontario government is inviting comments concerning changes to certain legislative provisions in the Planning Act now in force with the enactment of Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 that enable the Minister to address site plan matters and apply inclusionary zoning as part of a zoning order.

There has been much discussion and outcry over the increased use of Minister’s Zoning Orders to override local planning bodies and conservation authorities in order to push projects through. MZOs had previously only been used rarely – and only in cases where the public good was a major consideration.

The government is offering an opportunity to make your thoughts on this issue known – commenting is open until January 30, 2021.

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Bill 229 Update

Wilmot Creek

Unfortunately, Bill 229, including Schedule 6, with its attack on protections for Ontario wetlands, was passed into law on December 9, despite many protests from citizens and organizations across the province.

From Environmental Defence’s email to members:

“It can be hard to carry on the fight when it seems like the government won’t listen to reason or to the voices of its constituents. It’s crystal clear that this government is not “for the people” – but is for the special interests of a small group of influential developers and land speculators.

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Curtail the misuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders

Great Blue Heron - Tyler Butler

A Minister’s Zoning Order (MZOs) allows the Minister to directly zone land for particular purposes. The Minister does not have to give notice or consult with the public prior to issuing or revoking…

While people are dealing with the COVID pandemic, the Government of Ontario is setting the stage for development projects to proceed without public consultation or the right to appeal. Without alerting the public, the government has been issuing and revoking Minister’s Zoning Orders.

Zoning orders should be used rarely and judiciously. The recent flurry of decisions to expedite development on farmland and green space and in the City of Toronto by issuing or revoking zoning orders is a concerning trend.

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Hands off conservation authorities

Don River - by Andre Gaulin

Join an urgent push to get Schedule 6 removed to protect Conservation Authorities in Ontario.

The provincial government is voting SOON on a budget bill, Bill 229. Bill 229 is going to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on Monday, Nov 30.

The Conservative government has included Schedule 6 which is unrelated to the budget. There are numerous changes proposed – they would slash the role of Conservation Authorities (CA), disabling their role in ravine protection and enabling developers to sidestep Conservation Authorities and go directly to the Minister for permits without CA review. The Minister would also be able to overturn a conservation authority’s decision to refuse to issue a permit for development.

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Revocation of Municipalities’ Authority to use Ranked Ballots

election ballot

This is to express our strong opposition to your Bill revoking Ontario municipalities’ authority to use ranked ballots in local mayoral and council elections. The local option to use ranked ballots was instituted in 2016 by the previous government, and several municipalities, including London, have adopted it.

Furthermore this revocation is being proposed without notice, consultation or any credible rationale. And in a bill addressing pandemic issues! This is reminiscent of your 2018 slashing of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members in the middle of an election, cancelling Regional Chair elections in Niagara and York, also without notice or consultation.

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