July 2016 E-Newsletter

Dear neighbours,

During July's City Council meeting we debated nearly 300 items and took decisive action on many issues which matter to the Ward 18 community and the city. I would like to thank the numerous residents and others who worked together with me to advance and build support for these many issues. This edition of my e-newsletter discusses many of the steps we have taken together to make our community and city a more livable, competitive and equitable place.

At this past City Council meeting, I managed to gain the support of most of my colleagues on many important transit related Ward 18 issues. In partnership with TTC Chair Josh Colle, we successfully moved a motion requesting TTC and City Planning staff to report to the TTC Board on possible transit improvements along Dufferin St, taking into account the projected population growth, development activity and the impacts they will have on transit capacity in this corridor. I also successfully moved a motion asking City staff to report back on Metrolinx's conditions that the recently announced station on the Barrie GO Line at Bloor and Lansdowne be connected to Lansdowne Subway Station. Another motion that I managed to get approved is directing City staff to initiate discussions with Transport Canada and Metrolinx to identify best practices and possible solutions that avoids the use of bells at GO Train Stations including Bloor GO Station.

In addition to these items, I successfully passed a motion asking City staff to report back to the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee on the feasibility of implementing odour control measures in an attempt to help address the odours emanating from the Nitta Gelatin plant, which falls under Provincial jurisdiction.

City Council also unanimously adopted an $80 million road safety plan that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and moves Toronto towards a vision zero approach to make our roads safer. In addition, Council adopted a Long-Term Waste Management Strategy with a long term vision of working towards a circular economy & a zero waste future. Council has endorsed a 70% target for waste diversion by 2026.

Council voted to move forward with developing Toronto's integrated transit network plan to 2031 that will provide more benefits and connections for Ward 18 residents to move around our city. The plan includes approving SmartTrack service on GO Transit lines, moving forward with an express subway extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line to Scarborough Town Centre, advancing the planning work required to build the Relief Line, advancing the work required to extend the Eglinton Crosstown LRT east to the University of Toronto Scarborough and west to the Pearson Airport area, and to direct the City Manager to enter into cost sharing and intergovernmental funding arrangements with the Province. These projects are also on the priority list of projects to be submitted to the Government of Canada and Province of Ontario under the Federal Public Transit Infrastructure Funding.

The components within the plan have been developed together and are meant to be complimentary to one another. The implementation of SmartTrack will result in faster and more frequent service on the Kitchener GO Corridor at Bloor GO Station and it establishes a Liberty Village station which will have the potential to help serve the transit needs of the West Queen West neighbourhood. A station was also approved for the St. Clair West and Old Weston Rd area which will be within reach of those living at the north end of the Junction Triangle. This expansion of SmartTrack service essentially creates a relief line for the west end giving residents the ability to move quicker around our city on public transit and provides essential connections to the rest of our current and planned network.

On the housing file, City Council moved to implement our landmark Open Door Program which partners the City with private and non-profit developers to construct new affordable housing units by taking advantage of new tools including a streamlined application review processes and utilizing surplus City-owned land to construct new affordable housing. This work will help further our efforts to improve housing affordability in addition to the 294 new affordable housing units we approved this month, and the 550 new housing allowances announced by Mayor Tory and I a couple of weeks ago. With discussions about establishing a National Housing Strategy now taking place, the City continues to work with our federal and provincial partners to tackle our affordable housing needs. 

Over the last month I have had the pleasure to host and attend many events including a Home Security Seminar with Toronto Police Service, discussing the Pavilion Project at the latest edition of my Ward18 Talks series, celebrating the unveiling of Gilfillan Lane, donating clothes at the Street Store event at Dufferin Grove Park, hosting an MPAC Community Information Session and so much more! As many of you know by the celebrations which filled our neighbourhoods, we also had some exciting soccer news as Portugal won the Euro 2016 tournament. Thank you to everyone who attended and joined in our community celebrations this month.

While City Council is on it's summer break, myself and my office remain committed to serving the needs of our community and to achieve real progress on the issues which matter to Ward 18. Please feel free to get in touch by calling my office at 416-392-7012, e-mailing me at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca, or visiting my community office at 1240 Bloor St W between the hours of 10am to 6pm, Wednesday to Friday. I hope to see you at our upcoming community events and our upcoming Ward 18 Movie Night this Thursday in Dovercourt Park! 

Sincerely,

Ana Bailão
City Councillor
Ward 18, Davenport 

Local Updates

Looking at Ways to Improve Transit on Dufferin Street

The TTC's 29 Dufferin bus route is one of Toronto's most highly used surface transit routes. Over the years, we have secured improvements on this route by introducing longer articulated buses and through service changes to improve speed and service.

However, this important transit corridor is also under pressure from a growing number of current and future developments along the route. If fully built out, the Dufferin Corridor north of Bloor St W to just north of Wilson Ave could see a growth of population of up to 54% if all active and potential residential developments are built out. South of Bloor St W to the CNE Grounds, there is the potential to see residential population growth of up to 69% if all active and potential developments were built out. South of Bloor St W, the possibility of employment related development could also expand the number of jobs there by 41%.

While the growing number of development proposals along the important Dufferin corridor is a sign of the vitality of our city, the lack of any plans for higher order transit along Dufferin St will only increase congestion and crowding. The goals of reducing congestion, creating more livable communities and producing more economic growth and opportunity are important to me and our City. In order to fulfill these goals, it is critically important that we support them with investments that enhance public transit in order to expand access to jobs and move people across our city more efficiently.

It is critical that new developments be considered with respect to their impacts on transit capacity and mobility in Toronto. That is why this month at City Council, I moved a motion with TTC Chair Josh Colle in order to address this issue on Dufferin. We have requested that the TTC and City Planning examine what improvements can be made to this route in order to accommodate the projected growth and improve the transit experience for the many customers who rely on this route each and every day. I look forward to reviewing their recommendations with you as we move forward to enhance transit service along Dufferin. 

Taking Action to Address Bells at Bloor GO Station

The issue of bell ringing from GO Transit and Union Pearson Express trains at Bloor GO/UP Station has produced many sleepless nights and early morning wakeups for those who live near the station. With plans to expand transit service along the Kitchener GO Corridor, it is critical the issue of bell ringing be addressed by Metrolinx and Transport Canada, the regulatory body responsible for rail corridors. City Council this month adopted my recommendations to have the City Manager initiate discussions with Metrolinx and Transport Canada to identify best practices and possible solutions that avoids the use of train bells and/or whistles for trains entering and exiting passenger rail stations and to provide a progress report to the Executive Committee by the end of 2016.

This report will include recommendations to City Council about what steps and requests can be taken to eliminate the use of bells and whistles at existing GO Train Stations. I look forward to reviewing these options as we seek to have Metrolinx and Transport Canada move to address this important matter. 

New Bloor/Lansdowne GO Station Update 

As I mentioned last month, Metrolinx announced a new GO Station on the Barrie Line at Bloor and Lansdowne. The station site itself is subject to further analysis of corridor service implications and a commitment by the City to provide an accessible, weather protected, pedestrian connection to Lansdowne Subway station.

In light of this, I moved a motion at City Council that requested the City manager and CEO of the TTC to report back on the financial and logistical conditions imposed by Metrolinx and on potential solutions to finance the investment needed to make this connection, which is included in the City's Official Plan. I look forward to updating you as this issue progresses in order to provide the rapid and regional connections Davenport residents need to access jobs and attract investment into our community. 

Bloor Dufferin Lands Meeting Summary and Update

A meeting was held on June 20, 2016 to discuss the future of the Toronto District School Board's Bloor-Dufferin School Lands with members of the public. Thank you to all who attended the meeting and to those who submitted their feedback on this important community building opportunity. During the meeting a presentation was given reviewing the process and details of the TDSB's work to consolidate these surplus lands and develop a community hub. The feedback received at the meeting, online, in writing and through our offices will inform the next steps taken to transform the 7.3 acre site.

The meeting was overseen by the independent Swerhun Facilitation Team who have prepared a summary report of the meeting which includes the discussions and materials presented and the feedback received through all mediums. An abbreviated summary of the community feedback includes:

  • There is concern that the sale of this 7.3 acre public asset will result in the site being largely privatized, with proceeds of the sale leaving the community. There is also concern that students from Bloor CI and ALPHA II Alternative School will be in a substandard building when they move to the renovated Brockton.

  • Based on the above concerns, participants expressed significant interest in seeing a meaningful process for community participation in decisions related to the future development of the 7.3 acres of surplus lands, the community hub and public spaces, and the renovation of Brockton.

  • Participants also expressed significant interest in seeing the redevelopment include a wide range of uses that would benefit the local community, including community uses, affordable housing, affordable community space, better connections, green and park space, safety for pedestrians and cyclists, maintenance of heritage, thriving small businesses, and
    a mix of uses.

I share these concerns and the interests of our community. As mentioned in my previous update, my commitment for any development or changes on the Bloor-Dufferin Lands is centered on these key principles:

  • The preservation of as much green space as possible;
  • The preservation and expansion of child care spaces;
  • The need for affordable housing to be included as part of any development on the site;
  • That any proposed development fits with the character of the neighbourhood;
  • The preservation of the heritage aspects of the site; and
  • The need for community services, uses, and a community hub to be created on the site itself.

I will continue to work with community members, the TDSB and the Province of Ontario as the TLC moves forward with the sale process to ensure that any plan on this site meets these goals to best serve our community interests. 

To review the full meeting summary prepared by the Swerhun Facilitation Team, please click here. To review the appendix files which include plans for the Brockton CI renovations and copy of the presentation given at the meeting, please click here

Thank you to those who took the time to provide their feedback and be a part of the process. I look forward to continuing our work with you as we move forward on this important community building opportunity.

Looking for ways to Preserve Child Care Uses at Old Orchard

As many of you are aware, the Toronto District School Board has identified the Old Orchard Junior Public School lands at 375 Dovercourt Road in Ward 19 as a site that could potentially be sold off. While the school is no longer in operation, the West End Parents Daycare and the Orchard Montessori rent space from the TDSB to provide child care and educational services for parents and children in the community. 

I have been working with Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity Spadina) in order to try to find a solution that would result in retaining the existing uses on the site. As part of our efforts, I recently moved a motion at the June 29, 2016 Executive Committee meeting that directs City staff to work with Councillor Layton and I, the Toronto Lands Corporation (the TDSB's real estate arm), and the current tenants to develop a business case for the potential severance, purchase and/or loan guarantee, in order to secure increased parkland and preserve 200 child care and after school program spaces and to report back to the Executive Committee.

I believe that it is critical that we retain the child care and green space that our community currently utilizes now and into the future. I look forward to continuing our discussions to try and find a solution that will allow for the retention of child care spaces on the site. 

Moving Ahead on the Missing Link

Recently, the Province of Ontario and Metrolinx announced an agreement in principle has been reached with Canadian National Rail to initiate further GO Regional Express Rail enhancements along the Kitchener GO Corridor. This agreement also provides a framework to initiate the planning and analysis work needed to advance the "Missing Link" freight rail bypass in consultation with stakeholders and the community. The "Missing Link" project provides an unprecedented opportunity to move Canadian Pacific Rail's freight traffic off the CP tracks that run through Toronto (which form the northern border of Ward 18) and to increase rail safety along this important corridor.

This initiative also opens a new potential for increased transit service in Toronto and across the region. I voted to direct City staff to engage in discussions with stakeholders and government partners to move this important project forward. I look forward to reviewing their feedback when they report to back in 2017. 

Nitta Gelatin July 2016 Update

Since my election in 2010 and in the hopes of achieving a solution to the odour issues at the Nitta Gelatin Plant, I have consistently involved City staff with respect to this issue including the Deputy City Manager, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Buildings, City Planning, Municipal Licensing and Standards and other City Divisions.

The results of some of those previous discussions have indicated that the site that Nitta Gelatin sits on has been zoned industrial for well over 100 years and that the former City of Toronto By-law 438-86 (pre-amalgamation) permits the use of a gelatine factory on the site. City staff have also consistently advised that odours emanating at Nitta's plant are governed by the Environmental Protection Act and associated regulations which are enforced by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

However, I am pleased to inform you that I have successfully moved a motion at City Council requesting the Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards to complete a jurisdictional scan and analysis of regulatory options to address concerns of odours emanating from manufacturing facilities, including an Odour Control Bylaw.

City staff will be reporting to the Licensing and Standards Committee on the feasibility of implementing such measures. The recommendation in the motion was developed in consultation with City staff from the Deputy City Manager's Office and Municipal Licensing and Standards.

I have also been informed by Nitta that they have met with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and that the Ministry has requested two items from Nitta:

  1. Nitta to quit the processing of sludge through their centrifuge system, where a significant amount of odour has come from; and
  2. Nitta to hire a third-party consultant to develop a Fugitive Odour Abatement Plan.

It is also my understanding that Nitta and MPP Martins will be hosting a public town hall meeting this fall. I look forward to continuing to update you on this issue as soon as I have more information. 

Bike Share Toronto Arrives in Ward 18

I am happy to announce that Bike Share Toronto is in the process of opening 15 new stations in Ward 18, including one at the Bloor GO/UP Station. As Toronto Bike Share expands with over 120 news stations across the city, moving into Ward 18, with the third highest bike usage in Toronto, just makes sense.

These efforts to expand cycling access and facilities in Ward 18 are important steps in promoting active transportation. By incorporating cycling into our daily commute, we benefit both from a reduction in congestion on our streets and from the positive health impacts we gain from in our daily commutes.The addition of this new infrastructure helps to transform the Bloor GO/UP Station into a multimodal transit hub for residents who need a quick way to get around, or for those who visit our Ward's shops and attractions. Located on the West Toronto Railpath, users will be able to take advantage of this great (and soon to be extended!) piece of cycling infrastructure to connect them to their destinations. Click on the map for a close up look at all of Ward 18's new stations.

I look forward to working with residents as we continue to expand Bike Share Toronto in Ward 18 and across Toronto. Happy Riding!

Securing Community Benefits at 99 Sudbury 

The developer of 99 Sudbury St. decided to appeal their development application to the Ontario Municipal Board. City Planning staff requested a directions report from City Council to settle the claim which included the following:

  • a height reduction from 26 stories to 18 stories (a reduction from 89.3m to 63.8m, lower than 2-6 Lisgar St.
  • Number of units reduced from 190 down to 121 untis
  • A minimum of 15% of dwelling units shall contain at least 2 bedrooms
  • A minimum of 10% of dwelling units shall contain at least 3 bedrooms
  • The width of the proposed West Toronto Railpath Link proposed to be incorporated into the development will be increased from 4.5m to 5m and will be maintained clear of obstructions, including outward opening doors, to a height of 6 metres
  • Sections 37 contributions including: $250,000 to be allocated to the Theatre Centre or other non-profit arts organizations in the neighbourhood; $800,000 to be allocated to the landing structure and access for a possible future King Highline Bridge, or another appropriate public benefit serving the neighbourhood; the provision of an elevated West Toronto Railpath Link through the site to the satisfaction of the Chief Planner, currently having an estimated value of $1,008,000

A pre-hearing at the OMB is currently being scheduled and I will keep you informed of future updates.

West Queen West Heritage Conservation District Study Underway

The City of Toronto is conducting a Heritage Conservation District Study in the West Queen West neighbourhood which will identify and assess the heritage traits of the neighbourhood. With the development pressures that the area is seeing, this work will help to shape new development in order to meet our design and community goals. A Heritage Conservation District Study Working Group has been struck which will bring together members of the community, stakeholders and City staff to develop a framework to carry out this work.

This working group will serve as venue for discussion between all parties about the heritage traits in the neighbourhood currently being studied by staff. I look forward to reviewing the results of their work as staff continue their study. 

Open Streets TO Expands to Ward 18

I am happy to announce that the annual Open Streets TO festival will be coming to Ward 18 this year. During Open Streets TO, the roads will be closed to cars and opened up for people to play, relax, exercise and explore. This year, the festival will take place on Bloor Street from Dufferin to Parliament and Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen for its biggest year ever. Thank you to all the businesses, residents, community groups and stakeholders who worked with us this year to bring Open Streets TO and its activities to Ward 18. For more information on Open Streets TO, please visit their website by clicking here

College Street Streetscaping and Infrastructure Works

This summer the College Promenade Business Improvement Area is carrying out extensive streetscape beautification work along College Street from Havelock to Shaw Streets. This work is the result of a joint planning effort between myself, the BIA, City staff, and the local community. These investments by the College Promenade BIA focus on strong collaboration with local artists and designers to create a dynamic landscape showcasing the best of Toronto's creativity.

A series of "Blue Rooms" and parkettes, designed by Stanislav Jurkovic will combine additional shade and custom designed bench seating with dynamic public artwork and lighting, adding new vibrancy and colour to the neighbourhood. Further streetscape improvements include upgraded decorative paving units, new light posts, 58 new tree plantings and new public artwork. 

In addition to these investments, a series of custom bicycle parking racks, designed by local craftsman Scott Eunson will provide a great piece of public artwork and expand bicycle parking for visitors and shop patrons. Expanding the accessibility of our business to new patrons is an important part of my work to improve the commercial vibrancy of shops across Ward 18 and this investment builds on the expansion of 15 Bike Share stations across our community. I look forward to these streetscape investments being completed and thank the community for for all the feedback which made these improvements a reality. While construction is ongoing, local businesses are still open and I encourage you to shop local and help support our local businesses during the construction!

In addition to this streetscaping work, multiple infrastructure renewal projects are taking place along College Street including TTC streetcar track replacement, road upgrades at the College and Lansdowne intersection and watermain and lead pipe replacement work on Lansdowne south of Dundas Street. For more details on these projects, please click here.

===\\DeRAIL Pulls in to Ward 18

For its inaugural commission during the annual Doors Open Festival this spring====\\DeRAIL presented MOBILE INK FACTORY by Jason Logan/Toronto Ink Company a work inspired by the dynamic of wild plantings and industrial character of the West Toronto Railpath. Educational, playful and participatory, MOBILE INK FACTORY drew attention to biodiversity and the inherent colours of the Railpath to celebrate new ways of understanding a familiar place beyond its usual functionality. Through the Doors Open weekend, Jason Logan led participants along a section of the Railpath to learn about the unique character of this urban ecosystem and then to make ink from the natural and handmade elements collected during the exploratory walks. Participants were invited to make a bottle of ink as a souvenir of place, time and experience. You can check out a gallery of photos from this great initiative by clicking here

Housing Updates

Providing Housing Relief for More Families in Toronto

Earlier this month, I was joined by Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell to announce the expansion of 550 new housing allowances to help support families on the affordable housing waitlist as we work to secure affordable housing units for them. The housing allowances are targeted to eligible families with 3 or more children who have been on the waitlist for 10 years or more and eligible families who need wheelchair accessible units who have been on the waitlist for 8 years or more.

Unlike rent subsidies, which are tied to a specific unit, housing allowances give families the flexibility to move homes if they choose to do so. These new housing allowances are an important part of our work to assist the households who are currently waiting for affordable housing. The federal and provincial investments which support this work are a key part of the multi-level partnership underway to effectively improve housing affordability for residents in our community and across Toronto.

Securing New Affordable Housing

At the last City Council meeting we approved the construction of 294 affordable ownership and rental homes across the city - the largest amount of units at one City Council meeting in recent memory. Securing these units was a joint effort between Build Toronto, private developers, other stakeholders and the Affordable Housing Office. These units were secured by leveraging private sector construction activity and surplus city land to build much needed new affordable housing for Torontonians. It is critically important that we continue to support these joint efforts to efficiently build the housing we need for residents across Toronto and the work undertaken to secure these units can serve as an example for future projects and commitments across Toronto. 

Opening the Door to New Affordable Housing Opportunities

As Toronto's Housing Advocate, an important part of my commitment to improving housing affordability includes finding new ways, partnerships and tools for the City of Toronto and its housing partners to build new affordable housing. The City's Open Door program is our newest initiative to help spur the construction of new affordable housing. 

Open Door takes advantage of the ongoing housing construction boom by partnering with non-profit and private sector developers to reduce the costs associated with building new affordable units. This program takes advantage of the tools that the City of Toronto has to provide a comprehensive package of incentives for our housing partners.

These incentives include a fast-tracked planning review process which reduces the planning approvals wait period from 18 months down to 12 months. Since time is money, this move allows builders to lower their project carrying costs and construct new affordable units. A second key tool partners developers with the City to take advantage of surplus City real estate to build and operate new affordable housing. The City will also waive development and property tax charges on new affordable housing units within new developments to lower their costs and secure a long-term 25 year commitment to maintaining affordability in units under the Open Door Program. 

This investment is a significant step forward to create new affordable housing activity as we work with our provincial and federal partners to implement Inclusionary Zoning and build a National Housing Strategy. All three levels of government are in agreement that we must take action now to improve housing affordability. It is critical that we utilize this opportunity to improve housing conditions for Torontonians now and into the future. 

Events

Movie Nights @ Dovercourt Park - Dovercourt Park (155 Bartlett Ave) - Thursday July 28, 2016 from 7:30pm to 10pm 

Stone Soup Family Park - Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin St)-  Friday August 5, 2016 from 3pm to 6pm 

Open Streets TO - Bloor Street West Dufferin to Yonge - Sunday August 21st, 2016 and Sunday September 18, 2016

Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Fair - Bloor Street West Between Dufferin and Montrose - Saturday August 27, 2016 from noon to 10pm

News Clippings

Opening doors to affordable housing in Toronto – Toronto Star

Rent relief coming for 550 Toronto families waiting for affordable housing – Toronto Star

City Staff Recommend Dominus for TCHC CityPlace Development – Urban Toronto

Pavilion Project aims to commission a temporary structure that engages the community, transforms the neighbourhood – Parkdale Villager

Crossing guard gets special send-off for retirement – CTV News Toronto

Creating a Livable City – Build Toronto

Bike Share Toronto rolls into the big time with major expansion – Toronto Star

Community members discuss what makes Queen Street West unique, worth protecting – Parkdale Villager

Why We Need to Develop Toronto’s Laneways – Torontoist

Toronto Bike Share to take 'giant step forward' as expansion begins – Metro 

Important Notices

Keep Track of Your Water Use This Summer

With the warm weather here, the City of Toronto is reminding residents that they can track their water use online with MyWaterToronto. Use MyWaterToronto to better understand your water use and look for ways to save water and money. To log-on and learn more, visit www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto.

501 Queen Streetcar Diverting Until October

Streetcars on the 501/301 Queen route are diverting due to City of Toronto watermain work on Queen St. W. between Bathurst St. and Spadina Ave.

Streetcars will divert both ways via Spadina Ave., King St. W. and Shaw St. Shuttle buses will run on Queen St. W. between Dufferin St and University Ave. to assist customers and local businesses in the area.

Regular service will resume Sunday, Oct. 9.

For any inquiries about this work, please contact the TTC via telephone at 416-393-3030, online at www.ttc.ca or @TTChelps on Twitter.

Watermain and TTC infrastructure Projects on Lansdowne to Require Cycling and TTC Route 47 and 506/306 DIversions

The City of Toronto is replacing the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Lansdowne Avenue from south of Dundas Street to Rideau Avenue, and on the Lansdowne Avenue East Branch up to Shirley Street. The road of Lansdowne Avenue from south of Dundas Street West to Rideau Avenue will also be reconstructed as part of the project. The project will continue until September 15, 2016. In order to accommodate this work, Lansdowne Avenue will be closed in the southbound direction from Dundas Street West to Rideau Avenue for the duration of the project. For more project information, please click here. You can find a fact sheet with more information about replacing lead service pipes by clicking here.

In addition to this watermain work, The City of Toronto and TTC will be reconstructing the College and Lansdowne intersection to replace aging streetcar tracks and improve road conditions on Lansdowne. This work will require a complete closure of Lansdowne from College Street to Dundas Street West. Pedestrian and service access will be maintained for businesses in the affected area. If further temporary restrictions to access for businesses are required, the contractor will notify business owners. for more details about this project, please click here to view the information notice.

During these infrastructure projects, the TTC's Route 47 bus will be diverting via Dundas, Dufferin & Queen.  The TTC's 506/306 route will be diverting via Dundas and Dufferin and will continue to operate with buses in the western portion of the route and Streetcars on the eastern portion of the route. The map below includes more information. For cycling detours in the area, please click here.

I will keep you informed of further route changes over during these infrastructure renewal projects and encourage you to consult the TTC via www.ttc.ca or @TTCHelps on Twitter for further updates on this work.

Metrolinx is Expanding The Dufferin St Bridge North of Queen St W

As part of the work being done to facilitate the Province of Ontario's Regional Express Rail program, the Dufferin Street Bridge (just north of Queen St W) carrying Metrolinx's Kitchener GO Corridor will be expanded on the north side to accommodate for additional tracks and the future expansion of the West Toronto Railpath. This project will result in local noise and construction, in addition to a total closure of Dufferin Street for approximately one month in order to carry out this work. During the closure of the Dufferin Street Bridge, the TTC's Route 29 Dufferin Bus will be diverting southbound via east on Peel, south on Gladstone, West on Queen and northbound via east on Queen, north on Gladstone and west on Peel. I will keep you informed when this diversion is put in place.

The contractor will make efforts to complete nosier works during the day and Mertrolinx is working to accelerate the work schedule to reduce the community impacts. If overnight work is required, when possible, lights will be pointed away from homes. 

Prior to the closure of Dufferin Street, residents and businesses will be given two weeks notice. Signage and a traffic management plan for the affected area will be put in place to direct drivers and mitigate impacts to the extent possible. A full closure of Dufferin St will not occur until after the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) has finished.

For Metrolinx's complete notice and information flyer please click here.

Council Highlights

Toronto City Council met on July 12, 13, 14 an 15, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of selected decisions made by Toronto City Council. Council dealt with about 300 topics/agenda items at its July meeting. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Toronto's 15-year transit plan   

Council adopted recommendations for moving ahead with key projects that will form Toronto's transit network by 2031, including approval of additional technical and planning analysis of a SmartTrack concept with up to six new stations and an Eglinton West LRT (light-rail transit line), a one-stop Scarborough subway extension, an Eglinton East LRT and a Relief Line. Among the many recommendations and motions adopted, Council directed staff to work with intergovernmental partners in the next phase of analysis for a plan on funding the projects.

Plan to improve road safety    

Council unanimously endorsed a five-year Road Safety Plan with the goal of reducing the number of road fatalities and serious injuries to zero. A report noted the recent trend of more traffic-related fatalities involving pedestrians, cyclists and older adults. Among motions adopted as part of this agenda item is a proposal to ask the Ministry of Transportation to consider re-introducing automated speed enforcement and a proposal for improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists by creating zones with reduced speed limits, improved pavement markings and signal-timing adjustments.

Consultation on City finances    

Council approved undertaking public consultation on the City of Toronto's long-term financial direction. The public will be asked to provide input on expenditure management strategies, oversight of City programs and agencies, management of City assets, and revenue generation to support desired public services. Staff reported that Torontonians have demonstrated an interest in participating in a dialogue on municipal finances. The consultation will extend from this fall to next spring.

Schedule for 2017 budget process  

After discussion and debate, Council approved the schedule for the City's 2017 budget process and set an across-the-board target for budget reduction. The reduction target is 2.6 per cent below the 2016 approved net operating budgets for all City programs, agencies, accountability offices and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. All services are to be explored for efficiency-related savings. Council directed staff to prepare the 2017 tax-supported operating budget based on estimated revenue from a residential property tax increase at or below the rate of inflation.

Review of City real estate services     

Council considered a report assessing how the City delivers real estate services and supported moving toward creating a centralized real estate entity that consolidates all core real estate and facilities management operations and functions. Those operations are currently managed autonomously across 15 City agencies, corporations and divisions. The City's portfolio includes almost 7,000 buildings and about 12,000 hectares (29,000 acres) of land. The centralized entity would have a mandate that strengthens the City’s ability to strategically promote City objectives.

Implementing supervised injection services     

Council affirmed its support for implementing small-scale supervised injection services at Toronto Public Health (The Works), Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre and South Riverdale Community Health Centre. The intention is to provide a safe and hygienic environment where people can inject pre-obtained drugs under a nurse's supervision. The three sites are in locations that have a high rate of injection drug use and associated high-risk behaviours.

Social housing in Toronto       

In response to the report Tenants First: A Way Forward for Toronto Community Housing and Social Housing in Toronto, Council adopted a set of strategic directions and requested an implementation plan to support the City's efforts to provide clean, safe, well-maintained, affordable homes to social housing tenants. The initiative includes transitioning a portion of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation's portfolio to a new community-based, non-profit corporation and to community-based, non-profit providers of social housing.

Open Door affordable housing    

Council approved the Open Door Affordable Housing Program to accelerate the creation of affordable housing in Toronto by providing City financial incentives, activating surplus public land for affordable housing and offering an Open Door planning service. Responding to a separate agenda item on affordable housing, Council authorized staff to enter into agreements with the Ontario government if, as anticipated, funding is made available to the City between now and October under a new federal/provincial program supporting affordable housing infrastructure.

City input on national housing strategy    

Council endorsed asking Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), Toronto's Housing Advocate, to lead the City's response to federal consultation on creating a national housing strategy. Preparing the City's response will include obtaining input from other members of Council, housing stakeholders and the public. The Minister of Children, Families and Social Development recently launched federal consultations on creating a national housing strategy.

Text messaging for 911 response     

Council supported a motion to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to consider the possibility of introducing texting from smartphones as a way for people to report an emergency via the 911 emergency dispatch service. The motion notes that there are situations in which making a voice phone call to 911 can attract unwanted attention and texting could provide a safe alternative.

Appointment of Ombudsman and Lobbyist Registrar    

Council approved the appointment of Susan Opler as the City's new Ombudsman and Cristina De Caprio as the new Lobbyist Registrar, both effective September 12. Opler, who has extensive experience as a litigator, adjudicator, mediator and educator, will take over from interim Ombudsman Kwame Addo. De Caprio, who has held leadership positions in regulatory organizations and the non-profit sector, will take over from interim Lobbyist Registrar Stephen Littlejohn.   

Acting Medical Officer of Health     

Council appointed Dr. Barbara Yaffe the acting Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Toronto effective August 1 and until Council appoints a new Medical Officer of Health. Dr. David McKeown, the current MOH, retires on July 31. Dr. Yaffe has been Director of Communicable Disease Control and an Associate Medical Officer of Health with Toronto Public Health since 1998. 

Schools as community assets         

Council adopted recommendations and motions tied to the Toronto District School Board's identification of many school properties that it expects to sell. Informed by an evaluation process carried out by staff, Council provided direction on five specific school properties (Thistletown, McNicoll, Silver Creek, Sir Robert Borden and Buttonwood Hill schools) for their importance to the City as community assets providing local services and green space. Council also approved a set of principles to guide the disposition and development of school properties in general.

Midtown community facility     

Council agreed to direct staff to work out an agreement with the Toronto District School Board on building a planned new Davisville Junior Public School as a three-storey building, leaving space for the City to construct a recreation and aquatic facility on the same midtown Toronto site.

Attracting foreign investment     

Council approved the City's participation as a funding partner in a new enterprise called Toronto Global along with Greater Toronto Area (GTA) municipal partners and with financial support from the Ontario and federal governments. Toronto Global is being formed to increase the GTA’s share of direct investment attracted from around the world. The business and affairs of the City's Invest Toronto agency will be wound up after an orderly transition to Toronto Global.

Long-term strategy for managing waste  

Council adopted a long-term waste management strategy for Toronto. The strategy includes the goal of working toward a circular economy and a zero-waste future that is measured by a "per capita" waste generation rate. A circular economy emphasizes preventing waste generation and maximizing resource recovery. Council's support included endorsing a 70 per cent target for residential waste diversion by 2026, among other actions and targets for waste management.

Rail freight corridor in Toronto     

Council adopted recommendations that include directing City staff to participate in further discussions with Metrolinx and other participants on plans for a new rail freight corridor passing through part of Toronto. Staff were also asked to continue negotiations with Metrolinx concerning a new GO station at Bloor Street and the rail-corridor intersection at Dupont Street, among other actions.

Development at Union Station       

Council approved an application for special grants and tax assistance, subject to certain conditions, for a landmark development proposed for the east side of Bay Street at Union Station. The proposed office towers at 45 and 141 Bay St. are considered a Transformative Project, which designates an important project that will enable the City to quickly achieve planning and economic development objectives such as creating new jobs and linking with regional transit initiatives.

Park under the Gardiner Expressway   

Council approved a governance and funding model for programming, operating and maintaining a 1.75 kilometre area under the Gardiner Expressway as a linear park – described as a trail and network of public amenities – between Spadina and Strachan Avenues. The project, made possible by a substantial private donation, will be operated as a not-for-profit charitable corporation. The first phase involves the area between Strachan Avenue and Bathurst Street with a trail connection extending to Spadina Avenue.

Waterfront transit       

Council directed City staff in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto to initiate the second phase of the Waterfront Transit Reset and create an implementation strategy to deliver a co-ordinated waterfront transit solution. In addition, Council adopted a motion calling for dialogue on the feasibility of a new transit hub at the Mr. Christie's site at 2150 Lake Shore Blvd. W. and to address the need for improved transit in the Humber Bay Shores area.

Proposed men's shelter  

Council directed staff to continue their work with the local community to determine the size and program model for a men's shelter planned for a Runnymede Road site and report back to the Community Development and Recreation Committee. Staff were also asked to take several other steps to help ensure the shelter's successful integration into the neighbourhood. 

Relocation of Etobicoke Civic Centre   

Council agreed to ask Build Toronto to lead a design competition for a new Etobicoke Civic Centre complex on the City's Westwood Theatre lands at Bloor Street and Kipling Avenue. City staff and Build Toronto are also to report on costs and revenues associated with plans for the two City properties (the current civic centre site at Burnhamthorpe Road/The West Mall and the Bloor/Kipling site) as well as a City-owned property at Bloor and Islington Avenue – and to report on possible opportunities for including new affordable housing in future developments at the three sites. 

Improving community safety    

Council approved taking steps to enable new initiatives that support community safety to proceed, including the use of up to $750,000 from the provincial and federal governments to fund community safety initiatives in response to incidences of violence this summer.

Amendments to the sign bylaw   

Council adopted several amendments and directives involving the City's sign bylaw. Any signs that may have historical or cultural significance, for example, are to be identified when City Planning staff review site-plan applications and staff are to look into options for displaying those signs in other Toronto locations.

Toronto's human rights awards     

Council extended its congratulations to the individuals and an organization selected by a community panel as recipients of the 2016 City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards. Fizul Sima receives the Aboriginal Affairs Award; Maayan Ziv, the Access Award; Alex Abramovich, the Pride Award; and Black Lives Matter Toronto, the William P. Hubbard Award.

Tribute to Muhammad Ali    

A motion approved by Council will provide funding to create and install a plaque commemorating Muhammad Ali's visit to Toronto in 1966 for a boxing match against George Chuvalo at Maple Leaf Gardens. Prior to the fight, Ali trained at Earl Sullivan's Toronto Athletic Club at 109 Ossington Ave., the site chosen for the new plaque. The motion said Ali's recent death provided a timely occasion to commemorate the famous fight and Ali's visit to Toronto at a critical time in his career

Road hockey and basketball      

Council voted to amend Toronto's municipal code to remove the long-standing but seldom enforced prohibition against placing portable basketball or hockey nets for games on streets (the public right of way). The motion that Council adopted specifies that hockey or basketball can be played on local roads that have a speed limit of 40 km/h or lower, and the activity must not obstruct driveways, pose a hazard to pedestrians and other traffic, or impede maintenance work.

Tragically Hip's final concert

Council authorized staff to look into screening the broadcast of the final concert by the Tragically Hip in a Toronto square, theatre or park. CBC plans to broadcast and stream the Canadian rock band's final performance, which is to take place in Kingston on August 20. 

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