Petition to stop the new GTA West Highway project
The following action item is from Environmental Defence, a respected Ontario environmental organization.
The provincial government is trying to rush through a new mega-highway between Milton and Vaughan that would rip straight through the Greenbelt.
Ontario doesn’t need another mega-highway. The 413 would cost billions of dollars, cut through our beautiful rivers, valley lands, wetlands, conservation areas and forested areas, and pave over large areas of farmland and through about 1000 hectares of the Greenbelt in Vaughan. All this for the sake of saving drivers less than a minute off their commute.
Right now they’re consulting on a proposal to fast-track big parts of the environmental impact assessment, and to even start building the highway before the assessment is finished.
There are only a few days to tell the province to stop the destructive Highway 413. The consultation closes on August 22.
You can sign the petition to protect Ontario’s green spaces at https://act.environmentaldefence.ca/page/65585/action/1?ea.tracking.id=eblast&ea.url.id=4858762&forwarded=true.
Sidewalk Cafés & Marketing Display Bylaw Review
The City of Toronto is reviewing the bylaw for Sidewalk Cafés & Marketing Displays and wants to hear from you!
Join them at a public consultation on Thursday, January 31, 2019 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 4 to share your feedback.
The review aims to harmonize the bylaw so that consistent standards are applied across the city. As part of the review, the City is proposing updated fees, as well as new standards and options for marketing displays and sidewalk cafés (for example, curbside cafés and parklet cafés).
More information on the Sidewalk Cafés & Marketing Displays Review is available on the City of Toronto website.
Official Plan Growth Indicators 2018
Strategy for Minimizing the Negative Impacts of Residential Infill Construction
On February 24, 2016 the Planning and Growth Management Committee (PGMC) voted in support of the Strategy for Minimizing the Negative Impacts of Residential Infill Construction Activity.
On May 1, 2018, the PGMC adopted this strategy with amendments; City Council adopted the item on May 22m 2018.
This strategy is designed to:
- Improve the City’s complaint management strategy to manage and respond to complaints more quickly and effectively;
- Improve communication with residents to provide clear, understandable information, so that they can have issues resolved in a more timely manner; and
- Encourage good construction practices in the building industry through education, more effective enforcement, increased use of tickets, an additional mandatory inspection and increased building inspector knowledge.
Many homeowners in Ward 16 have experienced the negative effects of infill construction activity. We hope this strategy moves forward in order to help those who are impacted.
The specific Actions to be implemented between Q2 2016 up to Q4 of 2017 are:
Introductory Building Inspection to outline all City expectations for builders and their obligation
Provide additional training to Building Inspectors on key zoning requirements in order to strengthen their ability to respond to zoning issues earlier
Improve verification of actual construction with approved permit drawings through additional divisional practices and training
Introduce a ticketing pilot in Toronto Building for residential infill projects
Toronto Building to implement the new staff resources to monitor issues and co-ordinate inter-divisional response to problem residential infill sites
Establish a dedicated City website with key information about construction, including orders and construction stages passed
Require construction signage to be posted on site with key information to the public
Facilitate the development of a good neighbor guide for builders with BILD and residential ratepayer associations
Municipal Licensing and Standards report to the Licensing and Standards Committee in Q1 2017 with recommendations with respect to dust control measures for residential infill construction
When reporting back in Q4 2017 on proposed strategy, consider expanding ticketing to other divisions
Improve inter-divisional data collection on negative impacts of residential infill construction
In summary, the strategies included:
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of a joint targeted inspection and enforcement program related to residential infill construction activity conducted by Toronto Building, Municipal Licensing and Standards, Transportation Services, Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Toronto Water with a report to the Planning and Growth Management Committee in the first quarter of 2019.
- Review and update the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 363, to identify and recommend opportunities for efficiencies in the section and enforcement of construction fencing.
- To add an additional Chapter to the City of Toronto Municipal Code, implementing regulations concerning the posting of public notice on residential infill construction and demolition sites.
- To make the necessary applications to the Regional Senior Justice to seek approval for short-form wording and set fines related to construction fencing.
- Parks, Forestry and Recreation to report quarterly to the Parks and Environment Committee on the number of tickets issued and charges laid against builders for failure to protect city trees.
- The Ontario Real Estate Association and the Law Society of Ontario will be asked to update their real estate transaction practices so that, prior to completing a real estate transaction, their members search and advise their clients whether there are open and active building permits associated with the property, regardless of whether title insurance is being used.
- Toronto Building is to identify the number of tickets issued on residential infill construction sites and the total value of fines and, if necessary, recommend any changes to the strategy in order to support its continued implementation.
- Transportation Services is to review ways to improve the parking of vehicles during construction and to increase awareness of the process to obtain temporary parking permits for contractor vehicles adjacent to active construction sites.
- The Auditor General will be asked to include in their work plan, an assessment of the extent to which the appropriate fees related to new home construction are not being collected by Transportation Services and how the City can minimize any loss of revenue this is causing.
SAHRA thanks FoNTRA (the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations) and SERRA (the South Eglinton Ratepayers’ & Residents’ Association) for their involvement with the development of this Strategy.
Good Neighbour Guide
The Future of the Greenbelt
When the Greenbelt Act was introduced 10 years ago, it was about protecting irreplaceable farmland, forests, lakes, rivers, and wetlands from urban sprawl. If these protected lands are lost, they’re lost forever.
The Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) distributed an email outlining what the development industry has been doing to take control of these irreplaceable Greenbelt lands.
- They’ve made upwards of 600 requests to the province as part of the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review to take land out of the Greenbelt and make it available for development – even though they have access to over 46,000 hectares of land outside the Greenbelt that is ready to develop (larger than all of Mississauga and Oakville combined!)
- They’re lobbying hard to stop the province’s plan to encourage smart growth that would require municipalities and developers to build a mix of housing types close to existing transit and other infrastructure.
Over 600 requests have come from developers to let urban sprawl into the Greenbelt. The TEA asked for help in sending 6,000 requests to the Premier telling her: “Keep the Greenbelt Off Limits to Urban Sprawl from Developers!”
You could send the letter prepared by TEA (Click here to send your letter today.) or use a simpler template that SAHRA has prepared (Future of the Greenbelt attachment).
The Globe and Mail had an article in the Globe T.O. section on this subject as well – ‘The Big Squeeze’.
We had until October 31, 2017 when the ten-year review of the Greenbelt legislation came to a close.
Scuttled Crosstown deal sparks debate about Toronto transit and development
An interesting article in the Toronto Star about a proposal for a 15-storey building at Avenue Road and Eglinton that would have been built over the new transit station. Speaks to the petulance of developers and the complexity of working with the community, the City and Metrolinx.
Growing Pains documentary
In Growing Pains, a three-part documentary series directed by Gregory Greene, and produced in partnership with Evergreen CityWorks and The Globe and Mail, viewers will explore the decades-spanning planning history that led to the creation of the act. See first-hand the progress city planners and residents across the region have made – and the challenges they’ve faced – and peek at what the near future holds for one of Canada’s fastest-growing regions.