COVID-19 - August 7 Update

I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the Lebanese community and those with friends and family in Beirut. We all extend our condolences to those who have lost loved ones and wish a quick recovery to those who have been injured. If you wish to support the relief effort, please consider making a donation.

Last week, the Government of Canada launched the COVID Alert App. This app is able to notify you if someone you were near in the past 14 days tested positive for COVID-19, if they had the app installed. COVID Alert uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes with nearby phones and does not use or access any location data. This is an innovative and powerful tool and the more people who use it, the more effective it will be.  I encourage you to take a moment to download the app.

Speeding on our streets has been a longstanding issue that I have been working with our communities to address. During the pandemic, the City has seen a clear increase in speeding which needs to be addressed. Before COVID, the City was taking steps to utilize the new technology of Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras (ASE) in school safety zones, which automatically issues tickets to vehicle owners that are identified speeding. During the first two weeks of the program, the City’s 50 ASEs issued 7,645 tickets. This is an effective new tool that the city has implemented specifically in areas where large numbers of children walk or play each day. As we head into the new school year, these cameras are an invaluable in keeping our kids safe and changing the culture around unsafe driving.

Did you know that 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Earlscourt Park?  To celebrate this milestone, Muse Arts is working with the Earlscourt Centennial Planning Committee to create two community murals highlighting both Indigenous history for the area, and park history. If this park holds unique significance for you and your family, I encourage you to become involved.

This week, work has begun on the installation of the Bloor West bikeway extension from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road. Throughout this process, the community and local businesses have been actively involved in the planning of these lanes and I appreciate them being vocal in their overwhelming support. This 4.5KM extension is nearly double the existing Bloor bikeway stretch and will provide a safe, connected and convenient cycling route through the heart of our community. As more people turn to active transportation in response to COVID-19, it is crucial that we provide adequate infrastructure to keep them safe. With construction planned to be completed by September, I encourage you to visit the Bloordale and Bloorcourt communities both during and following the construction period to visit our many amazing small businesses.

Our office continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca or by phone at 416.392.7012.

In community,

Ana

Questions from the Community!

Each day, we are working to answer important questions from our community. To keep you all informed, we will feature some of these questions each newsletter. Have a question you think would be good to share? Reach out to us at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca.

I hear a lot recently about "contract tracing" and how important it is to the work to contain the spread of Covid-19.  What exactly is "contract tracing?"
Contract tracing is essentially a process by which public health officials identify and contact individuals who may have come into contact with a person who has become infected with the Covid-19 virus.  It is important because using this process public health officials can connect with those who have come into contact with an infected person and in so doing alert them to the potential risk they have of having or carrying the virus and also provide information to them and ensure that as needed they self-isolate and get tested for the virus.  Below is a link to the Public Health Ontario web page that provides details about contract tracing.
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/contact-tracing-initiative#:~:text=Ontario%20residents%20who%20have%20COVID,throughout%20their%20self%2Disolation%20period.

Are other municipalities permitted to prevent residents from another municipality from entering their city or town?
No, residents of any Ontario municipality are free to travel to another city, town or village.  However, it is important to note that some municipalities, particularly popular tourist areas, have put in place regulations affecting how many people can visit certain amenities such as beaches.  Some of these municipalities have created protocols that limit participation for those from out of town.  Some towns with beaches have set aside areas for out of town residents and those who live within their town and there maximums in terms of how many people can be on a given beach.  Likewise, others like Orillia while not specifically restricting access to a beach are charging $50.00 for parking for non-residents and $50.00 to launch a boat for non-residents.  They maintain they are required to do this to prevent over-crowding.  It is best to check before travelling to well-attended tourist locations in Ontario to determine local rules such as parking costs, registration for amenities or beach access regulations that may be in place.  

Local Updates

Property Tax, Water and Solid Waste Relief Program Update
Applications can soon be made online here for the Property Tax, Water and Solid Waste Relief program. The new deadline date is October 30. Applications will now be accepted, even when there are additional non-resident owners as household income now only includes owners residing at the property and their spouse. If you do have additional owners not living at the property, they will have to provide proof of non-residency.

My office remains available to assist you with your application.

Big On Bloor – Call for Submissions
The Big on Bloor festival is looking for 10 artists to showcase their landscape/cityscape photographs or photo-collage works on selected doorways in the Bloordale neighbourhood. Photographs chosen should explore the festival’s theme of “Re-routing”, exploring how we each navigate ourselves ecologically, socially, emotionally and locally. You can learn more by visiting Big on Bloor’s Instagram stories.

72 Perth Redevelopment Update
In order to keep community and stakeholders involved in conversations around the 72 Perth Avenue Development, Castlepoint has launched www.72perth.com where residents can visit to share their input. Through this link you can see an overview of the project, an Frequently Asked Questions section, and a presentation on the proposed development. Feedback is being accepted on the rezoning resubmission package up to end of day September 9th, 2020.

Right to Home Webinar
On July 30, I joined Mayors and Councillors from across the country to discuss the question “How can the right to housing equip local governments to end homelessness?” This was an important discussion where we highlighted the role municipalities have in finding solutions, how we can protect the right to a home, and the need to shift to long-term housing solutions. If you wish to view the webinar, you can do so here.

Here To Help TO
Multiple hotlines across the city have been receiving an increase in calls relating to family violence. These crimes often go unreported, and current circumstances may pose additional barriers for people to get the help and support they need. If you are a victim of any kind of violence or abuse, or if you believe someone you know is being victimized, there are community resources available and police are actively responding to these calls for service.

Metrolinx Track Surfacing Rescheduled (Bloor and Paton Road)
Track surfacing between Bloor Street and the CP diamond (just north of Dupont Street) will take place on Saturday, August 8 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents can expect loud noise and vibration on Friday, August 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. between Bloor Street and Paton Road, as crews prepare the surfacing equipment.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

New measures come into effect today for apartments and condominiums and food and drink establishments to help stop the spread of COVID-19
New measures have come into effect that require masks or face coverings to be worn in common areas in apartments and condominiums and additional requirements for food and drink establishments to protect the health and safety of our communities by helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

CaféTO program now supporting more than 600 restaurants city-wide, registration to close on Tuesday
The City of Toronto’s CaféTO program, which now supports more than 600 restaurants city-wide with increased dining capacity, will close registration to new applicants on Tuesday, August 11 at noon. The program is scheduled to end for the season on November 15.

Enforcement of City of Toronto Residential On-Street Permit Parking program to resume August 14 at midnight
Starting Friday, August 14 at midnight, permit parking enforcement on residential streets in Toronto will resume. Enforcement, as well as the renewal and issuance of residential street parking permits, had been paused due to COVID-19.

The period to renew existing, or purchase new, six and twelve-month on-street parking permits began on July 2 when the parking permit office resumed operation. It was extended to Friday, August 7 to maximize the window for residents. All requests for six and twelve-month residential parking permits should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure permits arrive before August 14.

City of Toronto and Toronto Public Library offering free public Wi-Fi in select parks from August 4 to 8
The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, will bring temporary Wi-Fi access to select parks in northwest Toronto as part of a week-long pilot project called Wi-Fi on Wheels. This initiative was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure vulnerable Torontonians can connect online to important information, social supports and vital services.

City of Toronto investing in affordable, supportive housing with restoration of Cabbagetown properties
The City announced progress on the partnership between the City of Toronto, Dixon Hall and Toronto Community Housing to renovate and revitalize affordable, supportive, multi-tenant (rooming house) units at 502-508 Parliament St. With support from the local ward councillor, the project will now receive $6 million in Section 37 community benefits, allowing the revitalization to proceed this fall and be ready for occupancy in spring 2021.

City of Toronto begins transition back to Heat Relief Network strategy for remainder of 2020 hot weather season
The City of Toronto is beginning the transition back to a modified Heat Relief Network during upcoming Heat Warnings for the remainder of the 2020 hot weather season, including reducing the number of Emergency Cooling Centres (ECCs), now that wider heat relief opportunities are available and accessible to the public.

The network features cool spaces that are open during and beyond Heat Warnings and others open only during Heat Warnings. It includes pools, wading pools, splash pads, community centres and, during Heat Warnings, four ECCs for the public.

City of Toronto announces Family Well-Being Plan
Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto’s Family Well-Being Plan developed in partnership with community agencies and social service providers, to highlight the supports available to those who may be experiencing family violence during the pandemic.

Provincial

Ontario Supporting Non-Profits as Province Recovers from COVID-19
The Ontario government is investing $83 million through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, recover from COVID-19 and continue the delivery of vital programming in their communities.

Federal

New mobile app to help notify Canadians of potential COVID-19 exposure now available
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that COVID Alert, a new national mobile app, is now available to Canadians for free download. The app, first developed in Ontario, helps notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

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