Rail Safety Town Hall Meeting, Tomorrow!
Disasters over the past several years in Lac Megantique, in Northern Ontario, and the United States have demonstrated the risks involved with moving hazardous materials, such as crude oil, by rail. That's why I've been working with local residents and community organizations for several years now to convince the federal government to put responsible regulations in place to protect Canadians. You can read my 2014 motion to City Council on this important issue here.
In 2015, I wrote a letter, signed by my colleagues to urge the then-Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt to enact significant safety measures. This commitment was recently renewed with my letter to Hon. Marc Garneau, the new Minister of Transportation, that was also signed by Mayor Tory and all councillors representing wards that are traversed by the CP rail line. I commend the new government for actively listening to our concerns and am very hopeful they will soon move forward with necessary measures to protect residents living near rail corridors.
The urgent importance of our initiative has been recognized by the Toronto Star and other media outlets. Now is the time for action to protect our communities!
Also, I am pleased to have been asked by local MPs Carolyn Bennett and Chrystia Freeland to moderate a conversation at public meeting with Minister Garneau. Please join me for this important event at 6:30pm on Wednesday, April 27 at Walmer Road Baptist Church (188 Lowther Avenue).
Deer Park Accessible Playground Groundbreaking Ceremony
Deer Park Public School was one of the many schools that had its wooden play structures removed a decade ago due to safety concerns. The few play stuctures on site are inadequate for the special needs students at the school and in the wider community.
That's why I was happy to support the efforts of local parents, and Trustee Laskin, to contribute funds through a motion toward a new, fully accessible playground at Deer Park last year. This new playground will ensure that every child in the community will be finally able to play with their friends, rather than sit on the sidelines.
This morning, the community celebrated the start of this important project with a groundbreaking ceremony that I was honoured to participate in. I look forward to the project being completed soon and seeing children of all abilities enjoying the new playground!
Reuse, Recycle, Safely Dispose: Ward 22's Community Environment Day
Please join me at my annual Community Environment Day event. I hope to see you there!
Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016
Time: 4pm - 8pm
Location: North Toronto Memorial Arena parking lot (174 Orchard View Blvd)
Community Environment Day helps reduce the amount of reusable, recyclable or household hazardous waste going into landfill. The program provides a convenient way for you to drop off reusable and recyclable items such as clothing, small appliances, non-perishable food, electronics, etc. You can drop off household hazardous waste for safe disposal. By doing these things, you will also help support charities, schools, the local "sharing" economy and create new "green" jobs. For more information, please click here or call 311.
I'm delighted to support AppleTree Markets, a local Ward 22 non-profit organization, that will once again be transforming June Rowlands Park into a vibrant "town square" for the fifth year of our community's popular farmers’ market at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. The market is a place where you are sure to see friends and neighbours, while buying fresh produce, fish, meats, chocolate, and so much more.
This season, the market begins on May 10th and will operate weekly on Tuesdays between 3 and 7pm. I look forward to seeing you there!
Jane's Walks 10th Anniversary
Interested in learning more about the city's distinct neighbourhoods and diverse cultures? This year, volunteers from across the city will be leading Jane's Walks, a celebration of the legacy Jane Jacob's left on our city.
Two Jane's Walks will be occurring in Ward 22, and best of all, they're free! The first, "Trains, Trams and Roads in Summerhill and Deer Park," will be a one-hour walk led by Ken Brown on May 7. You can find out more about this walk here. The second, "Retracing Stop Spadina", will be a two-hour walk led by HiMY SYeD on May 1 and 7. You can find out more about this walk here.
For more information about Jane's Walks and many other events happening around Toronto, please click here.
Funding Opportunity for Community Groups
The City is encouraging non-profit organizations that address community safety or access, equity and human rights of equity-seeking groups to apply for two different grant programs.
Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) Investment Funding
The Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) Investment Program provides short-term funding to community-based projects that act on human rights, accessibility, equity, discrimination and hate crime concerns in their neighbourhoods and communities. (Deadline for application is at 11:59pm, June 8.)
Community Safety Investment (CSI) Funding
The Community Safety Investment (CSI) program provides short-term funding of 1-3 years for outcome-focused activities that build community capacity for violence prevention and increase safety for the most vulnerable groups in Toronto. Priority will be given to community groups that help seniors, youth most vulnerable to involvement in serious violence and crime, newcomers, undocumented workers and Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) (Deadline for application is at 11:59pm, June 15.)
An information session for these grant programs will also be held May 4 at City Hall from 10am-12pm.
Province Backs Away from Problematic Childcare Regulations
I’m pleased to report that the Province has responded to the sincere concerns from parents and the City’s Children Services by backing away from proposed changes that further compromised the affordability and accessibility of childcare. These regulations would have lowered the age groupings for infants and toddlers, that would have lead to a reduction of over 2000 child care spaces and increased fees for parents.
These impacts are outlined in detail in this report prepared in response by the City.
To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.
My Proposed Developments webpage has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans.
Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca. Click here to read my previous city hall and community updates.