Festivals, progress on housing, and more! - Davenport Community Briefing - July 14

Dear neighbours,

It continues to be a busy time for events and festivals across Davenport community and throughout the City.

At Nathan Phillips Square last week Carnival 2022 was officially launched. The pandemic paused Carnival for the past two years but this major summer event is taking place in person once again this year throughout the month of July and ending with the amazing Grand Parade on July 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Many other great festivals and events are also taking place right here in our community including some that I have outlined below. These include the Big on Bloor Festival and the Toronto International Brazilfest, both taking place this weekend July 16th and 17th.

Also, don’t forget to come to our final Environment Day of the year taking place on July 16th at Loretto College School (151 Rosemount Ave). You will be able to dispose of batteries, old cell phones, propane tanks, and more!

I am also pleased to host our very own Davenport Movie Night on Friday July 22nd at the North-West corner of Earlscourt Park, co-hosted with Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416. This will be the last Davenport Movie Night as your City Councillor, and I know we have all enjoyed these events over the years. This year, we will be watching the hit Disney movie Encanto. If you can, please be sure to join us for a fun evening! More information on all these events can be found below.

On July 8th, I had the great pleasure of, together with our local MP Julie Dzerowicz, welcoming Mayor John Tory, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen, and others to Davenport to announce that seven new affordable housing developments would be built across Toronto, including one right here in our Davenport community.

These seven projects will total 260 units of housing, and will be led by Indigenous and non-profit housing developers. They are being supported with funding through the federal government's Rapid Housing Program, and the City will also be supporting these affordable housing developments by providing Open Door program incentives, including relief from development charges, planning & building fees, and similar incentives.

Later that afternoon on July 8th, we broke ground on the new Wallace Emerson Community Centre, Child Care Centre, and park improvements. Joined by community members, City staff, and site workers, we marked the start of construction on this new 89,500 square foot community centre, which will double the size of the current community centre.

This project will include a number of amenities to support the growing community which I have outlined below. A few that I would like to mention now including a full sized gym, an aquatic centre, dance and aerobic studios in the community centre, a shinny pad, and a BMX & skateboard park in the expanded park, and age-appropriate playgrounds for the child care centre.

Reaching this point was a long time in the making, and securing these significant improvements to the community centre and park was the result of strong community advocacy, collaboration, and team-work. I'm confident that when completed, the new community centre, child care centre, and park will serve as a central hub of activity for community. I have provided more information on this below.

One of the initiatives I was pleased to work on as Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee was the legalization of garden suites in Toronto, which we secured earlier this year at the February 2nd meeting of City Council. However, the garden suites by-law was appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OTB). Last week, we received the great news that this appeal has been dismissed, meaning that the garden suites are here to stay.

I know many residents have been looking forward to building their own garden suites, and with this decision, applications on garden suites can now proceed. Click here to learn more about garden suites and the application process.

I also want to let you know that July 5th was the last Planning and Housing Committee meeting of this City Council term. It has been a very busy term, and I am proud of the incredible work that has emerged from this committee. From the HousingTO 2020-2030 10 Year Action Plan and the Our Plan Toronto – Official Plan review, to the construction of modular & supportive housing units for the most vulnerable as well as the creation of the Housing Now program which is leveraging City land to create affordable housing, we have seen transformational work completed by our City with respect to housing.

I want to take this opportunity to also bring to your attention that the City recently announced an enhanced Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) that will offer zero-interest loans and incentives to help Toronto homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient and reduce the emissions contributing to climate change. The HELP program has been offering low-interest loans to homeowners since 2014 and this enhancement is welcome news.  More details can be found at this link.

Finally, we are very fortunate in our City to have wonderful creative people who enrich our lives.  The City and the Toronto Public Library have named the 13 books longlisted for the 2022 Toronto Book Awards. The Toronto Book Awards were established in 1974 and honour books of literary merit that are inspired by Toronto.  Details on these books and authors can be found here.

As always please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of any assistance. You can contact my office by email at [email protected]  or by phone at 416.392.7012.

In community,

Ana

Announcing Seven Affordable Housing Developments Totaling 260 Units

On July 8th, right here in our Davenport community, we announced seven new affordable housing developments, totaling 260 units across Toronto. These developments are being supported with funding from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative, and will be led by Indigenous and non-profit housing developers, including St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society here in Davenport. 

The City will also be supporting these affordable housing developments by providing relief from development charges, planning and building fees and, subject to Toronto City Council approval, the City will also waive property taxes for the duration of affordability. 

These important projects confirm that we can continue to achieve a great deal when all orders of government work together. You can learn more about this announcement here.


Breaking Ground On New Wallace Emerson Community Centre, Child Care Centre, and Park Improvements

In the afternoon on July 8th, we officially broke ground on the new Wallace Emerson Community Centre, Child Care Centre, and park improvements.

This new 89,500 square foot community centre will double the size of the current community centre, and will include a new child care facility with 62 spaces and a variety of sport and leisure amenities.

The 62 space child care facility will have playrooms with direct access to their age appropriate playgrounds, each designed to meet the skill level expected of a toddler or pre-school aged child. These playgrounds will be outfitted with water tables and places to grow their own flowers and vegetables, and will provide space for both active or passive play.

The community centre itself will have a variety of amenities including:

  • a full sized gym with indoor running track,
  • an outdoor running track
  • dance and aerobic studios,
  • an aquatic centre, and much more. 

The park is also going to be expanded one and a quarter acres, and will include:

  • room for a multipurpose sport court, 
  • leisure and shinny pad,
  • skating trail,
  • basketball hoops, 
  • BMX and skateboard park,
  • new landscaping, and much more.

The first phase of park improvements will also include a new field house which will provide visitors with a snack bar, skate sharpening station, changing area, universal washrooms, as well as house storage and utility spaces to support the outdoor skating facilities.

This ground breaking was years in the making, and after a lot of hard work, community advocacy, and team work, I am proud to see work on this project begin.


City Launches More Community Crisis Response Pilots Including One in Davenport 

This past Monday, the City officially launched two more Community Crisis Service Pilots including one here in Davenport led by 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations. These pilots are a new, alternative approach to responding to community members in crisis, focused on health, prevention, and well-being.

They provide crisis services in response to non-emergency mental health crisis calls, and wellbeing checks. These crisis response pilots can be reached by contacting 211, and are serviced by trained specialists including community health nurses, crisis counsellors, harm reduction workers, and more. Those experiencing or witnessing an emergency should continue to call 911.

This approach to crisis response serves as an alternative to police led crisis response, and the four pilots taking place across Toronto will allow us to evaluate and revise this program which could then be implemented City-wide. You can click this link to learn more about the Community Crisis Response Pilots, and click here for the coverage area.


Corso Italia Community Members Beautify Planters at 2 Harvie Avenue

This past weekend, community members from the Corso Italia neighborhood, including the North Corso Italia Residents Association & Residents at the Archgate Townhomes came together to replant and beautify the planters at 2 Harvie Avenue. The new planters look great, and I join the Corso Italia community in thanking these volunteers for beautifying our neighbourhood.


Garden Suites Legal Challenge Dismissed at Ontario Land Tribunal

Our City was able to move forward with a major housing initiative when on July 7th the Ontario Land Tribunal (OTB) dismissed an appeal of the garden suites by-law.

The garden suites by-law is a part of our Expanding Housing Options in Our Neighbourhoods (EHON) Initiative that was approved in February 2022 to help increase housing options in our City. This by-law, that permits the construction of secondary dwellings, was appealed to the OTB, but this appeal has been dismissed!

With this decision, Garden Suites are now permitted across Toronto, and residents can submit a building permit application to Toronto Buildings. If you are interested in building a Garden Suite, you can review the Garden Suites website, where you can read the Summary of Rules and Regulations, and other key considerations before you make your application to build a Garden Suite.


City of Toronto Offers Zero-Interest Loans & Incentives to Accelerate Home Retrofits

Last week, the City of Toronto announced the launch of the enhanced Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)! This program will offer zero-interest loans and incentives to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. 

For a limited time homeowners will be able to access:

  • Zero-interest loans of up to $125,000 for terms of up to 15 years; 20-year terms are available for retrofits that include rooftop solar PV, geothermal, new windows and electric heat pumps.
  • Incentives for specific measures including electric heat pumps, which can replace a home’s natural gas furnace and air conditioner; rooftop solar PV and deep retrofits that significantly reduce a home’s emissions.

These new zero-interest loans and incentives will be available until the funding allocated is fully used. This enhanced HELP program is supported by federal funding through the Green Municipal Fund. Click here to learn more about the HELP program.


Davenport Diamond Community Pop-Up Today at 4:00 p.m. at Dufferin Grove Park

Metrolinx's Community Engagement Team will be holding a Davenport Guideway/Greenway pop-up at Dufferin Grove Park today from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Update on Smart Track King-Liberty GO Station 

To accommodate the construction of the new Smart Track King-Liberty GO Station, Metrolinx must demolish the existing building at 99 Sudbury Street.

Work will begin on July 20th and continue until approximately mid to late August, and will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. 


Restaurant Program Survey

Are you a foodies or restaurant owners? Well, the City wants to hear from you! Until July 18th, you can take part in an online survey to inform the #CityOfTO restaurant programs.

Don't miss this opportunity to provide input on existing restaurant support programs and help develop future programs to support Toronto's restaurant industry. Click here to have your say. 


Call for Artists: 2022 Awakenings Artist Mentorship

If you or someone  you know is an artist, check out the Awakenings Artist Mentorship Program! The esteemed curator Ashley McKenzie-Barnes has partnered with Toronto History Museums to offer mentorship to 10 artists in developing artwork responding to an anti-colonialism, anti-oppression and anti-racism Awakening, specific to the City's Toronto History Museums.

This first-of-its-kind mentorship opportunity is open to emerging and mid-career artists 21 years of age or older, working in contemporary visual art, design and interdisciplinary practices with a focus on projects from the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Artists can apply to the 2022 Awakenings Artist Mentorship program by July 29 here.


Committee Moves Forward on Improving Neighbourhood Retail and Services

Local Neighbourhood Retail and Services are small scale retail, services, and office uses located in areas designated as "neighbourhoods" in the City's Official Plan. These small-scale neighborhood shops, like your local bakery or convenience store, have played an important role in both shaping and supporting our neighborhoods.

In other words, they have helped make our communities more sustainable, livable, and more complete. But many of these small retail and services have been on the decline, as a result of socio-economic factors, and City policies. 

As more residents and businesses incorporate the shift to hybrid and work-from-home employment models, the need for local neighborhood retailers and services has increased.

This is why the Planning & Housing Committee has approved a motion recommending that that City Council approve a series of Official Plan amendments that would support and encourage the development of neighbourhood retail and services.


EHON: Multiplex Study

As our City continues to grow, we need to advance our work to develop ways of accommodating and this growth to ensure that everyone can afford to call Toronto their home. In recent years, much of the City's growth in the supply of apartments and rental units has been centered in transit-rich areas such as downtown, and along major roadways and avenues. However, in the same period, the supply of low-rise housing, such as 3 or 4 story apartment buildings, has not matched the increasing demand we've seen.

At the same time, little growth has taken place in much of the city's low-rise neighbourhoods, which account for over a third (35%), of our City's total land area. In order to ensure more equitable growth across Toronto, the Planning & Housing Committee directed the Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning to continue consultations on draft Official Plan amendments that would allow for the construction of low-rise duplexes, triplexes, and multiplexes in neighbourhoods across Toronto.

The Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning will continue to consult with residents, stakeholders, and will report back with proposed Official Plan amendments by the first quarter of 2023.


Update on Renoviction Policy

Renovictions are when a landlord illegitimately evicts a tenant by stating that they need to vacate the property in order to undertake renovations and repairs. There has been an increase in the use of renovictions in Toronto, leading to a rise in housing instability and an increased rate of homelessness.

Addressing the issue of renovictions is an important component of our HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, and this is why the Planning & Housing Committee has approved a proposed renoviction policy developed by the City's Housing Secretariat.

This policy would, among other things:

  • Require all Landlords to obtain a building permit prior to taking steps to obtain vacant possession of a Rental Unit to carry out a repair or renovation of the Rental Unit, except where a building permit cannot be obtained without vacant possession of the unit
  • Require all Landlords to provide a copy of the City's Tenant Eviction
    Prevention Handbook to Tenants
  • Require landlords of rental properties to post and maintain a notice in a prominent and visible place within the property, and deliver a letter to the
    Rental Units notifying tenants when a building permit application has been made to the City of Toronto accompanied by an accurate description of the proposed work. The notice would also provide tenants with guidance on how to obtain further information from the City of Toronto on tenant rights

While this Policy and future by-law would not be able to stop renovictions since that is within the jurisdiction of the Province, they do leverage the City's authorities under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 to deter the practice of renovictions which negatively impact the health, social and economic well-being of the city and its people.

The motion also provides a number of requests to the Provincial government on specific measures the province could take to protect renters and limit the use of renovictions in our City. 

You can read this motion here, and the proposed renoviction policy here. This will now go to the July 19th City Council meeting for final approval.


Our Plan Toronto: Land Needs Assessment

The Planning & Housing Committee also adopted the Our Plan Toronto Land Needs Assessment, which is a required study to determine the quality of land required to accommodate our City's forecasted growth to 2051.

It allows us to assess the kinds of land that we have available for employment and commercial purposes, residential purposes, and whether or not the land available can accommodate the forecasted growth.

The LNA Study  concluded that the City of Toronto can accommodate the forecasted employment growth in areas designated for growth by the Official Plan. Our City will need to retain its currently designated Employment Areas in order to accommodate the forecasted employment growth, and these lands will need to intensify to accommodate projected growth. Since the City of Toronto cannot expand its boundaries, all job growth will need to take place within the existing Employment Areas, meaning we will need to work to increase density on these lands order to accommodate this projected growth.

Ultimately, this report illustrates that we as a City, already have the land needed in order to accommodate the growth that we are seeing. Accommodating our growth plan is a matter of using our land more effectively and efficiently, in a way that ensures current residents and newcomers alike can continue to contribute to our City well into the future. You can learn more about the LNA Study here.


Davenport Movie Night at Earlscourt Park on July 22nd

I am hosting my last Davenport Movie Night as your City Councillor, co-hosted with Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416, on July 22nd at the north-west corner of Earlscourt Park at 8:00 p.m. where we will watch the Disney hit movie Encanto!

I have enjoyed hosting these events for our community. I hope you will join us for a wonderful evening of fun!


Dufferin Grove Summer Update Flyer

Dufferin Grove Park is set to be full of activity this summer with fun events and activities as the City releases the Dufferin Grove Summer Update. This flyer, which you may start to see around the community provides a list of some of the upcoming community programs that will be taking place.


Big On Bloor Festival Returning On July 16th and 17th

The Big on Bloor festival is returning this year! On July 16th and 17th, Bloor Street between Dufferin and Lansdowne will be for pedestrians only, as the Bloordale community is transformed with outdoor displays, art installations, small business vendors, and much more!

The Big On Bloor is one of the largest annual events in our community, so be sure to stop by!


Toronto International Brazilfest on July 16th and 17th

The Toronto International Brazilfest is taking place at Earlscourt Park on July 16th and 17th so be sure to stop by! Click here for more info.


Next Davenport Environment Day Happening on July 16th

We have had six compost days and an Environment Day across the Davenport community this season,.

Our final Environment Day is scheduled for Saturday July 16th at Loretto College School (151 Rosemount Avenue) from 10am to 2pm.  More details on what is available at Community Environment Days can be found at this link.

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