Providing Shelter for our Most Vulnerable Residents
Over the holidays, and into last weekend, we experienced a record-breaking cold snap. The City's Medical Officer of Health declared Extreme Cold Weather Alerts as overnight temperatures went below -20 several times.
While the weather during this recent period was especially severe, it should not have been a surprise that it was cold in Toronto during winter. That's why it was particularly disheartening that our City was not prepared to provide shelter for our most vulnerable residents when they needed it most.
This completely unacceptable situation was entirely preventable. My colleague Kristyn Wong-Tam moved a motion at Council in early December to request that the federal government open the downtown Armouries to provide emergency shelter space following the advice of front line workers, advocates, and healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, the Mayor and a majority of Council voting against even making this request.
There are certainly issues with temporarily converting the Armouries into shelters by the location in Moss Park is vital for those that cannot find space in the surrounding shelters. The alternative site at the Better Living Centre in the CNE grounds isn't within a reasonable proximity to many of those people we are trying to help.
I commend the federal government for acting swiftly after the Mayor finally made the request. Local MP Adam Vaughan and the Minister of Defence helped ensure that the spaces were ready at no cost to the City.
While emergency shelters, such as the armouries, provide a potentially life-saving service during a time of need, we need to address the underlying issues that have led to this marked increase in the homeless population. All three levels of government must work together on measures to create more affordable housing and provide adequate addiction and mental health services.
For more information, please visit this article.
Public Meeting for Revised 18 Brownlow Development Application
City Planning will be hosting a public consultation meeting on the revised application for 18 Brownlow.
The original development application submitted in November 2015 proposed two residential towers of 25 and 20 storeys linked by a 4-storey base building. A community consultation meeting for the proposal was held in May 2016. In June 2016 the applicant appealed the application to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The proposal has been revised to remove the property at 18 Brownlow Avenue from the application and reduce the number of residential towers from two to one. The revised proposal is for one 24-storey residential tower including a 3-storey base building at 174-188 Soudan Avenue and 71 and 73 Redpath Avenue. It would contain 175 dwelling units and 137 parking spaces.
I have been working with the South Eglinton Residents' and Ratepayers Association (SERRA) to oppose this inappropriate development since it was first submitted. While we are pleased one of the towers has been removed, the remaining tower is still far too tall. The existing Secondary Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton Area states that heights and densities should descend as a site becomes further away from the main intersection. This proposal is higher than many of its neighbours closer to Yonge and Eglinton.
Details for the Community Meeting are as follows:
Date: January 17, 2018
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Best Western Roehampton Hotel – 808 Mount Pleasant Road
Town Hall Meeting to Save the Regent Theatre!
Since the 1920s, the Regent Theatre (once known as the Belsize and then the Crest) has been an iconic theatre on Mount Pleasant Road in the heart of Toronto. This historic landmark has now been put up for sale by the owners.
I'm inviting members of our community, arts and culture industry leaders, city staff, the property owners and all creative thinkers to come together for a conversation on how best to preserve the Regent's built form and purpose. It will be held on Monday, January 24th, 7pm at Greenwood College in Room 174 (443 Mount Pleasant Road). Please help spread the word by the sharing the flyer, and we hope to see you there!
Councillor Josh Matlow's 2017 City of Toronto Budget Town Hall Meeting
It's very important to me that I accurately reflect our community's priorities, and represent you, when I vote on our behalf on the City of Toronto's budget. On Monday, January 29th at 7pm, I'll host my 2018 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will take place in Room 174 at Greenwood College (443 Mount Pleasant Road).
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and encourage your feedback. I hope you will be able to attend.
If you would like more information on the proposed 2018 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please click here and here.
Save The Date: Community Skating Party with Josh Matlow, Rob Oliphant & Carolyn Bennett!
I'm excited to once again be co-hosting a community skating party with our local MPs, Rob Oliphant and Carolyn Bennett at Hodgson Ice Rink (East of Mt. Pleasant, entrance off Millwood/Harwood, behind Hodgson PS).
Please join us from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday February 4th for a fun, family-friendly, afternoon with coffee and hot chocolate. More details to come.
I hope to see you and your family there!
Have your Say in the Naming of our Two New Community Parks on Manor Road!
As many of you are aware, we've worked together as a community to create two new city parks that will be complete and ready to enjoy just in time for spring! There is now an exciting opportunity to be a part of the naming process, and your input is deeply important.
160 Manor Road East
The former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling site has been transformed into a light recreational park that is complete with a bocce court, gaming tables, accessible pathway and a tranquil green space. I was delighted to hear from a few local residents over the holidays that there have already been some bocce games enjoyed, despite the chilly weather!
250 Manor Road East
We worked successfully with Manor Road United Church to secure the Eastern portion of the property as a city park and playground. As soon as the ground thaws in the spring, the last bit of construction will proceed. But first, both the park and playground will need to be named.
The community has already contributed a lot of great feedback on these potential new park names, and they are reflected in a short survey that City Parks Staff have prepared. The survey (click here) will be open for responses until Friday, January 26th.
Have Your Say on the Development Charges Review – Public Consultation Meetings
The City is currently conducting a review of the development charges bylaw and is looking for feedback from the public on the proposed rates and polices.
Development charges are fees collected from developers at the time a building permit is issued. The fees help to pay for the cost of infrastructure required to provide municipal services to new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres, fire and police facilities. You can read more about development charges here.
There are two public consultation meetings being held by the City:
North York Civic Centre, Committee Room 3
5100 Yonge St.
Monday, January 15, 6-8 p.m.
Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 4
100 Queen St. W.
Wednesday, January 17, 6-8 p.m.
Be prepared! Protect your pipes from freezing
With the busy holiday season approaching, don't forget to take the steps necessary to protect your pipes from freezing. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, turn off the water at the main service valve in the basement and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines. Homeowners should also open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Get more frozen pipe prevention tips.
St. Cuthbert's Community Potluck Dinner
Join me and my friends at St. Cuthbert's Church on Saturday, January 20th at 6:00pm for a potluck dinner. Feel welcome to bring your family, friends and food to share. For more event details, please review this flyer.
Smashing Barriers: Redefining What It Is To Be Blind
On January Tuesday 16th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, CNIB Ontario will be hosting an event as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TDOF). This community event will be encouraging all residents in the Yonge and St. Clair area (and across the City) to come and experience sight loss simulation and virtual reality as it relates to people with sight loss, as well as other interactive activities. For more event details, I welcome you to visit the following Facebook page and view the event listing on TDOF's website.
Smart City Challenge: How would you improve Toronto through data and technology?
The City is competing for $50 million in the Federal Smart Cities Challenge and we need your help to come up with an ambitious and unique idea.Using data and technology, smart cities have the potential to improve all aspects of livability and opportunity in a city– from transportation, the environment, economy, communities, engagement and social services. We want to know your ideas for how data and technology can make a meaningful impact to life in Toronto.
Think big! Please share your ideas by February 2, 2018 by completing an online survey or through a hardcopy form at a local Toronto Public Library branch.
For more information including how you can share your idea and get involved, visit the Smart Cities Challenge page.
2018 Community Projects and Events Grants
The City of Toronto is excited to announce the launch of the 2018 Community Projects and Events funding stream. Through this fund, the City of Toronto provides two streams of one-time funding that support community groups and organizations to build vibrant, equitable, inclusive and safe communities. The deadline for submitting an online Letter of Intent is Friday, February 2nd at 11:59pm. If you are interested in taking advantage of this amazing opportunity, please visit the City's website to review their grant guidelines and application questions.
Fire Prevention Inspection Results
Toronto Fire Services recently announced that the fire inspections conducted as of January 1, 2017 in highrise buildings across Toronto are now available online. The list includes properties where violations of the Ontario Fire Code have been found and addressed, as well as properties that had no observable violations. I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Toronto Fire Services for always keeping Torontonians' safety in mind!
Liz McFarland: Farewell and Congratulations!
For the past four years, Liz McFarland has served our community in her role as my Constituency Assistant. Liz has worked tirelessly, and with great skill and dedication, for the residents of Ward 22 (she's also a local resident herself). While I'm happy to announce that Liz has started in her new role at Heritage Preservation Services in the City of Toronto's Planning Department, I'm also sad to see her go. She has become a true friend to me, her colleagues in my office and to so many people who she has helped. On behalf of our community, I wish Liz happiness and great success on the important work that she will be doing to preserve our city's architectural and cultural heritage. Knowing Liz, she will still be reviewing this for any factual errors and grammar mistakes. Knowing Liz, she will still be proofreading this for any grammar mistakes I've made :)