Toronto, January 22, 2018
My name is Geoff Kettel; I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (FUN) which represents Resident Associations (RAs) in larger centres, having thousands of members across Ontario. I am also Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Resident Associations (FoNTRA) and Co-President of the Leaside Property Owners Association (LPOA).
Resident associations are concerned about maintaining and improving quality of life for all residents in our communities. This is critically important today as cities compete for growth. We are reminded of this with the race for the selection of a second HQ for Amazon. The competition is as much about quality of life, physical, social and economic equity, and healthy cities, as anything else. Having a well planned city that has views, landmarks, heritage, recreation opportunities, the ability to move safely and efficiently using alternative modes of transportation are all important.
RAs get involved with land use planning at all levels – from committee of adjustment to zoning by-laws, official plans and the Ontario Growth Plan. We represent a basic working out of democracy – bringing people together to build and strengthen their communities. And at Election time RAs typically hold election debates – making sure that people have the opportunity to become informed about their elected representatives and choose wisely.
So what does this all mean in terms of our input to the Ontario Budget?
First, we support several of the Provincial Government’s initiatives in the planning area, but we have concerns that others may undo the good work that you are doing, i.e.
- Bill 139 Building Better Communities, etc. which will replace the unelected and unaccountable OMB with a less powerful tribunal which will make recommendations to the municipalities. However we have registered our concerns about the transition regulation.
- Greenbelt expansion – designed to protect water for future generations. However we strongly oppose the GTA West Highway (413) which will destroy the values that the Greenbelt is attempting to protect.
- Inclusionary Zoning – but not the government’s current regulatory proposal, which is limited to 5 or 10% and only for condominiums, and only for 10 years. This proposal will produce less inclusive projects than certain Toronto City councillors have managed to achieve through negotiation without the benefit of legislation.
- Support for Housing Initiatives and development process improvements but only if accompanied by engagement of the public, not just that of developers and municipalities.
More broadly, we support tax measures that utilize revenue sources that encourage good land use planning, complete communities, and support climate change initiatives (such as the gas tax).
Thank you for the opportunity to present at the Toronto Consultation on January 22nd 2018 and make this follow up submission.