FoNTRA 2023 Year End Review and 2024 Look Forward

Some highlights/lowlights of 2023 and a look forward to 2024 – another busy year ahead!

  • We ended the year with the most FoNTRA members ever – 37 resident associations!
  • We revitalized the FoNTRA board. It now comprises John Bossons (Summerhill RA), Maureen Kapral (Lytton Park RA), Geoff Kettel (Leaside RA), Al Kivi (South Eglinton Davisville RA), Cathie Macdonald (Deer Park RG), Alan Mackellar (Don Mills RI), Sanjeev Sharma (York Mills RA), and Diana White (QUoRA),
  • The Board updated the FoNTRA bylaw to better reflect how our organization works under the new Provincial (ONCA) requirements – clarifying how we are a federation of resident associations, and how our member RAs are involved.
  • The Board is also looking at ways to increase active participation in FoNTRA priorities, as suggested at the AGM.
  • We held a successful Forum with City Planning on Saturday December 2 at Metro Hall (in person – we insisted!). This was attended by reps from over 50 RAs including reps from FoSTRA and other RAs from across the City, and over 20 City Planning staff.
    • The agenda included an overview by City staff of their planning initiatives – including Enhanced Housing Opportunities in Neighbourhoods (EHON), and City responses to address Provincial constraints that reduced City regulatory powers over development and revenues;
    • Al Kivi (SEDRA) gave his presentation to the Forum on the results of four FoNTRA surveys of issues regarding Committee of Adjustment operations as submitted to the KPMG Study and as presented to the Ontario Association of Committees of Adjustment (OACA) annual conference in November.
  • We continue to engage with City Planning regarding the Enhanced Housing Opportunities in Neighbourhoods (EHON) program. Our focus is on supporting intensification initiatives but balanced with appropriate built form regulations to protect the impacted adjacent residential neighbourhood properties.
    • The current major EHON topics under review are “Major Streets” in Neighbourhoods where 6 storey apartment buildings are proposed to be permitted on large lots. Four storeys is now the limit in Neighbourhoods;
    • Other City Planning Neighbourhood changes include the integration of past neighbourhood residential built form regulations across the City, revised regulations for the transition from midrise buildings on Avenues to neighbourhoods, and reconsideration of the use (in older parts of the City) of Floor Space Index, measure of density; and
    • We will be submitting more letters on the impacts of these proposals and alternative proposals.
  • At the same time we continue to monitor and often oppose the numerous Provincial changes which impact negatively on the City and residents, such as
  • The loss of third-party appeals (i.e., appeals by residents) of Committee of Adjustment;
    • The overruling by the Province of City OPAs (e.g. OPA 405 Yonge- Eglinton Secondary Plan, 406- Downtown Secondary Plan) and MZOs;
    • The failure of the Province to approve the mandatory affordable housing minimums around Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs); and
    • The pending elimination of listed status of many heritage properties on December 31, 2024 (unless designated in the meantime).
  • We are working with FoSTRA and RAs across the City on our common issues and plan to hold a City wide “conference” of RAs in 2024.
  • In 2024 we will continue to work with RAs across Toronto in opposition to the provincial government’s Ontario Place and Ontario Science Centre proposals.
  • We support the advocacy of the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (FUN Ontario) in regard to these matters.

We have given our best wishes to Gregg Lintern, who retired as Chief Planner effective December 31, 2023. We have always appreciated his willingness to work with FoNTRA, with the quarterly meetings of his team, as well as the annual Forum. We await announcements as to interim and permanent appointments!!

Here is a link to the FoNTRA Information Bulletin with information on some upcoming meetings including:

  • Updates on the KPMG recommendations for improvements to the Committee of Adjustment processes re fairness and participation by residents; and
  • The City Budget consultations.

Finally, we send our best wishes, look for feedback, and your ideas, and any New Year resolutions!

Photo: Sharon VanderKaay via CC by 2.0 DEED