FUN open letter in opposition to Bill 23

Queen's Park, Ontario Legislative Assembly

We agree that there is a housing supply and affordability issue in Ontario and support the broad goal that new housing should be built and be available across a spectrum of incomes and needs. However our dreams are not focused on detached single-family homes with ‘white picket fences,’ but include a diverse range of dwelling types for both renters and owners, and all income levels. The focus of all orders of government should be on liveable communities where all residents can thrive and grow.

We have identified ten substantive and specific issues with Bill 23. The legislation does many regressive things, but of the ten key items of concern the most egregious is #10 – to prohibit any third party (ie. citizen/resident association) appeals of development applications to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

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Bill 23: Omnibus bill means that suddenly everything is at risk

Markham, Ontario housing development

… ravines, conservation lands, housing, municipal revenue and citizen rights, but housing is still unaffordable

Residents’ associations across the province anxiously awaited the details of this pending legislation on Tuesday, October 25th. Alas, the news was worse than we feared.

Sweeping new legislation has been introduced under the banner of “more homes built faster.” Residents’ associations have long maintained there could be residential intensification in existing built-up areas while also ensuring that neighbourhood scale and character was maintained.

However, legislation that supports intensification should not come at the expense of existing environmental protections, such as ravines and parklands and threaten municipal ability to pay for the infrastructure required for growth.

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In Memoriam – Sheila Harrison Dunlop

flowers

Sheila Harrison Dunlop, Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (FUN) director, Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations (FoNTRA) steering committee member, and long-time board member and secretary of the South Armour Heights Residents’ Association (SAHRA), passed away in her 73rd year on August 25, 2022, after a short illness.

Sheila’s death leaves a big hole not only in the hearts of those who knew her, but also in the organizations for which she volunteered. FUN, FoNTRA and SAHRA will miss her greatly. A formal obituary follows and can be found online as well. We will keep you informed of further information as it becomes available.

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Do we need a strong Mayor or a City with increased powers?

Toronto City Hall

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the legislation that would give “strong mayor” powers to municipal mayors – initially the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa… 

This legislation is unprecedented and marks a huge shift in governance of Ontario’s municipalities. Urban municipalities are governed by democratically elected City Councils. The decisions of civic governments have been the collective responsibility of those elected City Councils not the singular responsibility of one member. While democracy isn’t always perfect, citizens of urban municipalities have generally been satisfied with their form of representative government.

Bill 3’s Schedule 2 permits the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing to designate municipalities to be subject to its provisions. It is our understanding that Minister will designate Toronto and Ottawa under Schedule 2, despite no consultation or consent from its citizens on the necessity of this arbitrary move. We oppose this initiative.

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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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President’s Report – June 18, 2022

Thank you for your Association’s membership in FUN and for your (virtual) attendance at this year’s AGM on June 18.

While we are still meeting virtually we are seeing some semblance of normality, despite the changed behaviour regarding work and home. The long-term implications for neighbourhoods can be no more than conjecture.

The events of the past (over) two years reinforce the critical role of residents associations at the local level, and federations of residents associations, at the regional and provincial level, to address policy issues. The mantra “municipalities are a creature of the province” is regularly demonstrated in decisions, and legislation introduced and passed by the provincial government, some positive, but many with long term negative implications for such areas as cultural heritage, urban sprawl, and climate change.

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Hamilton Truck Route Master Plan Review

Trucks - Hamilton

The City of Hamilton has completed the Truck Route Master Plan review. The study explored opportunities to provide safe and efficient movement of trucks in Hamilton, support economic activities, minimize negative impacts of truck traffic on sensitive land uses, and balance between the industry and community needs.

Based on the technical analysis and public and stakeholder inputs several alternative solutions were developed and evaluated and a preferred alternative was determined.

The report detailing the study and preferred alternative will be available for review and comment until June 17, 2022.

The Report is available for review online, along with a compendium of the stakeholder engagement.

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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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Emergency in Ontario

Emergency in Ontario - Rally May 14, 2022

Join the Rally for Communities, Climate & Nature – May 14, 2022, Queen’s Park

Ontario’s environment is under threat.

Greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise again, protections for nature are being dismantled, and mega projects are encroaching on communities.;

This spring we have a chance to choose another path – one that prioritizes people and the planet.

In the lead up to the provincial election, show your support for a flourishing, low-carbon Ontario that offers good green jobs, prioritizes our collective health, and respects Indigenous rights.

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