Major Streets Map 3

Major Streets Study – FoNTRA responds

FoNTRA supports the general intent of the Major Streets initiative as being a logical framework to pursue opportunities for increased density in Neighbourhoods. However the proposal is presented as “one size fits all”, and no effort has been made to determine if the framework works in the varied street and settlement configurations, and transportation infrastructure, and cultural landscapes across the City. The methodology is not like that of an area planning study. It is simply an overlay of a standard set of permissions on the Official Plan Map 3 that shows road width.

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Queen's Park Ontario

More Darkness in Ontario’s Democracy

In Canada, after an election first ministers write mandate letters to their cabinet colleagues, laying out deliverables their departments should achieve. Some governments make them public (Trudeau, McGuinty and Wynne in Ontario), but others don’t (Harper, Ford). A newly-elected government traditionally outlines its program in its platform and speech from the throne; mandate letters may be more specific. Even if they are not made public, they can provide direction to the bureaucracy. If made public, they can be used to hold the government accountable.

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FoNTRA FORUM to be held at Metro Hall on December 2nd, 2023

Chief Planner Gregg Lintern and his Directors and senior staff will provide an update on planning initiatives of interest. Attendees will be able to ask them your questions and make your comments and suggestions.

This event will be held in-person and will provide an opportunity for residents’ association members to interact with City Planning staff and fellow residents’ association members.

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Heartwood condos - Queen St. Wood construction mid-rise

Mid-Rise Buildings – Rear Transition issues

We are providing our comments on the draft proposal that has been the subject of recent public consultations. We are concerned about the proposals that appear to be one-sided and do not reflect an evidence based and careful assessment of the Mid-Rise Guidelines developed by Brooke-McIlroy Planning, dated May 2010.

  1. Important stakeholders were not represented in the consultation process to develop the revised Mid-Rise Guidelines.
    • The process appeared to rely on input/guidance from the development industry to generate a final report and recommendations including draft revised performance standards.
    • There was no similar opportunity for input from residents including those living in the immediately abutting lands and other affected areas
    • The public is now being asked to comment on what appears to be a “done deal”.

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Proposal for 589-595 Eglinton Ave. E.

589-595 Eglinton Avenue East and 61-67 Mann Avenue

This application proposes a 35-storey (124.75 metres to top of mechanical penthouse) residential building with 26,074 square metres of residential gross floor area for a total of 442 units, and 621 square metres of ground floor retail fronting onto Eglinton Avenue East just west of Bayview Avenue. The development would have a total gross floor area of 26,695 square metres with an FSI of 13.47.

The Leaside Residents Association (LRA) has reviewed the City’s Appeal Report and strongly supports staff’s recommendation that “City Council instruct the City Solicitor with appropriate City staff to attend the OLT hearing and oppose the application in its current form and to continue discussions with the Applicant to resolve outstanding issues”.

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Canadian currency

Updating Toronto’s long-term financial plan

On behalf of our member resident associations, we applaud the steps being taken to deal with the fiscal crisis facing the City of Toronto.

We have attached comments on the measures proposed by staff and the additional recommendations added by the Executive Committee that are before you. We support ;many of the recommendations, but not all.

We strongly support asking the provincial government to provide a greater share of funding of social service programs which it mandates. We especially underline the need for both federal and provincial governments to provide greater financial support for social housing and public transit.

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aerial view of planned community

FoNTRA opposes proposed changes to Ontario’s land use planning framework

On April 6, 2023, Ontario announced new components of its Housing Supply Action Plan, which seeks to encourage the construction of 1.5 million homes by 2031. Two key elements of the announcement are the introduction of Bill 97, the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, 2023, which is currently at second reading stage in the Ontario Legislature, and the release of a draft Provincial Planning Statement, 2023 (the “Statement”), which was out for public comment until August 4, 2023.

FoNTRA’s report concludes that the proposed Provincial Planning Statement (PPS) and the simultaneous repeal of the Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe should not proceed since these initiatives are not only harmful but also entirely unnecessary. FoNTRA, respectfully, urges the government to withdraw the proposed Provincial Planning Statement and to maintain the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

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low-rise residential condo under construction at 7 Dale Ave. Toronto

Zoning by-law simplification and modernization for low-rise residential zones

FoNTRA supports the objectives of the Housing Action Plan and looks forward to participating in the upcoming consultations related to implementation of the objectives of “simplification”, “harmonization” and “modernization”.

The report notes that “A key objective of the Plan is that new development be sensitive, gradual and “fit” the existing physical character to respect and reinforce the general physical patterns in Neighbourhoods.”

We agree that this must remain the overriding objective for the consultation process, which is to begin shortly. All neighbourhoods are not all alike and their differences are important in making our City a great place to live.

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man in suit on e-scooter

Planning for an e-scooter pilot

This item concerns a letter from Councillor Saxe which recommends that:

Infrastructure and Environment Committee direct the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Parking Authority, the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, other relevant divisions, agencies, boards and commissions and key stakeholders including the Accessibility Advisory Committee, to report back to the February 2024 meeting of Infrastructure and Environment Committee on a Micro mobility Strategy as part of a comprehensive “Active Transportation Network” for the City of Toronto.

Infrastructure and Environment Committee request that the report include recommendations concerning a possible E-Scooter Rental Pilot Project with the following characteristics (list provided):

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FoNTRA & FoSTRA logos

Mayoral Candidates Face Residents

New date – mark your calendars!

OCAD University Auditorium,
100 McCaul Street
Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m.

Live at OCAD University, 60 residents’ associations will host a public meeting to introduce leading mayoral candidates to the people of Toronto. With an outreach to 900,000 residents, this unique event could be a game changer in the municipal election.

Here is the link for Eventbrite registration:

REGISTER NOW

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FoNTRA forum

FoNTRA FORUM held this year in Virtual Setting

We were excited to co-host FoNTRA FORUM in partnership with City Planning staff. The event was well attended and extended beyond the planned time.

The event included various presentations by city staff followed by three Q&A sessions at several intervals. Here is the agenda…

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Residential street with mixed housing

2023 Housing Action Plan lacks a staff report and Multi-Tenant Housing report raises many new concerns

FoNTRA says that the 2023 Housing Action Plan proposal lacks a staff report justifying the recommendations, and the Multi-Tenant Housing report raised many concerns when previously considered, which require to be further addressed, such as how will the new regulatory framework be enforced?

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FoNTRA raises concerns about the legislated changes made by the Province which are introduced without meaningful consultation with municipalities or the public.

FoNTRA like many across the City are extremely concerned about the legislated changes made by the Province to the City’s development approval system, which are being introduced without meaningful consultation with municipalities or the public. FoNTRA notes, with great concern, the significant reduction of public consultation in the revised application review process, which will deprive the public of important information for consideration and will be extremely detrimental to the outcome.

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Greenbelt river valley

FoNTRA’s objections to proposed Greenbelt changes

The Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations, representing over 30 residents associations in Toronto, submits the following objections on proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan that would remove or re-designate 15 parcels of land, and add lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area.

Our submission is based on the following points.

1. There is no proven need for this additional land for development.

The government’s Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force stated that: “a shortage of land isn’t the cause of the problem. Land is available, both inside the existing built-up areas and on undeveloped land outside greenbelts.”

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Ontario legislature

FoNTRA asks Mayor Tory to repudiate the special legislative provisions in Bill 39

FoNTRA expresses strong opposition to Bill 39, and concern about recent revelations about the involvement of the Mayor in originating its passage.

Bill 39 would enable the Mayor of Toronto to get a bylaw passed by Council with only one third of the councillors voting in support. As such, only eight of the 25 councillors would need to be onside to have his way, at least on measures that line up with the aims of the provincial government.

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Ontario Legislature

FoNTRA open letter opposing Bill 23

We believe that the foundation of Bill 23 is flawed and if approved it will result in significant adverse impacts on our communities without any guarantees that the needed housing will be built.

The legislation focuses solely on supply (i.e., construction of new houses), not demand. For example,  the federal and provincial governments could reduce the demand for housing in the overheated GTA by influencing the location of jobs.  And conspicuously, the Bill avoids dealing with affordability, again focusing only on production of new housing. The report assumes that affordability is simply a function of supply, i.e. the idea that more supply will bring down the prices, which is unproven.  The experience is that public sector financial and regulatory intervention (ie. subsidy, inclusive zoning) is required in order to achieve affordable housing.

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FoNTRA cites grave concerns with Bill 23

On November 10th, 2022 the FoNTRA Board sent a Letter of Objection to the Standing Committee on Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy with copies to our local MPPs and councillors.

Bill 23 is omnibus legislation that seeks to make significant changes to municipal planning legislation throughout the province. Many residents, community and environmental organizations have begun to raise their concerns in a variety of public forum.

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Queen's Park at night by David Urbonas

Bill 23: Consultation schedule is set

Fewer meetings held more quickly

While residents are struggling to understand the complexity of Bill 23, the province is moving quickly to fix wheels to their wagon.

All of this haste flies in the face of the best practices of consultation that provide a prescription of fairness required of all public bodies. See the details of these best practices (aka The Gunning Principles) below.

The consultation schedule for Bill 23 was released on October 31st.

More homes built faster, 2022 Act

The Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy will meet to consider Bill 23, An Act to amend various statutes, to revoke various regulations and to enact the Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022.

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Housing development site - Markham, Ontario

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

Ford and his housing minister previewed the legislation in a Toronto Region Board of Trade event earlier on Tuesday. Ford said in his speech …

“Everyone’s dream is to have a little white picket fence. You know, when they put the key in the door, they know they’re building equity into it, they can do the little tweaks to their house and increase the value of it. That’s our goal.”

It is not yet clear how the proposed legislation will achieve this goal.

The legislation introduces a new concept definition called ‘attainable housing’ that seems to look very much like the old ‘market-based housing.’ This is precisely the outcome that the building industry is hoping for. Toronto has more than 230 cranes in-the-air providing mostly market-based housing … so we can expect more cranes on the horizon.

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