It looks like spring is finally here which is great news for everyone who enjoys the warmer weather and especially for all of our gardeners here in Ward 18! I've got you covered on the compost front this year with four community compost pick-up days where you can pick up freshly composed soil for your gardens. You can find out more about where and when the closest compost pick up day is in this month's e-newsletter.
I will also be hosting my annual Community Environment Day on May 14 from 10am to 2pm at the Dufferin Mall Parking Lot where you will be able to drop off unwanted goods to be donated and reused. You can also bring your household hazardous waste and electronics for safe disposal and recycling while also picking up compost at the event.
With the change in weather comes an exciting line up of festivals, events, and community meetings that will be taking place now and into the summer. Please read below about my new Ward18 Talks event series, another Galleria Mall Open House, a community update meeting on the 158 Sterling Rd development, the unveiling of the revitalized Salem-Westmoreland Parkettes, and much more! You can also find out the latest on what is going on in our community by visiting the events section of my website. I hope to see you out in the community enjoying everything that Ward 18 has to offer!
Many of you have become familiar with my updates on Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project. Metrolinx is hosting a public meeting tonight as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process. The meeting will be taking place at St. Sebastian Elementary School (717 Brock Ave) at 6:30pm tonight! I encourage you to attend and participate with many of your neighbours.
Earlier this month, I brought together the community groups advocating on this issue and arranged for a meeting with City Planning staff to discuss the project, share information, and to identify concerns. The community groups have now written an open letter to Metrolinx outlining many of their issues and concerns with the project to date. You can read the open letter by clicking here.
As always, should you require anything now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me, and my team and I would be more than happy to serve you!
Ward 18, Davenport
Ward18 Talks Launching This May
In our community and city, there are many different issues and ideas that people want to talk about...from the environment, to arts and culture, to economic development, to transportation, and so many others.
For this reason I have decided to organize a series of salon style "talks" to bring together interested community members and experts for a discussion of ideas and perspectives with the goal of shaping the community around us.
Each Ward18 Talks will focus on a specific topic, with the first one focusing on the environment. This inaugural event will also serve as an opportunity to provide your feedback to the City as part of the TransformTO climate action initiative.
I want to thank our neighbour Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of Toronto Environmental Alliance and Green Neighbours 21 who will be helping to lead our discussion.
I hope to see you there on Wednesday May 11 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm at the Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club (180 Westmoreland Ave) for an engaging community discussion! Please note that the first 30 minutes (6:30pm-7pm) will be a social for you to meet your neighbours. Please RSVP to register your attendance at www.anabailao.com/environment.
Solar Power Panels Installed at 14 Division Police Station
On top of Toronto Police Service's 14 Division, a new pilot program by the City of Toronto is using 32 solar panels to generate clean local electricity. The pilot project will produce 12,039 kWh of renewable power every year, achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and generate revenue for the City.
To see the results of this exciting project and some statistics please click here.
PRESTO Fare Gates Coming to Dufferin and Lansdowne Stations
As part of the TTC's ongoing roll out of the PRESTO fare card across the transit system, Dufferin and Lansdowne subway stations will be receiving modern fare gates compatible with the new payment system. Lansdowne and Dufferin stations will be among the first 10 stations upgraded with new fare gates. Overnight work at both stations will take place in order to minimize disruption to customers and ensure maximum safety of customers. To reduce the project length, fare gates will be assembled offsite and installed once the turnstiles are removed. Signage throughout the stations will inform customers of the work being done.
Stating April 21, 2016, the old turnstiles will be removed and replaced with new PRESTO-enabled fare gates. This work will be completed by the end of June 2016. Access to Russet Avenue will be closed for the eastbound platform exit from May 5th to June 6 and the westbound platform exit from April 28 to May 30.
Once complete, customers will for the first time be able to access the station through the Russet Avenue entrance using either a PRESTO card or Metropass. This is an improvement over the current situation as customers are only able to exit at Russet Avenue. The main station entrance on Dufferin Street will remain open during the upgrade.
Starting April 29, 2016, the old turnstiles will be removed and replaced with new PRESTO-enabled fare gates. This work will be completed by the end of May 2016. The Automatic Entrance located on Emerson Avenue will be closed from May 13 at 7pm to May 17 at 6am to safely remove the old fare gates. Construction work at the automatic entrance will continue through June 2016 but it will remain open.
Once complete, customers accessing the station through Emerson Avenue must use a PRESTO card or Metropass. Customers using tokens and cash will be able to access the station through the collector booth lane at the main entrance. Customer travel trough the station will remain unimpeded throughout the construction period.
To learn more about how PRESTO will work on the TTC, please visit http://getpres.to/.
Community Compost Pick-Up Days Coming in May!
Spring is here! In light of this season of greening, gardening and growth, I will be hosting several community compost days. Join me and fellow neighbours as we offer free freshly composted soil for our gardens
Please bring containers, a shovel and your green thumbs. I look forward to seeing you there!
Calling for Improved Rail Safety
I recently joined many of my council colleagues and Mayor Tory in calling on the Federal Government to enhance safety protections for neighbourhoods adjacent to the Canadian Pacific rail corridor which runs across our city, and forms the northern boundary of Ward 18.
Between 2009 and 2013, the amount of crude oil being shipped grew from 500 to 140,000 estimated loads, increasing the risk to our communities. Following a 2013 letter sent on behalf of City Council to Transport Canada, enhanced safety measures were adopted in 2014. These measures and the recently released dangerous good regulations from February 2016 include increased inspections, enhanced braking requirements, and crew safety reforms.
This renewed call for action builds on our advocacy in partnership with residents and rail safety groups to ensure that our neighbourhoods are safe. Some of the items we are calling for include:
- Accelerating the removal of all DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tanks cars, that do not meet new safety standards, as 2025 is too long to wait for full implementation;
- Promoting better communication between the rail industry and local communities; particularly as contemplated by the Key Train Rules;
- Examining alternative routes for transporting dangerous goods that currently pass through high density areas, as recommended in the Canada Transportation Act Review
The Chief Planner will be reporting to Council later this year on the status of the "Missing Link" initiative that would divert freight traffic around Toronto and other urban areas.
To read our joint letter, please click here.
To add your name to the growing petition from Safe Rail Communities demanding further action from our federal leaders to improve the safety of neighbourhoods around rail corridors, click here.
MOCA's Plans in the Junction Triangle
Last month, I had the opportunity to take part in the Museum of Contemporary Art_Toronto_Canada's (MOCA) announcement of the date of their grand opening, their strategic platform, and what they have in store for their first year of exhibitions. With a new name and an ambitious plan, MOCA will initially be occupying the first five floors of the ten-story Tower Automotive Building (Auto BLDG) in the Junction Triangle at 158 Sterling Rd.
As part of the 40-year partnership between the Museum and Castlepoint Numa, the developers of the site, the Auto BLDG will be renovated and revitalized to meet the needs of a modern museum both inside and out. With new occupants, this century old landmark of our community's rich industrial heritage is guaranteed to remain a vital part of Ward 18.
The first floor of the building will be transformed into what is envisioned as an outdoor Greek theatre, where events can performances can take place. The second and third floors will be transformed to house the MOCA's own 400-piece permanent art collection and to feature new works. The fourth floor will create a new work space with integration and connections to specialized archives for contemporary art and artists. Finally on the fifth floor the Museum offices and a rehearsal space for artists will top off the institution.
A new neighbourhood will also be taking shape on the 158 Sterling Rd site, bringing with it new jobs, new affordable housing, a new child care centre, and a new park. Please join me in welcoming our new neighbours and wishing them success as they embark on a new chapter in Ward 18. To read more about MOCA's plans please click here.
Let's Keep Toronto's Streets Safe for Everyone
The safety of all road users is a priority for the City of Toronto. That's why the City is reminding pedestrians, motorists and cyclists to take extra care, especially when travelling in residential neighbourhoods.
The City has produced lawn signs that encourage all motorists to drive safely as they travel in our neighbourhoods. You can pick up your sign at my community office at 1240 Bloor Street West, Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
It's critical to be aware of your surroundings at all times when you are travelling. All road users need to remember that safety is everyone's responsibility.
Metrolinx Davenport Diamond Public Meeting - St. Sebastian Elementary School (717 Brock Ave) - Wednesday April 27 starting at 6:30pm (TODAY)
St. Clarens Parkette Improvements Community Meeting - St Helen's Parish Hall (1680 Dundas Street West) - May 2 Starting at 7pm
Salem and Westmoreland Parkettes Unveiling - 11 Westmoreland Avenue - May 7 starting at 11am
Reimagine Galleria Open House - Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont St) - Saturday May 7 from 11:30am to 3:30pm
Jane's Walk: More Than Art Blooms: Exploring the People, Food and Art of Bloordale - Bloor Collegiate Institute (1141 Bloor St. W.) - Sunday May 8 starting at 11am
Jane's Walk: A Time Travel Adventure at Galleria Mall - Galleria Mall Parking Lot Sign (1245 Dupont St) - Sunday May 8 starting at 2pm
Jane's Walk: Anatomy of a Street Festival - Intersection of Lakeview Avenue and Dundas Street West - Sunday May 8 starting at 4pm
Jane's Walk: Portuguese Toronto: Early Decades - Bellevue Square (5 Bellevue Ave) - Saturday June 11 from 10am to 12pm
Ward 18 Community Compost Pick-Up - Perth Square Park (350 Perth Ave) - May 10 stating at 5:30pm
Ward 18 Community Compost Pick-Up - MacGregor Playground (346 Lansdowne Ave) - May 11 starting at 5:30pm
158 Sterling Road Public Meeting - The Gallery (213 Sterling Road) - May 16 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Ward 18 Community Compost Pick-Up and Spring Fling - Dovercourt Junior Public School (228 Bartlett Ave) - May 27 starting at 3:30pm
Ward 18 Community Compost Pick-Up - McCormick Park (66 Sheridan Ave) - May 31 starting at 5:30pm
Ward18 Talks - The Environment - Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club: Nelly Furtado Theatre (180 Westmoreland Ave) - Wednesday May 11 from 6:30pm to 9pm
Each Ward18 Talks will focus on a specific topic, with the first one focusing on the environment. This inaugural event will also serve as an opportunity to provide your feedback to the City as part of the TransformTO climate action initiative. Please note that the first 30 minutes (6:30pm-7pm) will be a social for you to meet your neighbours. If you will be attending, please RSVP at http://www.anabailao.com/environment in order for us to accommodate all attendees for this event.
Gallery Galleria - Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont St) - Thursday May 12 to May 17
Gallery Galleria is a series of socially-engaged art projects in Toronto’s Galleria Shopping Centre. As one of the city’s first enclosed malls, the Galleria has retained much of its original architecture and interior design since its construction in 1972, enduring as a relic within the city’s evolving landscape. To mark this moment before the site’s transformation, Gallery Galleria responds to the shopping centre’s aesthetic qualities and celebrates its role as an informal gathering place for a variety of diverse communities.
Ward 18 Community Environment Day - Dufferin Mall Parking Lot (900 Dufferin St) - May 14 from 10am to 2pm
My annual Community Environment Day is a great event to help keep our environment and our neighbourhood clean. Residents can drop off unwanted goods to be donated and reused. Hazardous Household wastes including cleaning supplies, batteries, electronics paints and oils can be brought to the event for safe disposal and recycling by Solid Waste Management staff. When you bring your Green Bin, City of Toronto staff will be on hand to trade yours for a newer more secure one. Residents can also pick up free compost for use in their homes and gardens.
Doors Open Toronto: DeRAIL - 1900 Dundas Street West - May 28 to May 29 from 10am to 5pm
DeRAIL launches in partnership with Doors Open Toronto in spring 2016, as a new curated platform for site-specific contemporary art, architecture situated within the vibrant urban landscape of the West Toronto Railpath. To learn more about this event, please click here.
New Online Registration System Launched for City of Toronto Camps and Recreation Programs
A new registration system for the City of Toronto's camps and recreation programs is making it easier for residents to access over 80,000 programs across the city. Through investments in server capacity and efficiency and the addition of e-receipts and online payments, 55% more users are now able to access the registration system. Work is underway to modernize this process and as part of these ongoing efforts a Recreation Technology Advisory Group has been established to guide short-term and long-term improvements to enhance user's experience.
To add your input on the system visit http://www.toronto.ca/haveyoursay or join the social media conversation by using the hashtag #TOrec.
Nominate Someone Making a Difference for the City's Access, Equity, and Human Rights Awards!
The City's Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards recognize significant efforts of Toronto residents who are working to build a city in which all residents are full and equal participants in the social, cultural, economic, recreational and political life of the city. Each year, the City celebrates the contributions made by nominated residents or groups at an awards ceremony held in December.
The deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, May 2, 2016. Nominees must be residents of the City of Toronto.
To nominate someone and to find out more information including past recipients, please visit: www.toronto.ca/civicawards
Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown Announces his Intention to Retire in July
Earlier this month, Dr. David McKeown announced his decision to retire as Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, a position he has held since 2004. Over the past 12 years, Dr. McKeown has promoted policies that reduce health inequities within this diverse city. He provided leadership to curb one of the largest legionnaires' disease outbreaks in North America and led the public health response to the H1N1 pandemic. He influenced provincial legislation on e-cigarettes, menu labeling and artificial tanning and implemented local bylaws on tobacco control and enhanced transparency in public health reporting and monitoring. As a public health leader, Dr. McKeown has been an outspoken advocate for environmental health issues and policies to reduce health inequities for vulnerable populations.
Please join me in wishing Dr. McKeown all the best in his future endeavours and to thank him for his commitment to serving out city.
Toronto Public Library Begins Lending Music Instruments
Nurturing musical talent in Toronto is getting an important hand up this month. The Toronto Public Library has launched its new Musical Instrument Lending program which allows library patrons the opportunity to borrow instruments for up to 9 weeks for free. This pioneering project is the first of its kind in public libraries across Canada.
With a wide selection of guitars, percussion, strings and keyboards available, musical expression for residents is limited only by imagination. For those new to musical instruments, the Library has provided a series on video tutorials explaining on how to care for the 100 available instruments - from adding rosin to a violin Bow, to setting up the Tabla for optimal sound.
As Toronto builds itself into a great Music City, the Toronto Public Library's Musical Instrument Lending program will help grow our city's musical talent.
Toronto Public Library is also seeking donations of music instruments to expand its offerings. To find out more about this exciting project click here.
The TORONTO Sign is Here to Stay
One of Toronto's newest and most popular icons will become a permanent fixture in our city. After its debut last summer during the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, the sign's popularity has filled social media around the world 122 million times with images of our city and the iconic City Hall. Originally intended to be a short term attraction, the sign will now become a lasting part of our city.
City staff will be working on a project to produce smaller travelling versions of the sign to visit neighborhoods across the city and be a part of events held in Toronto.
City of Toronto launches New Study to Improve Family Friendly Communities
The City of Toronto has initiated the Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities study to determine how new high-density multi-unit housing can better accommodate the needs of households with children and youth.
The study will focus on three key parts: the condo unit, the building and the local neighbourhood and will examine how aspects like unit layouts, building amenities, and public space around the buildings can improve the lives these households.
City Planning has launched public consultations to inform their work from families and residents living in high-rise buildings. Residents can fill out an online survey by clicking here to help determine the most important elements in raising children and youth in high-density communities. A further round of consultations and workshops with architects and developers will identify key design and market challenges facing family friendly housing.
More information can be found by clicking here.
Have your say about Toronto's Draft Waste Strategy!
The Long Term Waste Management Strategy project team, with input from the public and key stakeholders, has created a Draft Waste Strategy. There are several ways you can share your thoughts.
To see the most recent Project Update and to complete the survey (survey deadline is today April 27, 2016), please visit: www.toronto.ca/wastestrategy
Toronto man wants to photograph every city laneway - Toronto Star
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art gets a new, bigger location - Bloor West Villager
City of Toronto launches MyWaterToronto Tool
The City of Toronto has recently launched MyWaterToronto, an online tool that allows residents and businesses to view their water use information anytime, anywhere, from their computer or mobile device. Customers can log-on at www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto, and view their total and average water use by day, week, month or year in an easy-to-read graph or chart format. MyWaterToronto will help customers identify potential leaks and become more aware of their water use habits, helping to encourage water conservation.
Toronto City Council met on March 31 and April 1, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Toronto transit network planning
Council provided a series of requests and directives to guide the planning of Toronto transit network initiatives, including SmartTrack, Scarborough Subway Extension, Relief Line and Waterfront Transit Reset. Among the many recommendations and motions adopted, Council agreed to request the scheduling of a special meeting of the Executive Committee to consider transit network reports and related matters on a date before the Executive Committee's regular business meeting on June 28.
Gardiner Expressway East reconfiguration
Council approved a design called Hybrid Alternative Design 3 to be used in an environmental assessment of the Gardiner East area, which is a 2.4-kilometre segment of the elevated expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard from Lower Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue. A preferred design for a new connection between the east end of the Gardiner and the Don Valley Expressway had to be chosen to allow for the completion and provincial review of the environmental assessment before detailed design and construction work proceeds.
Establishment of Local Appeal Body
Council approved the governance structure and administrative details for establishing a Local Appeal Body that will hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions for minor variance and consent applications in Toronto. Council authorized Court Services to co-ordinate implementation and provide administrative support, and also approved a one-year city-wide pilot project to evaluate the benefits of mediation in resolving disputes related to minor variance and consent applications.
Police services and investigations
Council adopted a motion to ask the provincial government to review, with an "anti-black racism and anti-racism lens," the way police services are provided in Toronto and the Special Investigations Unit's handling of cases that involve members of racialized communities. The motion says a review by the provincial Anti-Racism Directorate and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, which is to include input from affected communities, will identify changes needed to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
Collection of data on fatalities
Council adopted a motion calling for the City to collect information related to the deaths of homeless individuals for all occurrences in Toronto homeless shelters as well as other locations. The data collected will be shared broadly, including with Ontario government ministries, to help inform decision-making
Toronto music strategy
Council approved a detailed strategy to support Toronto's music sector. The strategy involves actions that support an environment that is friendly to music creators; encourages the business of music in Toronto; supports music education; promotes Toronto’s music sector locally and internationally; fosters alliances with other music cities around the world; and implements a process for monitoring progress and measuring success
Advance vote in next election
Council asked the City Clerk to prepare for additional advance voting days in the 2018 Toronto municipal election, and to consider including an advance poll during the Thanksgiving long weekend to allow returning college and university students to vote. During the 2014 municipal election, advance voting was available for six days at a voting place in each of the city's 44 wards, as well as at City Hall for all voters
Payday lending operators
Council voted to ask staff to report on an appropriate approach to regulating new payday lenders, installment lenders, title lenders, cheque-cashing operations and cash-for-gold operations in Toronto. Council also agreed to ask the Ontario government to set rules for lenders, including increasing the fee for lender licences and capping the annual interest rate at 35 per cent.
Affordable housing initiative
Council approved funding and incentives for 50 new affordable rental homes and 50 affordable ownership homes at 36 Tippett Rd. in Ward 10 York Centre. This project, developed in collaboration with Build Toronto and a developer, will contribute to achieving the City's 10-year targets for new affordable rental and ownership homes serving lower-income people, women, seniors, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people, individuals with mental health issues and other vulnerable groups.
Leslie Nymark housing revitalization
Council approved plans for the revitalization of Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Leslie Nymark community in North York. The plan includes the replacement of 121 existing social housing units and the creation of up to 540 new market units. The Leslie Nymark community is located off Leslie Street, north of Sheppard Avenue East.
Residential construction in neighbourhoods
Council approved a strategy to minimize the impact of residential infill construction activity on Toronto neighbourhoods. The process of demolishing a house and constructing a new building creates challenges for both builders and the neighbourhood, and residential infill construction activity in Toronto has more than doubled over the past five years. In creating the strategy, Toronto Building pursued a collaborative approach that took into account the perspectives of builders as well as residents.
Expansion of Bike Share
Council voted to give the Toronto Parking Authority responsibility to expand the Bike Share Toronto program outside the geographical boundaries of Toronto, subject to the relevant municipalities' consent. Metrolinx has provided funds to buy up to $4.9 million worth of bikes and docking stations for the parking authority to expand the Bike Share Toronto network. New bike-share stations will be situated in high-demand areas and near public transit stations, mostly in Toronto but also in other willing host municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Appointment of Toronto Photo Laureate
Council appointed Geoffrey James as the City of Toronto's Photo Laureate for the term 2016 to 2019. James is a Toronto-based photographer who is recognized internationally as a master of landscape and urban photography. As the City's first Photo Laureate, he will advocate for photography and the visual arts, using his perspective to foster dialogue.
Recognition of women in war efforts
Council supported asking the federal government to create a memorial recognizing the contributions Canadian women have made during major war efforts in which Canada has been engaged. The United Kingdom has built a monument to women of the Second World War. The City of Toronto recently recognized the contribution of Canadian women who spent the Second World War producing ammunition at plants in Scarborough.
Commitment on climate change
Council endorsed the Government of Canada's commitment made at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to limit global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius and to try to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. The City's goals for reducing Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions, adopted in 2007 and reaffirmed last year, are in line with that target.
Support for Saving the Girl Next Door Act
Council adopted a motion to support Bill 158, the Saving the Girl Next Door Act, 2016, which enacts the Human Trafficking Awareness Day Act and the Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, and amends Christopher’s Law (sex offender registry). Earlier this year, the Ontario legislative assembly unanimously supported Private Member's Bill 158 – Saving the Girl Next Door – to take steps against human trafficking in Ontario.
Crossing guards on local roads
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to report on the criteria/policy used for decisions on placing and removing crossing guards on the city's streets. The report is to include proposals that will help address the increasing number of requests City councillors are receiving for crossing guards at locations in their wards.
Tennis club operations
Council amended the policy for outdoor community tennis club operations to place more emphasis on accessible, affordable tennis that makes the most of the City-owned tennis courts as municipal assets. Parks, Forestry and Recreation currently issues tennis court permits to 62 outdoor community-based clubs across the city, with a total membership of about 22,000 tennis enthusiasts.
North American Indigenous Games in 2017
Council directed staff to work with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario and consult with relevant divisions and agencies on ways the City of Toronto can support the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, which will be held in Toronto. The Games, a multi-sport event involving indigenous North American youth athletes 16 to 25 years of age, will also promote indigenous cultural activities.
Toronto's NXNE festival
Council agreed to ask City divisions and agencies to assist organizers of the North by Northeast (NXNE) festival to help ensure the realization of the festival's next stage of development. This year, NXNE plans to transform a Port Lands venue into a festival site that is expected to draw about 10,000 people for two days in June.
Bee City certification
Council adopted a resolution to designate Toronto a Bee City – one of the required steps in the certification process for the international Bee City program. Since the Bee City program was launched in the United States three years ago, involving a set of commitments for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, 15 American cities have achieved Bee City certification. Toronto's certification would be the first by a Canadian city.