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Volume 14 No. 22

Ontario’s Bill 23 is Now the Law of The Land!
What does it mean? How might it affect us? What can be done?

The Ontario Provincial Government has just passed Bill 23More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. Your PaBIA Board is concerned that changes in land planning permitted by this legislation have the potential for a significant and serious impact on our community in the years to come.

In order to:

  • make our Members aware of the Bill,
  • understand the possible negative implications, and
  • finding ways to make your voice heard,

we are including for you two documents below.

1. The Georgian Bay Association’s explanation of the issues and their request for individual member letter-writing urging changes to the problematic aspects of Bill 23

  • Should you choose to get involved and have your voice heard, a draft letter to help you is found in the link the GBA provides. By clicking on the link, a GBA template for you comes up to use or edit as you see fit.
  • Where it asks for your postal code, please use your home postal code and your Parliament member contact information will come up.
  • US citizens and Canadians not resident in Ontario, please use your Pointe au Baril Postal Code (P0G 1K0) within the GBA link to access and address your letter to our Pointe au Baril Member of Provincial Parliament.

2. PaBIA’s Bill 23 Bulletin to the Membership

  • After the GBA article below, you will find PaBIA Board’s response to these issues as well as the link to Bill 23 in its entirety and different ways and means to communicate your thoughts.

IF Unchanged, this Bill 23 has HUGE and Long-lasting Effects for YOU as a Georgian Bay cottager! Your Voice is Needed NOW!

GBA’s President, Rolfe Jones explains that Ontario’s Ford government’s Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, was recently passed (but remains in the consultation phase) and, if it isn’t modified, will significantly undermine environmental protections and remove important safeguards in the planning approval process, including the rights of the public to be notified and appeal decisions about development in our Georgian Bay area. You can read the GBA message in its entirety here.

Concisely the GBA wants to:

  1. Encourage everyone to better understand what impacts this would have IF we don’t act to modify it (see the main issues below) and
  2. Encourage the Ford government to make critical changes to this legislation to protect our natural spaces, biodiversity, and cherished cottaging experience. (see link below to make your voice heard

1. Here are the main issues with this Bill:

  • It should focus only on urban areas in Southern Ontario, but contains no geographic limitations
  • Many of its provisions are completely inappropriate for un-serviced land (i.e., no water or sewage hook-up)
  • It will significantly undermine environmental protections and remove safeguards in the planning approval process, such as:
    • making it more challenging for municipalities to oppose development applications
    • eliminating site plan control on residential properties with fewer than 10 homes, which is almost all properties in your part of Georgian Bay
  • It removes 7,400 acres of valuable natural areas and agricultural land from the Greenbelt
  • It removes requirements for a municipality to provide notice or hold public meetings on draft plans of subdivisions
  • Overall, it will remove or weaken environmental protections for our wetlands and natural heritage, and accelerate threats to our shorelines

2. The GBA needs your help NOW! Click here to add your voice!

  All you will need to input is:

  • your home postal code (that way your email letter goes to the MPP where you vote) or cottage postal code for US citizens and Canadians not resident in Ontario
  • your name
  • your email address (so that your email letter comes from you to your MPP and others)

Then simply

  • generate the email letter to your MPP and then,
  • copy Premier Ford, his senior cabinet members, and others to get your message across. (You can find links to these folks toward the end of the PaBIA Special eBlast Bulletin printed below.)

You can make any changes to the recommended letter you want (takes longer!) or simply send it off as is (takes less than a minute).

Even though the GBA has sent a letter urging changes to this Bill 23, a letter from you to your MPP expressing your concerns will help persuade the government to modify this legislation. All over the province, people are writing such letters, and we Georgian Bay residents need to do our part to prevent potential impacts on our environment and our rights. 

Pointe au Baril Islanders’ Association
Special E-Blast Bulletin

Mission. To unite our island and coastal community while preserving and protecting its unique natural environment, supporting community involvement and safety, and engaging with relevant organizations to help us achieve the vision of the Association.

Vision. To preserve this unique natural habitat for generations to come. 

On November 28, 2022, Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 received royal assent and is now law in Ontario. The Board of PaBIA considers that the changes in land planning permitted by this legalisation have the potential for a significant and serious impact on our community in the years to come. We are therefore releasing this special e-blast, both to draw these changes to your attention and to provide you with ways to engage if you agree these developments cannot be ignored.

The final version of the Bill 23 legislation is linked here. A significant number of changes concerning the application of the Planning Act and the protection of the environment will be affected. These include:

  • Matters of character, scale, appearance and design of a structure have been substantially removed from site plan controls.
  • Nature heritage planning allowances on wetlands if deemed to be “net positive”.
  • Changes to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, with a direct impact on the Georgian Bay coastline.
  • Changes to procedures at the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) include the power to order costs against a party who loses at a hearing.
  • Third parties no longer have the right to appeal consents and minor variances. The initial draft Bill had more sweeping restrictions however these were withdrawn by the Standing Committee. The legislation maintains the pre-existing rights of third parties under the Planning Act.
  • Changes to the Development Charges Act, thereby reducing charges used to fund municipal infrastructure associated with the development.
  • Restriction of Conservation Authorities powers.

Many organizations have raised their concerns about the scope and breadth of the legislation. As a result, changes were made to Bill 23 prior to the final reading and royal assent. Nonetheless, there remain worrying aspects of the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, particularly as it relates to environmentally sensitive areas of the province. It has been suggested that this legislation is only aimed at development along the north and east shore of Lake Ontario. The concern however is that provincial legislation applies across the province unless written more narrowly. This was not.

The political voice for the 18 coastal communities is The Georgian Bay Association. Their views are linked here. GBA is continuing to press the matter forward at the provincial, federal and international levels given the reality of water as a shared resource.

We also understand that our Councillors are addressing the impact of the new legislation directly through the Township of the Archipelago.

As distinct from individual PaBIA members, the Board is comprised of Directors who are elected by members at the AGM to carry out responsibilities specified in the Bylaws. Many members of the Board hold strong views on Bill 23 and individually, they will engage in their personal capacity to make their views known. The Board’s responsibilities, as adopted in the 2020 Bylaws, are to advance and protect PaBIA’s Mission and Vision and to ensure that its members are informed of developments that might adversely affect our community. This e-blast should be read in that light.

With a particular focus on PaBIA’s Mission and Vision, we encourage individual members to learn more about the new legislation, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 and to reach their own conclusions about how the now-adopted changes to the Development Charges Act, 1977 and the Planning Act may impact Pointe au Baril and its neighbouring communities.

If, after reviewing these materials and links, you share the concern of so many up and down Georgian Bay, please consider writing to members of the provincial government to express your concern. Consider including:

If you choose, please consider personal and more direct outreach to contacts with whom your concerns might also find resonance.

For US citizens and Canadians not resident in Ontario, please note that our MPP for the Pointe au Baril area is Graydon Smith, Parry Sound/Muskoka, and included above.

Our Mission and Vision are clearly written to preserve our Archipelago “for generations to come”. The Board believes that we have an obligation to look well beyond the present horizon on behalf of those yet to come. We encourage you to get involved on behalf of those future generations.

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