New Report Reveals Low Ridership Expected for “Express” One-Stop Scarborough Subway
My position on the Scarborough Subway is well known. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the previous plan for a 7 stop, grade-separated LRT (which would run in its own corridor- no traffic lanes removed and no traffic signals) would serve Scarborough residents’ transit needs much better than a subway, and would be fully funded by the provincial government. In other words, far more people served with rapid transit for far fewer tax dollars.
Earlier this year, Mayor Tory presented a new Scarborough transit plan that to replace the 3 stop subway with a one stop subway and use the savings to build a 17 stop LRT from Kennedy Station to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. I commended Mayor Tory at the time for recognizing that the evidence simply did not support the previous subway plan for Scarborough, but that I still had a number of questions about the new plan.
Primarily, that $2 billion (costs are approximate at this point) for a one stop subway extension is too high. This concern has increased with the release of new projections from City Planning showing only 7,300 riders would use the subway during the busiest period.
Too put that in perspective, that number is less than a quarter of the capacity for a subway and less than half that of an LRT. The level of ridership projected for the one stop subway is similar to a busy bus route. Toronto has several unfunded commitments and a dearth of resources to complete them. I believe our city council must take an honest, evidence-based and fiscally-responsible approach when setting priorities.
I will continue to work with the mayor and my council colleagues on a plan to provide better service for Scarborough residents, including further investigation into whether the subway could travel at-grade through its own corridor as part of a network approach to transit planning that must include a funded Relief Subway Line to support our existing overcrowded system.
For more information on the new one stop Scarborough subway, please see this article.
City Initiative to Support Tenants Moves Forward
As the Chair of Toronto’s Tenant Issues Committee, I have been working with tenants from across our city, Acorn and the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants Associations, on an initiative to better ensure that landlords keep their multi-residential buildings in good repair. After many months of hard work, I was pleased that the vast majority of my colleagues at Council voted this week to move forward with consultation on landlord licensing.
This new initiative is aimed at ensuring that Toronto renters have safe, clean and healthy homes that have adequate heat, functioning appliances, and are free of bedbugs. In short, the basics. It will help give the City of Toronto tools it needs to make landlords follow the law.
The proposal would apply to all buildings that have at least 3 storeys and 10 units. Given that there are 3,300 apartment buildings that fit this criteria in Toronto, it is safe to say that we will never have enough property standards inspectors to effectively enforce our by-laws on a complaints basis as is the current practice. The proposed licensing system would take a pro-active approach, similar to the City’s successful DineSafe program, by requiring landlords to submit cleaning and maintenance plans coupled with random audits.
This initiative has the potential to greatly improve the lives of many tenants in our community. That’s why I was disappointed to see that the Greater Toronto Apartments Association (the landlord lobby) target tenants with a campaign of misinformation to shamefully manipulate tenants into advocating against their own interests with flyers claiming that City Hall was about to implement an “apartment tax”.
Part of the recommendations might include a small fee that the City of Toronto would charge landlords (not tenants) to cover the cost of the program. The Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards stated that it would be very unlikely that the landlords would be able to pass this cost on to tenants. Further, this opinion was echoed by a spokesperson the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing last week.
I would certainly never support any measure that would raise rents on Toronto’s tenants and will continue to fight to keep rents affordable and for safe, healthy and respectful homes.
For more information please see this article.
School Fun fairs and BBQs
Me and my daughter Molly having fun at a recent school fun fair
My family and I have enjoyed seeing so many of you at the many local school fun fairs and BBQs over the past month, including events at:
- Maurice Cody
- Deer Park
- Oriole Park
- Forest Hill
A special thanks to all the hard-working parent volunteers and school staff who made these great community events possible. Please join us between 10:30am-3:30pm at Davisville PS next Saturday, June 18!
Belsize Drive's Glebe Manor East and West Parkettes Improvements Update
I'm pleased to announce that construction on the parkettes is wrapping up and they look remarkable!
It was a great pleasure to work with local residents to make much-needed improvements to the parkettes while still retaining their natural beauty. These enhancements include clearly delineated entranceways, new flowerbeds and sitting areas, mulch-covered natural paths and tree canopy replacement. Importantly, the drainage issues that have plagued the east parkette have also been addressed.
You may have noticed there is still fencing enclosing portions of the parkettes, despite construction now being completed. I have been informed by the project manager that this fencing is necessary to protect newly re-seeded areas in the parkettes and will need to remain a while longer, to ensure adequate seed rooting.
Toronto Attains Global Age-Friendly City Status!
During my first year as our city councillor, I initiated the City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy: a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly accessible, respectful and age-friendly Toronto.
Since its inception two years ago, 86 of the 91 recommendations have been either partially or fully implemented, including the provision of seniors’-centred social services at appropriate TCHC buildings, and an increase in home visits by City paramedics.
Having since been appointed the City of Toronto’s Seniors Advocate, I am working on the next phase of the Seniors Strategy. I am proud of the major steps we have taken, but there is still more work to be done.
In recognition of the recent successful implementation of Toronto’s inaugural Seniors Strategy, I am delighted to announce that on February 22, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) pronounced Toronto the latest global city to be awarded the status of a WHO designated Age-Friendly City!
Toronto's inclusion in the WHO's Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities speaks to our city's commitment to serving seniors in an equitable, respectful and inclusionary way to improve their quality of life and support their full participation in civic life. I look forward to working alongside the WHO and all of our partners to continue to develop, enhance and implement our Toronto Seniors Strategy.
In my role as Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I was delighted to present the WHO plaque at City Council on Tuesday. Thank you so much to all of the City staff and community partners whose great efforts contributed to this milestone achievement!
Toronto Seniors Summit
As Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I recently met with Ontario's Minister Responsible for Seniors, Mario Sergio, to discuss a wide array of priorities to Toronto's seniors. At this meeting, we also agreed to organize a Seniors Summit to celebrate the achievements of the Ontario and Toronto Seniors Strategies so far and discuss next steps to continue to improve the lives of our growing elder population.
Please join me at 10am-2pm on Saturday, June 18 for the Toronto Seniors Summit at City Hall!
The summit will be a half-day event for provincial, municipal and community partners including:
- an overview of seniors strategies by the elected officials of Toronto and Ontario
- a seniors celebration of Toronto's recent World Health Organization designation as a Global Age-friendly City
- an open discussion of what seniors can do to advance their needs and interests in their community
- an informational opportunity with City Division and community partner info booths
Full details about the Toronto Seniors Summit are available on the event flyer.
I encourage you all to come, support and participate!
Happy 35th Anniversary to Montgomery Place!
My daughter Molly and I deeply enjoyed joining residents of 130 Eglinton Avenue East last weekend to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Montgomery Place.
This is a seniors' residence and remarkable Toronto Community Housing building - a truly special vertical neighbourhood in the heart of Midtown.
Shop, Dine and Wine on Mount Pleasant!
Come on out to the Mount Pleasant Village "Shop Wine and Dine" event on Thursday, June 16th from 5-8pm. There will be great food, music, and sidewalk sales on Mt. Pleasant Road between Davisville and Eglinton Avenues. The Red Carpet will be rolled out just for you! Kids can be dropped off at Kidnasium for the full 3 hours for $35. Festivities hosted by the Mount Pleasant BIA.
Community Consultation: Proposed Provincial Growth Plan
The Provincial Growth Plan is a powerful document that affects all citizens in Toronto by directing planning and growth policies. The Province is revising the plan and taking written comments from the public and City until September 2016.
An open house community consultation will be held at the Toronto Reference Library on Monday, June 27th from 5-8 pm.
Do you own property in the City of Toronto? You’ll be receiving an updated Property Assessment Notice in spring 2016.
Every four years MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) conducts a province-wide Assessment Update and mails Property Assessment Notices to every property owner in Ontario. In 2016, MPAC will update the assessed values of every property in Ontario, to the legislated valuation date of January 1, 2016.
Property owners can visit www.aboutmyproperty.ca to learn more about residential market trends in their area and how their property was assessed. By using the Roll Number and unique Access Key on their Property Assessment Notice, they can also see the information MPAC has on file for their property and compare it to others in their area.
If you disagree with your assessment, you can submit a Request for Reconsideration (RfR) directly through www.aboutmyproperty.ca within 120 days from the Issue Date on your Property Assessment Notice.
Toronto Notice Mailing Dates
Property Type: Residential (former Toronto City)
Issue Dates: June 1, 2016
RfR Deadline: September 29, 2016
Property Type: Business Properties
Issue Dates: October 18, 2016
RfR Deadline: February 15, 2017
TransformTO: Setting Toronto on the path to becoming a low-carbon city
In April and May, the City's Environment and Energy Division hosted four Community Conversations as part of the TransformTO: Climate Action for a Healthy, Equitable, and Prosperous Toronto. Residents are invited to Host Your Own TransformTO Conversation. A variety of materials to support the community conversations, including the TransformTOConversation Kit and background materials used at four City-hosted events earlier this spring, are available online.
Input from the community-hosted events will be included in a technical model designed to evaluate the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of various actions and strategies. Together, the engagement results and the technical scenario modelling will inform the development of an updated Climate Change Action Plan for the City of Toronto. Multiple community groups and residents including the Young Urbanists League, the Design Exchange, and the People's Climate Movement have hosted conversations already.
Interested residents are asked to begin the process of hosting a community conversation by emailing the TransformTO team at [email protected], and to submit a summary of their conversations to the City by June 20, 2016. More information is available on the TransformTO website.
Enbridge Energy Conservation Programs
Last year, Enbridge proposed new conservation programs to the Ontario Energy Board, which have since been approved and implemented.
Smart Thermostats Program
One of the easiest ways to save on your energy costs is by installing a smart thermostat. It uses sensors and Wi-Fi technology to maximize your home comfort and energy savings. That’s why Enbridge Gas Distribution is introducing a new Smart Thermostats Program. Purchase and install one of the qualifying smart thermostats and apply before December 31, 2016 to receive a $100 bill credit applied to your Enbridge account. Visit knowyourenergyscore.ca for full program details.
Home Energy Conservation Program
Enbridge Gas is offering the Home Energy Conservation Program again for 2016. Complete with energy expertise and valuable incentives of up to $2,100 to qualified homeowners, this program makes it easy and affordable for you to understand and improve the energy efficiency of your home, lower your energy bills and lessen your home’s impact on the environment. Please visit knowyourenergyscore.ca
The City of Toronto's Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) provides low-interest loans for home energy efficiency improvements. Through the program, qualifying homeowners can apply for funding from the City and the loan is then repaid via monthly installments on the homeowner's property tax bill. Eligible properties include detached, semi-detached and row houses. HELP is now available to homeowners all across Toronto. To learn more, visit the HELP website.
Keep Track of Your Water Use This Summer
With the warm weather here, the City of Toronto is reminding residents that they can track their water use online with MyWaterToronto. Use MyWaterToronto to better understand your water use and look for ways to save water and money. To log-on and learn more, visit www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto.
29-31 Pleasant Blvd. Development Proposal Public Meeting
A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a seven story office building at 29-31 Pleasant Blvd.
This meeting will take place at 7pm on June 20th at Elliot Hall, Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street (entrance off of Heath Street West).
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Kevin Friedrich at 416-338-5740 or [email protected]. Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
55-65 Broadway & 89-101 Roehampton Avenue Development Proposals Joint Public Meeting
There will be two public meetings held on the same night for two separate development applications. They will both take place on June 28th at the Best Western Hotel, 808 Mount Pleasant Road, in the Eglinton Room on the 2nd floor.
A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct two 45 storey residential buildings at 55-65 Broadway Avenue. This meeting will be from 6:30pm-8:00pm.
A separate rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 36 storey rental apartment building at 89-101 Roehampton Avenue. This meeting will be held from 8:00pm-9:30pm.
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Giulio Cescato at 416-392-0459or [email protected]. Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
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.