As summer approaches, our neighbourhoods are gearing up for a season of festivals and gatherings. The work that residents and community groups put in to making every event great is a hallmark of the passion we have for our community. With the tastes, arts, and cultures of our Ward 18 on display to our neighbours across Toronto, I expect many of them will be back for more!
Earlier this month two community meetings were held regarding development sites in Ward 18. The Galleria Mall owners held another open house and the developers of the 158 Sterling Rd site updated the community on their plans and next steps. Many of you attended these meetings to learn more and to share your ideas and concerns with the sites.
Two important pieces of legislation were also released this month which will provide key tools for the City to achieve its poverty reduction goals. Just this past week, the Government of Ontario has introduced its draft inclusionary zoning legislation which will provide the city with tools to leverage future private sector developments to secure affordable housing. Toronto has been asking for inclusionary zoning for a long time and we are pleased that the Province has introduced legislation. Also, City Council also approved Toronto's Social Procurement Program earlier this month. This initiative diversifies the city's supply chain by including suppliers who face inequitable access to city contracts and to provide training and employment opportunities to people facing economic disadvantage or belonging to equity seeking groups. This program will form a foundation for Toronto's long term procurement strategies.
In early May, we unveiled the revitalized the Salem and Westmoreland Parkettes. We also unveiled two plaques commemorating longtime local shopkeepers and Rosina Peluso and Vincenzo Gasparro. I encourage you to visit the renovated parkettes and take advantage of the new equipment installed. We also had a great meeting with lots of good feedback discussing improvements to the Dundas-St. Clarens Parkette. I look forward to updating you once the results of our visioning exercise move forward.
It was great to see many of you earlier this month at our inaugural Ward18 Talks: The Environment event and at our compost and environment days. If you haven't picked up your compost yet, not to worry...there are two more compost days coming up!
You can find our more about the events, initiatives and the latest Ward 18 updates which matter to our community in this month's e-newsletter.
Finally, thank you to those who sent me your feedback on what you would like to see in our monthly e-newsletter. Your feedback told me that you wanted me to continue to keep you informed on local updates and events. Many of you also told me you would like to continue to receive updates on a monthly basis. I appreciate your input and if you have additional comments and feedback please let me know. I hope that you have a great long weekend!
Yours in community,
Davenport Diamond Update
In late April, Metrolinx hosted a community meeting about the proposed Davenport Diamond Rail Grade Separation project as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP). At the meeting, Metrolinx provided new project data and renderings of the proposed guideway and berm. It was great to see engaged and passionate residents attend the meeting to learn more about the project, to ask questions and provide comments. To view the presentation and materials from the meeting, please click here.
A coalition of nine different community groups have come together and wrote an Open Letter to Metrolinx outlining the issues and concerns that they have with the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation project. Prior to the letter being written, I convened a meeting between them and City staff to discuss this project and to see what issues and concerns are in alignment. The letter articulates a strong and united community voice on this issue and you can read it by clicking here.
Additionally, a petition has been created which is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario calling for the Province and Metrolinx to meet the requirements of the Davenport community as outlined in the Open Letter. The petition presents a clear community vision for this project. MPP Martins will be reading the petition in the Legislature. Community groups will be collecting petitions across our community over the next few weeks and I encourage you to sign it when you have the opportunity. I also have a copy of the petition at my office that you are able to sign. To view the petition, please click here.
As Metrolinx continues to move forward with this project, I will continue to work with local residents' groups, elected representatives, City staff, and Metrolinx to advocate for our community and to ensure that our community receives the best possible outcome from this project.
Enhancing Public Safety at College and Gladstone
My office has received numerous communications from residents, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists about the unsafe conditions at the College Street and Gladstone Avenue intersection. In response, I directed City staff to investigate potential solutions to improving safety conditions at this busy intersection. In late April, I held a joint community meeting with staff and residents to explore the potential solutions. Staff proposed adding a traffic light to the intersection as a means of controlling flows in each direction.
As part of your feedback during the meeting, staff are now exploring additional options, including moving the signaled Pedestrian Crossover (PXO) from the College Street and Havelock Street intersection to College Street and Gladstone Avenue intersection and installing a traffic light at College Street and Havelock Street instead.
Update on the Galleria Mall Development Proposal
On May 7, 2016, the developers Freed and ELAD Canada hosted a community open house at the Galleria Mall as part of an ongoing consultation and visioning process for the development of the site. After having chosen not to proceed with the previously approved 2004 development plans for the site, they are consulting the surrounding community to understand what the desired community outcomes for this project are.
At the open house, the developers shared conceptual renderings on what the site might look like. It is important to note that these renderings do not necessarily represent the final proposal and that no official proposal has yet been made. The developers however are aiming to submit a proposal to the City in the fall.
The developers are intending to retain the currently existing 225,000 square feet of retail space elsewhere within the redeveloped site. The current vision for the site will include a mix of both smaller and larger retail spaces to provide more inclusive opportunities for a variety of establishments to operate. The plan is to integrate retail into a mixed use neighbourhood containing residential uses and community space. The developers have proposed the Wallace Emerson Community Centre be rebuilt and to revitalize the current park space.
Many of you took the time to share your concerns and questions about this project with me at the meeting, including the need for a community and gathering space to be an important part of any proposal. As the developer moves this project forward I will continue to advocate for your interests to ensure the community benefits from whatever proposal is submitted.
If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact my office and the developer to share your thoughts. I will make sure that our community's interests remain a guiding priority as this visioning process moves forward.
Splash Pad Hours at McCormick Park Changed
Many residents have contacted my office requesting a change in hours at the McCormick Park splash pad. I am pleased to announce that parents and children will now have access to this great amenity until 6:30pm as opposed to 6pm. The revised splash pad operating hours (11:30am to 6:30pm) will make McCormick Park a more integrated and vital space for families to enjoy.
Bloordale's Latest Mural Completed
Ward 18's latest Mural installation from Team SpudBomb is now complete at 1262 Bloor Street! This joint effort between my office and the Bloordale BIA is another step forward to deterring graffiti and vandalism in our community while enhancing our neighbourhoods vibrancy and beauty. Stop by and check it out!
Enhancing Rail Safety in Our Community
In March, many City Councillors & Mayor Tory sent a joint letter to the Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau calling for the federal government to take action to improve protection for communities living along commercial rail lines. Our letter proposed several specific actions for the Ministry and Transport Canada to undertake in order to enhance community safety. To read the full letter, please click here.
Minister Garneau has responded to our letter and outlined the current steps and direction his staff and Transport Canada are pursuing with respect to this issue. The Minister outlined the following positive measures the Federal Government is taking.
- Speed restrictions of 40mph and 50mph on freight movements through urban areas.
- Renewed efforts to establishing a communications framework for industry, the regulators and the public that directly engages local communities.
- Review of the DOT-111 phase out period (currently scheduled for completion on May 1, 2017) to assess the potential to accelerate this timeline.
- As part of new insurance regulations which come into force on June 18, 2016, Railways will now be required to payout compensation to victims of an accident involving crude oil without needing to prove fault or negligence.
- A new industry-financed compensation will be established to fund any claims and costs exceeding a railways insurance levels, in the event of an accident.
- 2016 Federal budget includes $143 million for increased inspections and first responder training and equipment.
To read the Minister's full response, please click here.
While these measures represent a decisive start towards establishing sufficient protections for communities along rail lines, I will continue to advocate for further action on this important issue.
Province Releases Draft Legislation for Inclusionary Zoning
This month, the Ontario Government released its draft legislation outlining policies and the legislative framework which will govern the use of inclusionary zoning by municipalities. Inclusionary Zoning provides a policy tool to leverage future private sector developments for the construction of new affordable housing. My full statement on this matter can be found below.
Draft Inclusionary Zoning Legislation:
We are ready to get to work
Toronto welcomes the introduction of inclusionary zoning legislation but much work remains to be done to craft regulations that help - not hinder - the creation of desperately needed affordable housing, Councillor Ana Bailão, Toronto's Housing Advocate says.
"We need a made-in-Toronto policy that balances the needs of everyone, from low-income people desperate for affordable housing to new home buyers, and the industry that delivers new rental and ownership homes," Councillor Bailão said. "Our goal is to be successful where we improve housing affordability for all."
The City is eager to review the draft legislation, the regulations and participate in provincial consultations with the province to get it right. Toronto is committed to hosting its own consultations and review what has worked and not worked elsewhere before proceeding.
"We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure inclusionary zoning delivers real results for people in need of affordable homes," Councillor Bailão said. "However, it is important to remember that inclusionary zoning will not solve Toronto's housing crisis on its own. Inclusionary zoning will join the growing menu of tools the city has to support our affordable housing agenda."
While inclusionary zoning supports ongoing City affordable housing initiatives, there are a range of issues to be addressed such as where it applies, when it comes into effect, what City incentives are provided, how the Province, City and industry will cost share the implementation of such a program, and ultimately how many new affordable homes result.
"We want to ensure that we get affordable housing while maintaining the affordability of housing", said Councillor Bailão.
"We will work to implement inclusionary zoning as soon as possible – but not at the expense of not getting it right," Councillor Bailão said. "We need real results where everyone is working together to build a better and more inclusive city."
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Taking Action to Ban Door-to-Door Sales
Residents in Ward 18 and across Ontario have been subject to the high pressure and unsolicited sales tactics by sales representatives from the home services sector. My office has been assisting residents who have been tricked into signing contracts by these companies.
Eariler this month I moved a motion at City Council, requesting the Province ban the door-to-door sales of the furnaces, water systems, air conditioners, water heaters and HVAC equipment to put an end to this predatory practice before the Ontario Legislature breaks for the summer recess. These efforts support MPP Yvan Baker's Private Members Bill, the Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016, which was tabled in the Provincial legislature on May 2, 2016.
As the weather changes, the frequency of these sales encounters will increase. It is imperative that the Province takes immediate action to further protect residents. Recently, a home services company was charged with 142 counts of violating the Consumer Protection Act. It is clear to me that we need to stop these companies from taking advantage of vulnerable members of our society through aggressive and misleading sales practices.
I will continue to work on initiatives protecting residents and encourage you to contact my office if you continue to encounter these aggressive sales tactics.
To read my full motion, please click here.
New Vehicle-for-Hire Bylaw
Earlier this month, City Council passed several new regulations governing the Vehicle-for-Hire industry. The bylaw seeks to provide a comprehensive set of clear rules focused on public safety, consumer protection and provide a fair and balanced regulatory framework.
I voted to include Private Transportation Companies (PTC), such as Uber, within our regulatory framework. By including these PTCs within our framework, the City has the authority to properly oversee their operations.
PTC drivers will be required to submit background checks directly to the city and staff will report back to Council in early 2017 on the inclusion of cameras in these vehicles. PTC drivers will also now be required to carry $2 million dollars in insurance coverage and PTC companies will be required to hold and additional $5 million in general liability coverage.
I also voted to have staff report back on the outcomes of this new regulatory framework and I will carefully study the results of these efforts to ensure that this vital component of our transportation network is focused on safety, consumer protection and fair competition.
Bike Lanes on Bloor Pilot Project
At this month's meeting of City Council, I voted in favour of a pilot project to install separated bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road. This year long pilot project provides an opportunity for City staff to collect the data they need to inform our discussion about cycling routes in our city.
The shape and width of Bloor Street West changes along the 2.6km pilot project stretch. City staff have proposed a mix of painted cycling lanes, buffered cycle tracks and the use of Bollards to separate cycling and automobile traffic as part of the pilot. In all cases, one lane of travel for vehicles will be maintained in each direction with left-turn lanes added at key intersections to mitigate traffic flow changes.
This pilot project will analyze the traffic impacts and benefits to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, businesses, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of adding separated cycling lanes on Bloor and will be reported back to council with these results. It important to collect this data to inform our decisions moving forward as we look at ways for different modes of transportation to coexist in our increasingly growing city.
The results of the pilot project will further include the impacts on business. As this pilot project was supported by the local BIAs, these results are important to them and going forward will help to shape their understandings on this important issue. Parking space losses will be mitigated along Bloor with with new spaces in some sections and access will be maintained to the 860 off street spaces along the route.
I look forward to reviewing the results of this project when staff are set to report back to council next year.
Library Labour Agreement
As you are likely aware, a tentative agreement between the Toronto Public Library staff members of Local 4948 and the City of Toronto was reached on May 6 and ratified on May 11, 2016. This agreement ensures this vital service remains available to all Torontonians and secures labour stability for the coming 4 years.
I am pleased that the tentative agreement was reached through a negotiated settlement at the bargaining table and that all library services will continue to operate as normal. The Toronto Public Library system is widely considered to be one of the best in the world. A major reason for this is because of the hard work, passion, and dedication of Local 4948 members. Please join me in thanking them for everything that they do for our city.
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
WeeFestival - May 16 to May 26, 2016
Yes In My BackYard Festival - Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) - Sunday May 22nd from 11am to 3:30pm
The West-End YIMBY Festival provides a social space for people and groups involved in grassroots, locally driven community development to gather, exchange ideas and strategies to affect change, and imagine their future city. West–End YIMBY says Yes to people and organizations that effect social change. This free, one-day event invites community groups and non-profits from across West-End Toronto to educate residents and each other through informal table discussions. YIMBY provides an opportunity for neighbours to meet neighbours, and for the community to get informed and involved.
For more information, please click here.
Brockton Triangle Yard Sale & Art Crawl - Brockton Triangle Nieghbourhood - Saturday May 28, 2016 from 9am to 2pm
Doors Open Toronto - May 28 to May 29, 2016
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.
Bike To Work Day - May 30, 2016
100In1Day - June 4 All Day
Bike Month: Ward 18 Tune Up #1 - Sobey's Parking Lot (840 Dupont St) - Wednesday June 8, 2016 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Luminato Festival - Hearn Generating Station (440 Unwin Ave) - June 10, 2016 to June 26, 2016
Dundas West Fest - Dundas Street West - June 11 from 11am to 10pm
Bike Month: Yoga For Cyclists at Henderson Brewing - Henderson Brewing Co. (128A Sterling Rd) - Saturday June 11, 2016 from 1pm to 3pm
Bloordale Laneway Crawl and Community Garage Sale - Bloordale Laneways (Between Dufferin and Margueretta) - Saturday June 11, 2016 from 12pm to 4pm
Portugal Day Parade - Lansdowne Avenue & Dundas Street West - June 12 starting at 11am
Bike Month: Ward 18 Mural and Art Gallery - Dundas West Mural (1574 Dundas West) - Thursday June 16, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm
Push for Hope - Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club (180 Westmoreland Avenue) - Saturday June 18, 2016 from 10am to 12pm
Bike Month: Yoga for Cyclists at Dufferin Grove Park - Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin St) - Saturday June 18 from 10am to 11:15am
Bike Month: Fourth Annual Custard Tart Ride! - Brazil Bakery (1554 Dundas Street West) - Sunday June 19 from 11am to 1pm
Bike Month: Ward 18 Tune Up #2 - West Toronto Railpath Entrance ( Sterling Rd & Dundas St W) - Wednesday June 22, 2016 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Armstrong Avenue Street Party - Armstrong Ave - Saturday June 25, 2016 from 2pm to 8pm
Bike Month: Secrets of Ward 18 - West Toronto Railpath Entrance (Sterling Rd & Dundas St W) - Thursday June 30, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm
Canada Day Festival - MacGregor Park (346 Lansdowne Ave) - July 1 from 4pm to 6:30pm
TOCore Public Consultation
As Downtown continues to grow, we need a new plan to help shape its future. It’s been almost 40 years since the City prepared a comprehensive plan at the scale of the Downtown, and this new plan—informed by a new vision and 7 strategies—is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a new blueprint for our core. Use the buttons below to learn more about each of the 7 strategies or scroll down to learn even more.
Tell us what you think about Toronto's Downtown. What's working well? Where do you have concerns? How might we make improvements for the future? What’s your vision? To choose how you can get involved, please click here.
Join the Conversation to fight Climate Change and Help TransformTO
The City of Toronto, like many other cities in the world, has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050 to help reduce the most negative impact of climate change
Reaching this goal will require big changes in the ways that we live, travel, work and consume goods and services, which will in turn affect everything from the structure of our local economy, to the types of jobs we hold, to our education and training programs, and more. To learn more about this initiative and how you can get involved, please click here.
Council urges province to ban certain door-to-door sales - Toronto Sun
Province to give cities new affordable housing powers - Toronto Star
Affordable housing and transit should go hand-in-hand - Mobility Lab
Development Adding Affordable Units to Wilson Station Community - Urban Toronto
Protect your basement from flooding
It's springtime, and the City is once again reminding homeowners to take steps to help prevent their basements from flooding. The City is doing its part to prevent heavy rainfall and runoff from ending up in your basement – by continually updating and maintaining Toronto's complex system of underground pipes, sewers and catch basins. Now find out what you can do by visiting toronto.ca/basementflooding.
501 Queen Streetcar to Divert 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.
Lyme Disease Prevention Tips
As warmer weather arrives, Toronto Public Health is reminding residents to protect themselves against blacklegged tick bites and Lyme disease. The blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the only type of tick in Ontario that can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
For Lyme disease prevention tips and more information, please click here.
Toronto City Council met on May 3, 4, and 5, 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.
Regulation of ground transportation
Council approved details for the City's regulation of ground transportation, which covers traditional taxi cabs as well as ridesharing services offered by private transportation companies. The new rules establish regulations for private transportation companies (such as Uber) and modify existing regulations for taxi brokers, owners and drivers, with the intention of giving the taxi industry greater organizational flexibility. Toronto's new ground transportation bylaw is intended to serve the public's interests and provide fairness to the providers of ground transportation/vehicles for hire.
Bike-lane project on Bloor Street West
Council approved the installation of eastbound and westbound cycle tracks/bike lanes on Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Avenue Road as a pilot project. The project will provide an opportunity to evaluate the impacts and benefits of cycling infrastructure on Bloor Street. Transportation Services intends to report back on its findings in 2017.
Use of paid-duty police officers
Council agreed to ask the Province of Ontario to amend the Highway Traffic Act to give municipalities the flexibility to opt for alternatives to using paid-duty police officers to direct traffic and close highways. Alternatives could include assigning special constables or peace officers, for example, for those kinds of duties where deemed appropriate. City divisions and agencies use paid-duty police officers to support road maintenance and construction as well as at special events.
Council approved a Toronto social procurement program, with the aim of increasing competition and diversity in the City's supply chain as well as for leveraging employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities through City procurement for people experiencing economic disadvantage, including those in equity-seeking communities. The program is expected to shift the City's procurement culture and make a positive impact on Council's poverty-reduction goals.
Assistance for Ecuador
Council adopted a motion concerning the recent earthquake that devastated Ecuador, killing and injuring thousands of people and destroying or damaging buildings and infrastructure. In addition to urging the Canadian government to expand its relief effort, Council approved direct involvement by the City of Toronto, including support for local fundraising and an offer of technical expertise from City divisions such as Toronto Water.
Council vacancy Ward 2 Etobicoke North
Council declared the office of Councillor, Ward 2 Etobicoke North to be vacant as a result of the recent passing of Councillor Rob Ford. Council chose the option of holding a City of Toronto by-election for Ward 2 voters to fill the vacancy, with nomination day June 10, advance voting on July 16 and 17, and voting day Monday, July 25.
Investment in local child care
Council voted in support of funding the creation of 464 new child care spaces in 10 locations, consistent with Children's Services' capital strategy for 2015-19. Since the implementation of full-day kindergarten in Ontario began in 2010, the Children’s Services division has been working with the province, families, school boards and service providers to realize the vision of an integrated early-years system in Toronto schools for children four to 12 years of age.
Highland Creek wastewater treatment plant
Subject to the completion of the provincial environmental assessment process this spring, Council authorized Toronto Water to proceed with design and construction of new incinerators to replace two old ones for processing biosolids at the Highland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in south Scarborough. Several related motions were adopted, including one calling for the use of enhanced emission-scrubbing technologies and one addressing the matter of greenhouse gas emissions at the treatment plant.
Council voted to ask the Province of Ontario to immediately ban the practice of door-to-door sales involving the sale or lease of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, water filtration systems and other services/products sold by the home-services sector. Many Torontonians have reported experiencing aggressive door-to-door sales tactics, sometimes by people who misrepresent themselves as government officials or utility inspectors to gain entry to the home.
Toronto Licensing Tribunal proceedings
Council adopted a motion asking for a report on providing opportunities for direct community input – in a less restricted way than presently allowed – in matters that are before the Toronto Licensing Tribunal. Staff are to report the findings to the Executive Committee later this year.
Compensation and benefits
Council approved 2016 salary-range increases representing cost-of-living adjustments for management/non-union staff and accountability officers employed by the City of Toronto. Changes to the benefits plans were adopted, as were several motions, including a request for reports on performance pay, comparisons of employee compensation, and comparisons of staff turnover by cluster (groups of City divisions).
Issue of suicide deaths involving bridges
Council adopted a motion calling for the exploration of options for preventing suicide deaths resulting from people having jumped from bridges. The motion said statistics covering 2005 to 2009 indicate that 22 per cent of suicides in Toronto involved jumping from a high place such as a bridge or balcony. The findings of the research are to be submitted to the Board of Health for consideration.
Standards for maximum indoor temperature
Council supported asking the Province of Ontario to cover the costs of Toronto's public consultations on the implementation of maximum indoor temperature standards for rental multi-unit residential buildings. A health report says new evidence indicates exposure to temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius is associated with increased premature mortality and emergency medical services calls.
Call for ban on use of bullhooks
Council supported a motion calling on the Ontario government to move immediately to ban the use of bullhooks in zoos, circuses and traveling shows in Ontario. A bullhook is a sharp tool shaped like a fireplace poker that trainers have traditionally used to forcefully control animals, particularly elephants, in circuses and zoos. Several jurisdictions in the United States have taken action to ban the use of bullhooks on the grounds of animal cruelty.
World Police and Fire Games
Council voted in favour of requesting a report on the feasibility of Toronto hosting the World Police and Fire Games in 2017. The games are held every other year as a multi-sport event for full-time and retired professional firefighters and law-enforcement officers. In 2011, Toronto lost a bid to host the 2017 games, but the chosen host, Montreal, has cancelled its games. The World Police and Fire Games Federation has approached the City of Toronto about it possibly hosting the event next summer.