First off, Happy New Year! I hope that all of you had a great holiday season with family and friends, with time to relax and reflect on the year that passed and what is to come in 2016. There is a lot that we achieved together last year and I know that this year we will be able to achieve even more. I look forward to continuing to update you on what is taking place here in Ward 18 and at City Hall through this monthly e-newsletter. I hope that you find it useful and relevant. If you have any feedback on how we can improve this e-newsletter, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
Events in the community are starting to be organized and earlier this month I was invited to speak at the Bike Lanes Mean Business Event, organized by Cycle Toronto's Ward 18 Chapter. It was great to meet with active and engaged cyclists in our community and to discuss how bike lanes can be good for local businesses. On an unrelated but important note, I am also energized by our new federal government and the potential to have a strong municipal-federal relationship in the coming years. You can read more about this below.
Finally, there are some important events taking place in our community over the next couple of weeks. I encourage you to attend my Ward 18 Budget Town Hall so I can hear directly from you on what priorities you think the City should be focusing on for the 2016 budget process and into the future. There is an upcoming development meeting related to two proposals in the West Queen West neighbourhood that is important for local residents to attend. Also, the new owners of the Galleria Mall are holding an open house to hear from you on what you would like to see as part of the sites future development. You can find out more on these events including dates, times, and locations below. I hope to see you there!
Ward 18, Davenport
January Ward 18 Events
Reimagine Galleria Community Meeting - Saturday January 23, 2016 from 11am to 4pm at the Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont St)
As many of you are aware, the Galleria Mall property located at the south-west corner of Dufferin Street and Dupont Street was sold last year to ELAD Canada and Freed Developments. The new owners are now in the process of determining the future of the property and have organized a community meeting to hear directly from local residents.
I believe that this is a great opportunity for you to share directly with the Galleria Mall owners what you would like to see as part the site's future development. If you are attending, you can enter through the mall doors to the right of the LCBO and the meeting will be in the space between Planet Fitness and T-Dot Tumblers.) To see their community meeting notice in English, Portuguese, and Italian please click here. I hope to see you there!
99 Sudbury St/1181 Queen St W Development Meeting - January 26, 2016 from 7pm to 9pm at 99 Sudbury St
The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting to discuss two separate planning applications. At the meeting you can learn more about these applications, ask questions and share your comments.
The meeting for the 99 Sudbury St planning application will be taking place from 7pm to 8pm. The meeting for 1181 Queen St W planning application will be from 8pm to 9pm.
This will be the second community consultation meeting for both applications, and will present how the developments have been modified since each of the initial community consultation meetings. To find out more about both applications, please click here.
Ward 18 Budget Town Hall - Saturday January 30, 2016 from 2pm to 4pm at the Bloor-Gladstone Library (1101 Bloor St W)
Toronto City Council will be voting on the 2016 City Budget on February 17 and 18, 2016. As part of my commitment to our community, I will be hosting my yearly Ward 18 Budget Town Hall on Saturday January 30, 2016 from 2pm to 4pm at the Bloor-Gladstone Library.
This upcoming budget will be another opportunity to create a vision for where our City should be going; identifying not only the services we wish to have, but the principles on which we want our City to stand for.
I hope that you will take the time to attend and share your thoughts on how we can work together to improve our city services. I look forward to having this conversation with you and I hope to see you there. Please RSVP by clicking here.
For more information on the 2016 budget process please click here.
Davenport Diamond Public Meeting Update
Earlier this week on Monday January 18, Metrolinx held a public meeting to present preliminary design work on options to remove the crossing and to provide an opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide feedback. It was great to see hundreds of engaged and passionate community members attend to share their views on this proposed piece of transit infrastructure that will impact our community for the next 100 years. As you can see in the photo, the room was full.
During the meeting I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with the room. I acknowledged Metrolinx who has come back with some changes to their plans and also MPP Martins who acknowledged and supported residents' calls to delay the TPAP process.
As I mentioned at the meeting, I still have some outstanding concerns with this project including but not limited to:
- No commitment to build a station at Bloor St W
- Safety concerns over crash walls to protect our community
- No commitment on conducting an international design competition
- No commitment on connecting the proposed multi-use trail to the West Toronto Railpath
It is important to point out that a step was missed in this process, where the City and the community was not initially consulted on the various options to bypass the Davenport Diamond. Our community has been clear that we recognize the need for expanded transit infrastructure across the GTA but we also deserve to have been consulted on the options at the start of this process and not afterwards.
If you missed the meeting, Metrolinx has posted their design plans here. I am working with local residents groups, relevant stakeholders, City staff, Metrolinx, and the Provincial government to fight for the best possible outcome for our community. As always, you can view my previous updates on this project by clicking here.
Mayor Tory Visits Ward 18
I had the opportunity to take Mayor Tory on a tour of Ward 18 last week in the morning on Friday January 15. While we weren't able to visit everything that makes Ward 18 great in such a short amount of time, I wanted to make the Mayor aware of some important City interests that we are currently working on. We first met at the corner of Bloor and Dufferin during the morning rush hour so I could show him how busy the 29 Dufferin bus really is and for him to see first hand how the recent renovation of Dufferin Station is benefiting transit riders.
From there I organized a meeting with Trustee Stiles, MPP Martins, TDSB representatives, City staff, and representatives from the Toronto Lands Corporation and the Minister of Education's office to show the Mayor the work that is currently underway to transform the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB lands into a community hub. This work is ongoing with representatives from the City, School Board, and the Province meeting regularly to create a path forward on this important opportunity.
We then met with community members from Options for Davenport and the Junction Triangle Rail Committee to show the Mayor first hand of the impacts that Metrolinx's proposed Davenport Diamond grade separation project would have on our community and the opportunities that can arise out of it. We concluded our tour at the site of the now approved 299 Campbell Ave development which will feature an expanded and relocated Perth-Dupont Toronto Public Library branch.
While we only had time to visit a few sites, I made sure to explain to Mayor Tory of all the other work that is currently underway across Ward 18. I will continue to show Mayor Tory and other decision makers the challenges and opportunities in our part of the city and to work with all stakeholders to create positive solutions for our community.
West Toronto Railpath Environmental Assessment Notice of Completion
I have great news for those who love the West Toronto Railpath as much as I do! The Notice of Completion and the 30 day public review period for the West Toronto Railpath Environmental Assessment was issued last week on Thursday January 14, 2016. What this means is that the City has completed a study to determine a route for extending the Railpath south from Dundas St W, along the Kitchener GO corridor to beyond Strachan Ave and the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle bridge.
The recommended solution consists of a multi-use trail that will be aligned in the rail corridor under the Dundas St W bridge to Dufferin St and on street and adjacent to the rail corridor from Dufferin St to Abell St. Currently there is no recommendation for a route between Abell St to the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge as more study and public consultation is needed to fully under the impacts and opportunities for this section. For more information and to read the Environmental Study Report (ESR) please visit www.toronto.ca/westrailpath. I look forward to working with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and other stakeholders to make this extension a reality for Ward 18.
A New Relationship with the Federal Government
I'm sure that many of you saw in the media that last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Toronto City Hall, the first visit of a sitting Prime Minster to City Hall since 1998. This marks the start of a new and stronger relationship between the City and the Federal Government with a strong emphasis on building more public transit and affordable housing. Some of you may also be aware that MP Adam Vaughan was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, a post that will focus on not only building relationships with Provincial governments, but also Municipal and First Nations governments.
Prior to the Prime Minister visiting City Hall, I joined Mayor Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle two weeks ago in an introductory meeting with Toronto Members of Parliament to discuss various City priorities and how both levels of government can work together to address challenges and opportunities. In December, TTC Chair Colle, Mayor Tory, and I also met with the new Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi. We had a great introductory meeting and discussion on next steps to ensure that federal funding flows to Toronto in a timely, responsible, and effective manner. These conversations are ongoing and work is being done behind the scenes to make this a reality.
I believe that in front of us, we have a great opportunity to deliver real results for Torontonians on the issues that will help us build a 21st century city where all residents can live, work, and play. We are expecting more details on how much money will come to Toronto for infrastructure projects in the federal budget, which is going to be released in the Spring.
Live from City Hall Artists Call Out
Live from City Hall is a music showcase that features local artists performing in the first-floor rotunda of Toronto City Hall. The organizers of this showcase are looking for Toronto based musical artists interested in performing. All artists chosen to perform will receive an honorarium of $200 per show (regardless of how many musicians perform) and will be listed on the toronto.ca/music website with links to their websites. To find out more about this music showcase series and for details on how to apply please click here.
Snap and Share Photo Contest
This winter, don't leave home without your camera because your next photo could be a winner. Until February 19, residents can take photos in Toronto parks, ravines and recreation centres for a chance to win great prizes including a Nikon D3300 prize pack. The contest includes six categories as well as a 'people's choice' component. Snap & Share is a City of Toronto photo contest presented by Nikon Canada. For more details please click here.
Toronto Seniors Forum Seeking Members
The Toronto Seniors Forum is seeking new members. The Forum is a diverse group of Toronto residents aged 60 and above. The group is sponsored by the City of Toronto Social Development, Finance and Administration Division and is comprised of 22 members who meet monthly to examine, advocate, and advise on seniors' issues that matter to older Torontonians.
Applications will be reviewed by City staff and selected applications will be invited to interview for membership. Applications can be completed online at http://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/seniorsforum/. The deadline to apply is January 27, 2016. For more information on the Toronto Seniors Forum please click here.