These are difficult and confusing times for all neighbourhoods and at this time the long term implications for neighbourhoods can be no more than conjecture.
The key message I bring today is that events of this year, since COVID 19, continue to demand the critical role of residents associations at the local level, and federations of residents associations, especially at the provincial level, to address policy issues. The mantra “municipalities are a creature of the province” is not only the law but is being actively practiced by the elected government.
What are these issues we are dealing with? Here are examples:
- Bill 108 regulations
Set rates for the new community benefit charge (CBC) which will produce less funding than before for public realm and public services needed as a result of development.
- Tenant legislation – Bill 184 – The Protecting Tenants, Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020
Of which it has been said that “tenant protection (in the new legislation) begins and ends with the title”.
- Minister’s orders to enforce development in the GTA
Overriding local opposition to projects.
- Tribunal capacity/recruitment issues
Many adjudicators have resigned and some of their replacements appear to have developer ties.
- Construction (noise)
Provincial override of hours for construction in City of Toronto (extending to October 2021). Note the overreach to change the rules set by the municipality for itself!
- Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)
Key provisions of the EBR were revoked (April, 2020) allowing the government to make environmental decisions without informing the public; however these were recently reinstated following opposition.
The province has announced a number of proposed changes to A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The proposed amendments are intended to support municipalities to make it faster and easier to plan for anticipated growth. The proposed revisions include updates to the population and employment forecasts and a change to the Plan’s horizon year to 2051; adjustments to the aggregates policy framework; and new policies to address major transit station areas within provincially significant employment zones outside of a municipal comprehensive review. FUN will be responding to these proposed changes.
FUN has written in opposition to a number of these changes, where there was prior warning through the Environmental Register. We have also, where possible, worked in concert with other reputable organizations such Environmental Defence to maximize our impact.
During the past year the Executive has met monthly and we have discussed an outreach to residents associations across the province. We have published some Queen Park Reports on the web site, and written letters/made submissions as noted before. And we are taking steps to renovate the web site.
FUN is a work in progress and we look for ideas and help from all.