Affordable Housing on Eastern Avenue Consultation (The Foundry)

The Foundry at night

This is in response to your Ministry’s request for input from residents’ groups and the public “on how some elements of the existing structures could inform development” of the provincially owned property at 153-185 Eastern Avenue. The request indicates that the Province of Ontario intends to “create new affordable and market housing, and community space, in response to numerous requests from the City of Toronto for increased affordable housing”.

The Court ordered the Province to continue the pause on demolition because there is compelling evidence that the Province has not met its own standards under the Ontario Heritage Act and has breached heritage-related commitments in a subdivision agreement.

We continue to oppose the use of a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) which allows the Province to bypass nearly all planning requirements set by the City. Our members are increasingly seeing a pattern of legislative activity involving the use of MZOs across the province, along with other coercive measures the Province is using to fast-track development without full and fair public consultation with those directly affected.

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Action Alert – Dominion Foundry Comments deadline March 4th

Dominion Foundry

As agreed by all parties — the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA), the City, and the Province — the hearing has been adjourned (postponed) to give all parties more time to come to some kind of resolution. If they can’t reach a resolution, another court date will be set and the hearing will proceed.

This is great news (for now) because the parties have also agreed that the Interim Order will remain in effect. In other words, the province can’t continue with the demolition while we are discussing resolution.

In the meantime, the Province initiated a one-way “consultation” process which continues until March 4, with the province asking for community input. Using their “consultation” link write to the province today, letting them know this isn’t good enough. A regular two-way dialogue with the community must take place, something we have asked for since October. The process calls for submitting a letter in PDF or Word format – we have prepared a template that you can use as the base for your letter.

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Conservation and the importance of community involvement

Petrie Building, 1882, Guelph, Ontario

While much of what lies ahead in 2021 remains unclear, a path yet to be designed, one thing seems clear to me: the importance of community, the opportunity to gather together and experience that sense of feeling part of a greater whole. For many, 2020 has provided time to regroup, to focus our minds on, and to protect, what is truly important.

Many people interact with heritage on a community level. What we as a society value, what we choose to share and protect, how we serve as stewards and the stories and traditions that we choose to carry forward. Concepts of identity and public history have been shaped over time by the intersection of community and heritage. That community response derives from our individual relationship with heritage.

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Highway 413 – Back from the dead

Holland Marsh

(Environmental Defense, February 4, 2021) The zombie highway, Highway 413 is back from the dead. And this time it brought company.

The Ontario government has revived long-cancelled proposals to build two major highways: Highway 413 between Milton and Vaughan, and the Holland Marsh Highway – also known as the Bradford Bypass – that would run above Newmarket and straight through the Holland Marsh!

The Holland Marsh Highway was shelved in the early 2000s and was recently revived to go ahead – without updating the environmental assessment that was done nearly a quarter of a century ago. Meanwhile, Highway 413 was cancelled in 2018 after an expert panel found that the damage to Ontario’s communities, Greenbelt, farmland and water quality would far outweigh its benefits.

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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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The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Needs to Lead by Example When It Comes to Protecting Ontario’s Environment: Auditor General

Algonquin Park

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks needs to do more in leading by example on the environmental front by supporting, promoting and administering the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR Act) in a more fulsome manner, concluded Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in her 2020 Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights.

The report found examples by multiple government ministries of non-compliance with their responsibilities under the EBR Act that prevented its effective operation in 2019/20. The report states some ministries are still not posting environmentally significant proposals on the Environmental Registry or giving the public enough time to respond when they do.

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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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Ontario short-lines under threat

Barrie Collingwood Railway

There has been lots of Ontario short-line railway news in the past few weeks. Most importantly, the Huron Central Railway has received 6 months temporary funding to June, 2021 to allow governments more time to negotiate capital funding.

Meanwhile, CN has announced it is putting the Algoma Central Railway up for sale, although few details have been provided. The Town of Orangeville has announced the pending closure of the Orangeville-Brampton Railway in December, 2021. This line currently serves many local industries, supporting hundreds of jobs. The section of this line linking Brampton and Streetsville also has potential for future rail transit use and Transport Action Ontario will be urging Metrolinx to acquire the line. Read our letter. The Barrie-Collingwood line is also in danger of abandonment and removal. Transport Action Ontario has written to local stakeholders pointing out the benefits of continued operation.

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