COVID-19 - May 28 Update

City Council met today for the second time since the provincial shut-down using virtual technology. We discussed a number of important matters including accelerating cycling projects, affordable housing initiatives and more.

City Council has voted to implement Bloor West Bikeway Extension & ActiveTO projects across the city. This is a positive and proactive step to address the challenges we will face after the public emergency is over. From climate change to congestion, we need to make changes. The Bloor West Bikeway extension is a project that I have been working on closely with my colleagues Councillors Gord Perks and Mike Layton. Together, we had this project accelerated for a target date of summer 2020 installation. I am pleased we are able to deliver this to our communities. As we continue to move forward, it is important that we all work together to address the needs of our local neighbourhoods and businesses and to create plans that will allow people to travel quickly and safely throughout our City.

I am pleased to share that City Council has also passed Phase 2 of Housing Now. This pandemic has put a spotlight on many things, including inequality in our society and the vulnerability that inequality causes for so many people. It has also demonstrated more clearly than ever that a safe, clean home is vital to our health and well-being.

City Council launched the first phase of Housing Now in 2019. This phase is expected to deliver over 10,000 new residential homes, including approximately 3,700 affordable rental homes. Phase 2 is expected to create up to 1,710 new residential units, including up to 1,240 purpose-built and 620 affordable on six sites. Regardless of COVID, we needed this housing. Our economic wellbeing depends on our ability to house the people who work in our City. This housing will support our front-line workers, PSWs, cleaners and grocery store workers, those we thank each day for putting their health on the line for us. We are creating complete and sustainable communities that benefit all of us.

I have written several times about how the City needs financial support, but we understand that you do to. That is why, Council also voted today to further defer property tax payments without incurring late payment penalties or interest charges during the six month period between June 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020. This will provide real relief for homeowners who are working to get back on their feet after this pandemic.

Lastly, music venues contribute to our culture and economy - both are vitally important to the success of our city. I am pleased that we had support to assist the long-term sustainability of live music venues through endorsing the expansion of a property tax subclass which will assist this sector.

On Thursday, June 4 at 7pm, I will be hosting my third Virtual Davenport Town Hall to bring our community together, share updates from the City and hear from you about how we can support our community further. You can register for this event here, or by calling our office at 416.392.7012. I look forward to connecting with you.

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.

Golf courses and other amenities have re-opened, when will playgrounds re-open?
The closure of playgrounds across Ontario was ordered by the provincial government as part of their emergency order to reduce the potential spread of the Covid-19 public health emergency. The province made this decision on the advice of their provincial Medical Officer of Health. The province has now extended its emergency order to June 9th, 2020 and they may extend it further. The closure of playgrounds and swimming pools remains part of the order. The City cannot open, or consider, re-opening playgrounds until the province changes this in their emergency order.
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-extending-emergency-orders-during-covid-19-outbreak.html

Where can I find a full list of all the changes to City services as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic?
The City maintains an updated interactive web page that provides updates on all City services. The information includes what services have been suspended and which are still operating and information about City parks, buildings, etc. that are open and closed. This link is below.
https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/

Local Updates

West Neighbourhood House and TPL Team up to fight the Digital Divide
West Neighbourhood House, Toronto Public Library and the TPL Foundation have joined forces to smash the digital divide. Thanks to them, 45 vulnerable and isolated folks in our community now have laptops and internet at home. During a #pandemic, the ability to stay connected is life-altering.

Waste bin exchanges
As part of our phased approach to resuming services, 311 will now begin taking requests for waste bin exchanges, which were initially suspended as part of the City’s COVID-19 response. Requests to upsize or downsize a recycling or garbage bin can now be made by calling 311. Requests for a new garbage, recycling or green bin, additional bin or bin repair can also be made by calling 311.

Reopening of all closed waste Drop-Off Depots
As part of the City’s COVID-19 response, waste Drop-Off Depots (Transfer Stations) were closed to the general public. Recently, three of the City’s Drop-Off Depots (Transfer Stations) were reopened to the public on Saturday mornings and two Drop-Off Depots were also opened on weeknights.

Beginning Monday, June 1, all Drop-Off Depots will reopen to the general public. They will operate on regular hours, with the exception of Bermondsey and Ingram Drop-Off Depots, which will only be open to the public on weeknights and Saturday mornings.

The hours for these will remain as follows:

  • Bermondsey: Monday to Thursday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a half-hour closure from 11:30 pm to midnight, Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Ingram: Monday to Friday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a half-hour closure from 11:30 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Gardiner closure, accelerated road construction and ActiveTO this weekend
This weekend, the Gardiner Expressway will be fully closed from the Don Valley Parkway to Hwy 427 for annual maintenance and improvement activities, the intersection of Richmond Street East and Church Street is fully closed for construction, and there will be closures in place for people to practise physical distancing while being physically active on Bayview Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard East.

The Gardiner Expressway will be fully closed starting at 11 p.m. on Friday, May 29 until 5 a.m. on Monday, June 1 for important annual maintenance and improvements. The City asks residents to please plan your essential travel ahead, leave plenty of extra time and be patient. More information at toronto.ca/gardiner.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

Toronto City Council approves 40 km of expanded and accelerated bike routes for ActiveTO
Toronto City Council today approved expanding and accelerating a total of 40 kilometres of the city’s cycling network as part of Toronto’s ActiveTO program.

This initiative includes approximately 25 kilometres of new bikeways along with the final approval and acceleration of 15-kilomtres of cycling routes previously planned for this year, for a total of approximately 40 kilometres of new on-street cycling lanes to be installed in 2020.

Toronto City Council approves next phase of Housing Now sites
Today, Toronto City Council approved the second phase of Housing Now to get more affordable housing built.

The six new Housing Now sites will create between 1,455 and 1,710 new residential units including between 1,060 and 1,240 purpose-built rentals, of which half (530 to 620) will be affordable rental units. The sites are close to transit, commercial and employment areas and provide opportunities to further develop complete communities, bringing benefits to existing and future residents.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
There are 10,726 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 201 cases since yesterday. There are 367 cases in hospital, with 82 in ICU. In total, 7,944 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 130 cases since yesterday. To date, there have been 800 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.

Yesterday, the City released geographic information on COVID-19 cases in Toronto to help fight the spread of this virus in the city. Case status data and geographic maps can be found on the City’s reporting platform at toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto.

Provincial

Ontario Takes Further Action to Protect Seniors and Staff in Long-Term Care Homes during COVID-19 Outbreak
To further protect seniors and staff in long-term care homes, the Ontario government announced today that it is extending the mandate of the Incident Management System Long-Term Care Table. This table is composed of health care professionals who make immediate decisions to deal with issues related to staffing levels, infection management and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Federal

Governments and international organizations come together to address economic challenges and sustainability
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, will convene world leaders and international organizations today in a joint initiative to sharpen and accelerate our global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to the development emergency.

COVID-19 and hurricane season: Advice for Canadians abroad
Hurricane season has now started and will last until the end of November. Global Affairs Canada takes this opportunity to remind Canadians that the official advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada is still in effect.

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