Member News – Winter 2012

Member News is a periodic newsletter from the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods of Ontario (F.U.N.).

In this issue:

  • FUN AGM and Transportation Forum
  • Mississauga Mayor McCallion offers words of support to ratepayer groups at MIRANET AGM
  • Drive-throughs issue and OMB hearing
  • Liability insurance for community groups
  • offers rain barrels as a fund-raising vehicle for not-for-profit groups


This year, FUN’s AGM will be taking place on May 12, 2012 in the Town of Markham. As is our tradition, we will be hosting a special event in conjunction with the AGM. The topic will be Transportation and we are well advanced in the planning. The subject is of broad importance across the province and we expect a high level of interest and participation from residents, elected officials at all levels of government and senior people from transportation departments and agencies.

Stay tuned for more details.


Mary Brawley from MAGIC speaks to a full house in Mississauga. Mayor McCallion is in the front row.

Hazel McCallion, the 90 something Mississauga Mayor, was speaking at the AGM of MIRANET, a Mississauga umbrella group consisting of more than 25 ratepayer associations. Ms McCallion said ratepayer groups are “the best thing since sliced bread” since they play an important role in helping inform the public who are often apathetic on many municipal matters.

The Mayor also urged local groups to move some issues, such as transportation, up to the provincial level and to lobby strongly to get results. She gave a shopping list of suggested issues for FUN to pursue.

Panelists show a united front in Mississauga L to R: John Scheel, Mary Brawley, Harry Eaglesham, Geoff Kettel

The Miranet AGM was well attended by its members, Councillors, Mississauga senior staff, school board trustees and ratepayer guests from outside Mississauga.

A panel was organized to offer information, advice and answer questions about umbrella groups.

The panel consisted of: Mary Brawley, President, MAGIC (Markham Action Group for Improved Community) Harry Eaglesham, Vice President, Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods of Ontario Geoff Kettel, Co-Chair, FoNTRA (Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations) John Scheel, Founder, FORG (Federation of Oakville Ratepayer Groups).


submitted by Geoff Kettel, Toronto

A residents’ campaign ten years ago to prevent McDonald’s from building a drive-through restaurant on St. Clair Avenue, just west of mid-town, resulted, after a long and expensive OMB hearing, in a City of Toronto bylaw that restricted drive-throughs in residential areas across the city.

But drive-throughs are back in the news once again. In Oakville, fast food operators are challenging at the Ontario Municipal Board the right of the municipality to restrict drive-through restaurants in the Official Plan. The owners of Tim Horton’s and other fast food chains have also appealed Hamilton’s new urban official plan because it includes some restrictions on drive-through. The companies claim cities don’t have the jurisdiction to adopt such policies.

In Toronto a six day OMB hearing recently wrapped involving an appeal by Imperial Oil of the City of Toronto’s decision to turn down a proposed drive-through at a convenience store/restaurant/gas bar in Thorncliffe Park. The zoning bylaw allowed the restaurant and convenience store but not the drive through. The location is within 120 metres of the largest public school in North America with 1700 students and 150 teachers and a new all kindergarten school. The school principal noted that the new convenience store/restaurant would be a much bigger attraction for kids (read snacks) and teachers (read coffee) than a lube service station, yet the appellant had no measure of the increase in pedestrian traffic that would result from the change of land use!

A side issue that came out of this hearing experience was the lack of participation of local residents (read tenants). Thorncliffe Park which was headlined by its developers as “A Great Place to Live, Work and Shop” includes 34 high rise & low rise buildings which were designed to accommodate 12,500 people but whose present population is variously estimated at 25,000 to 30,000.

Under the Planning Act the owners of buildings within 120 metres would have been advised of the zoning bylaw amendment application — but does it get communicated to tenants? We decided to find out what they thought and take that to the Board. The tenants in the area were almost completely unaware of the issue. Our petition garnered 467 signatures of which 60 per cent were from residents from five buildings within 500 metres of the site. 80 per cent of those asked signed the petition. We also came up with a nifty slogan (“We’re a live-in community, not a drive-thru”).

We await the decision of the Board.


Contact your Insurance Broker to discuss your insurance options. If you plan to hold your neighbourhood association meetings in a City of Ottawa facility, you can book liability insurance at the same time as you sign your contract for the space. The City administers a User Group Liability insurance program with a $1,000,000 limit that can be purchased directly from the City at an affordable premium charge. Maybe your city should do as Ottawa!!

Because individuals can be held liable for decisions or actions they take as part of a Board of Directors, insurance for board members is a good idea. Volunteer Canada offers an insurance program for volunteers. Call 1-800-670-0401 or see the benefits of membership in Volunteer Canada.

You can also check with your own insurance provider or a company like PAL Insurance at 1-800-265-8098 to see what rates they might offer you. The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers information on how to manage risk.

RAIN BARRELS AS FUND RAISERS partners with non-profit organizations to host fundraising truckload rain barrel sales. They have had the privilege of partnering to fund raise with over one hundred non-profit groups, associations

and organizations throughout Ontario. They are seeking additional non-profit partners to join them to help meet their fundraising goals through a truckload rain barrel sale.

They are booking now for next spring and wish to invite your members to profit. They look forward to promoting their sales in their Ontario-wide media blitz in celebration of World Water Day which is scheduled for March 22, 2012.