I'm very concerned about how, while the mayor understandably calls on the Province for adequate funding for the significant transit and housing shortfalls in Toronto, I believe there have been decisions made at city hall that have not demonstrated thoughtful or competent management of these priorities from either a financial or social and urban planning policy perspective.
Please click here for a video of a portion of my comments about this during last week's city council meeting while we were debating the closure of TCHC homes.
Province Introduces Legislation to End Unlimited Rent Increases in Apartments Built After 1991
The longstanding issues with the province's 1991 rental loophole allowing unlimited increases have recently been exacerbated by landlords taking advantage of Toronto's overheated housing market by doubling rents in some cases. After a long campaign by the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants Associations, ACORN, ACTO, my office and many others, I want to commend the provincial government for introducing the Rental Fairness Act, 2017 to end unlimited rent increases on apartments built after 1991.
The legislation also includes additional changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, including:
- Enabling a standard lease to help both tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities, while reducing the number of disputes
- Protecting tenants from eviction due to abuse of the "landlord's own use" provision
- Ensuring landlords can't pursue former tenants for unauthorized charges
- Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases in buildings where elevator maintenance orders have not been addressed
- Removing above-guideline rent increases for utilities, to protect tenants from carbon costs and encourage landlords to make their buildings more energy efficient.
For more information please see this CBC article.
Over 20 community organizations including Scarborough Transit Action, TTC Riders, and Toronto Environmental Alliance have signed a letter to Premier Wynne and Environment Minister Murray requesting the province to require the City to undertake a comparative evaluation of the 1-stop Scarborough subway extension and the 7-stop LRT. The groups cited my motion to Council last month asking for a similar analysis. Unfortunately, Council voted against my motion asking for factual information. To date, City Council has not been provided with a side-by-side comparison of the two options.
As the organizations state in their letter, Ontario’s Transit Project Assessment Process allows the Premier and Minister to intervene if there is “potential for a negative impact on a matter of provincial importance that relates to the natural environment.” Given that the number of riders projected for the subway continues to fall and the escalating cost has left inadequate funding for the 17-stop Eglinton East LRT, the letter writers assert that:
- The Scarborough subway extension has the potential to exacerbate, rather than reduce, Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions
- That building the seven-stop LRT instead, would reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions arising from transportation.
As a parent of a four year old daughter, I know how difficult it is to find quality daycare space in Toronto. Like many of you, I had to put Molly on a waiting list shortly after she was born to ensure she would even have a spot. That's why I was pleased that Council approved the Childcare Growth Strategy last week.
The program seeks to create 30,000 new licensed spaces in the city. The goal of the program is to ensure daycare spaces for 50% of children 0-4 years old by 2026. The percentage of children in that age range currently served by the city’s daycare system is 31 per cent.
The City initiative is contingent upon the federal and provincial governments contributing 80% of the costs. The province sent a strong signal that they are willing to contribute to this plan with a funding boost in last week's budget.
For more information please see this CP24 article.
Also in last week's budget, the provincial government introduced a number of measures they hope will cool down Toronto's housing market. One of these measures is a 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying residential properties containing one to six units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). Other measures include:
- A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price housing and affordable housing.
- Legislation that would allow Toronto to introduce a vacant homes property tax in an effort to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out
- A review of the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions.
- Education for consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transactions
- A partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
While the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre is located in Ward 16, I know that many members of our community use the facilities for important and well-cherished recreation, classes, and social services. That's why I was so concerned when I was informed about the needed repair work that is threatening to shut down the centre for over a year starting this fall.
After meetings I've had with North District Staff, I am convinced that this rehabilitation work is necessary. However, I am advocating that they adopt a phased approach for the project that will see some of the facilities, and programs, at the Centre open during the entirety of the construction period.
The public meeting will be held at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre at 6:30pm on Wednesday, May 17.
Committee of Adjustment decisions on minor variances (generally related to single-family homes) will no longer be appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board. Instead, Toronto has now established its own Local Appeals Body.
I hope that this is an important first step toward Toronto having greater freedom from the OMB.
For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.
The Auditor General brought a report raising serious concerns about potential bid ringing on City paving contracts to Council last week. I'm very concerned in regard to both these specific allegations and the larger systemic issues that report raises. I am pleased that my colleagues voted unanimously to approve my motion. I believe any contractor taking advantage of the City, and ripping off residents' tax dollars, should never do business with Toronto again. For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.
Toronto has a shameful record when it comes to protecting its architectural heritage.
The wanton demolition of the Bank of Montreal building at 2444 Yonge Street earlier this year and the Stollery's Building at Yonge and Bloor in January 2015, are just two of the most recent examples of the City's inability to stay ahead of development applications. We need to implement a more proactive mechanism to protect better protect Toronto's built heritage before. That's why I moved a motion in 2015 to strengthen our heritage policy framework.
Currently, for a building to have protection, it must be either “listed” or “designated” under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). A very lengthy process is required for a property to become listed, including a full evaluation and completed Staff research report, followed by consideration by both Community Council and City Council. Only following City Council approval does a property become eligible for protection under the OHA, including demolition protections under the Ontario Planning Act. This review process can take up to five months to complete for a single property. For a property to become fully designated, the process can take up to eight months. There is nothing to save a heritage property from the wrecking ball while this process is taking place.
One of the recommendations in my motion asked City Planning staff to report back to Planning and Growth Management Committee on the feasibility of undertaking a city-wide heritage survey, much like the one that was recently completed in Los Angeles (SurveyLA), in an effort to be more inclusive, proactive and expeditious.
We are still waiting on the Chief Planner to take action on this Council direction.
A recent Toronto Star Op-Ed article by Michael McClelland of ERA Architects spurred three separate motions at last week's City Council meeting asking for the very same thing I did over two years ago: a survey of the entire city. I am thankful for the additional impetus and urgency my colleagues' motions have lent to my initial request to push this important step forward swiftly. We've lost too much of our built heritage already.
You can read more about the current challenges facing the City's heritage policy and my efforts to improve them in this article.
Also, for your convenience, I have created an interactive map of all heritage properties located in Ward 22.
On Thursday, June 1 from 4-8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd).
Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.
Manor Road East Parks
Working together as a community, we successfully fought to preserve green space at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site. We also worked amicably with the Manor Road United Church to create public space rather than a townhouse development at their site.
For your information, here are the final illustrative panels of the designs for our two brand new City parks. I am happy to move forward with these plans, as mandated by the community. I'd like to thank all of the residents who helped shape the vision for these parks by attending my public meetings and writing to me with your feedback. Also, thank you to the appropriate City staff and design consultants for bringing the community's ideas to life!
If construction progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, it is anticipated that work on the two parks will be completed by the end of the year.
June Rowlands Park (including Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground)
For your information and review, here are the final illustrative panels of the exciting improvements to Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground at June Rowlands Park. Special thanks to Lesley Stoyan, the Communities in Action Group, Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison for their participation, our design team, Dan Connolly and City Parks staff and everyone who contributed to the community consultation meeting I hosted on April 3 at Greenwood College School.
These concepts represent what the community approved at the public meeting. That being said, I have heard from a number of local parents who would like to see more toddler-friendly equipment in any future playground enhancement plans. I strongly agree and plan to work with residents and City staff to make this happen.
If construction on the current phase of improvements progresses as planned, and without any unforeseen impediments such an inclement weather, work should begin sometime this fall (also to avoid impacting the enjoyment of our park during the summer season!).
Glenn Gould Park
I am delighted to announce that the improvements to Glenn Gould Park are almost complete!
It was a great pleasure to work with local residents to make much-needed enhancements to the park, including new playground equipment, a water bottle filling station and ornamental fencing to better protect children at play from this busy intersection. Patterning for the new playground curbing and surfacing is piano-themed, as a nod to the late internationally-renowned pianist and Ward 22 resident after whom the park is named.
A final inspection by City staff will take place shortly and our new-and-improved park should be ready to enjoy by Victoria Day weekend!
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 sixth year of our community's popular farmers’ market. 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 9 and will operate weekly on Tuesdays between 3 and 7pm.
I look forward to seeing you there!
I am delighted that the South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) has created a Jane's Walk that explores Ward 22's Davisville Village, from its earliest days through the neighbourhood's continuing transformation. The walk takes place at 2pm on Saturday, May 6 and will begin outside the historic J. Davis Post Office and General Store at 1909 Yonge Street (now, Starbucks). For further event details, please click here. I hope to see you there!
For your information, the full list of this year's Jane's Walks across Toronto is available here.
Please join me and my colleagues representing all levels of government at this year's St. Paul's Summit on Sunday, May 7 at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street), 3-5pm. Together with the St. Paul's community we will be talking about key issues affecting our country, province, city, school boards and neighbourhoods.
I am honoured to be joining federal MP, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, provincial MPP, Dr.Eric Hoskins, my local colleagues at City Hall and school trustees in this important conversation with our residents.
Please join me for the Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 6 at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delisle Avenue). The membership desk will open at 6:30pm and the meeting will commence at 7pm.
The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. I will be speaking to attendees about developments in Ward 22 and beyond that have an impact on all of us. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.
The DPRG welcomes members who have an interest in participating in its activities and serving on the Board. Please feel welcome to email [email protected] for more information.
The South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SERRA) is constituted for the purpose of furthering and protecting the common interests of its members relating to real estate, zoning, municipal planning and any other matter touching on or relating to real property within the membership area, bounded by Yonge Street, Bayview Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and Merton Street.
SERRA will be holding its AGM this year at 7pm on Monday, May 8 at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). I hope to see you there!
Please join me on Saturday, June 3rd for the Chaplin Estates Garage Sale! The event will take place in the area bounded by Yonge Street, Chaplin Crescent, and Eglinton Ave W and will run from 8am to 2pm. I hope to see you there!
The officers and staff of 53 Division invite you to their annual open house at 75 Eglinton Avenue West. The event will take place at 11am-3pm on Saturday, May 13. There will be station tours, face painting a BBQ and many more family-friendly activities.
City staff are preparing to launch their 16th year with the Community Stewardship Program that runs from May - September.
The Community Stewardship Program works with volunteers in City of Toronto natural areas to plant native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, remove invasive species (a leading cause of biodiversity loss) and monitor site conditions through citizen science. Volunteers are led by experienced City Staff and can also participate in expert-led workshops on various environmental topics.
The City has goals of increasing tree canopy cover, improving the quality of natural habitats, and engaging the public in our green spaces. This Program gives the public the opportunity to learn about Toronto's ravines and how they're managed with hands-on activities to keep these places healthy.
There is a stewardship site in Ward 22 – Nordheimer Ravine. For more information about the program and how you can get involved please click here.
If you are looking for an informal place to practice English, you are invited to join CECC's free "English Conversation Circle" on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The English Conversation Circle is facilitated by a volunteer, and runs from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
For full program details, please click here.
I am pleased to share information about a month-long public awareness campaign that launched on April 24 to encourage Torontonians to talk about homelessness.
This campaign builds on the City's relationship with the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and adds a new dimension to the Toronto for All campaign.
Phase 1 of this City of Toronto public awareness campaign ran in the summer of 2016 and focused on Islamophobia. In the fall of 2016, Phase 2 helped to encourage dialogue among residents and media in Toronto and internationally with a campaign on anti-Black racism.
This campaign phase is designed to challenge perspectives on homelessness and to spark a conversation that will lead to more people understanding that an inclusive Toronto means including those who are currently experiencing homelessness.
The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) is a growing, community-based organization of more than 100 agencies each committed to ending chronic homelessness. The Alliance and its members are key City partners in the delivery of homelessness services to vulnerable Toronto residents.
The overarching long-term goal of the Toronto for All campaign is to create a Toronto that says "no" to all forms of discrimination. The goal with the current campaign is to challenge existing perspectives on homelessness and to make people confront any lingering sense that it's okay to deny access to their neighbourhoods just because people are experiencing homelessness. Over the next few months, the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness will be holding a series of community conversations about homelessness. Funding for the campaign comes from the provincial government.
Like the other phases of the Toronto for All campaign, this one is based on the free transit shelter space that the City secured as part of its contract with Astral Media. In addition, there is interior-subway and social media advertising. To find more information and learn about ways to participate in the ongoing conversation, click here.
The City of Toronto is reviewing prohibited animal regulations and is inviting members of the public to share their views at two public meetings or through an online survey.
A consultation meeting will be held on Monday, May 1 at Metro Hall, Room 310, 55 John St., from 6:30 to 8:30pm.
Key areas of discussion include the process to add or remove animals from the prohibited animals' list, as well as identifying the extent of use and possibility of regulating prohibited animals in educational programming at birthday parties, parades and other activities.
A staff report with recommendations is expected to go to the City's Licensing and Standards Committee for consideration later this year.
For more information about the review and the online survey click here.
Looking to buy a new home? Use the new Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) and enhanced residential Property Tax calculators to get tax estimates instantly to help plan and budget for your next move. These new calculators are available online and can be used anytime, anywhere. The MLTT calculator provides estimates for first-time home buyers, single family homes and all other properties. The enhanced Property Tax calculator provides a detailed estimate of the property taxes for residential properties and a breakdown of how your tax dollars are working for you. This is part of the City's commitment to modernizing services and improving customer experience.
For more information about Municipal Land Transfer Tax and/or Property Tax, please click here.
Independent Toronto Airspace Review Update
Please see below for an update from the Principal Consultant at Helios:
A change to our programme: as you are all probably aware the GTAA is undertaking maintenance work on runway 05 / 23. I understand that this has caused a substantial change in the usual pattern of runway and airspace usage. With this change in traffic patterns there has been an increase in interest in Helios’s airspace review and the recommendations that we are considering. Due to this increased interest NAV CANADA have asked Helios, and we have agreed, to change our programme to allow all community members to continue to submit comments up to the end of May 2017. Comments can be submitted via the normal email address [email protected]. This change in programme means that Bo and I are unable to honour our commitment to deliver the final presentation by the end of June 2017, for this we apologise. I will be in touch as soon as I have a new date for the final presentation.
Updates to the review’s website: a new document has been added to the studies website that provides an overview of the three studies that Helios is currently delivering for either NAV CANADA or the GTAA.
In addition three additional FAQs have been added:
- Does this review mean recommendations can be implemented without consultation?
- Is Helios involved in other studies related to Toronto Pearson Airport or airspace?
- What is the ICAO Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management?
To learn more, please click here.
Get a free tree for your home and learn how to plant and care for it through Tree For Me. With Tree For Me events happening across Toronto this spring, it couldn't be easier to help grow Toronto's tree cover!
Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation staff would like to invite you to attend a Tree For Me event to experience this first hand! You can pre-register for the events by clicking here.
The South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) has asked that I share the following message with you regarding this inappropriate development proposal:
Have you been following the NoToBrownlow campaign? SERRA has formed a Party to fight this development at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Here are some of the key points:
- The north side of Soudan and part of Redpath Avenue have been purchased by a developer who plans to put up two 24-storey rental towers on a four-story podium that will stretch along the north side of Soudan Avenue from Redpath to Brownlow Avenues – and abutting the townhouses on Redpath.
- The development represents more than 360 rental units, but with insufficient provision of parking and little regard for traffic flow and shadow impact.
- The City has designated part of the site for parkland dedication, which the development has not adequately addressed.
- This development offers no appropriate transition to the low rise houses on the south side of Soudan and the townhomes on Redpath. On the Soudan side there will be a massive four-storey podium – almost a wall — across the street from modest two-storey homes. On Redpath, one of the towers will be directly abutting the townhomes. And on Brownlow one of the towers will directly block the existing rental building at 18 Brownlow, owned by the same developer.
SERRA has had to hire a lawyer and planner to help us fight this development. Working with professionals at the OMB costs money – a lot of money!
We’ve set up a website with more information and encouragement to donate. Go to our website notobrownlow.com and hit the Donate button.
A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 49-Storey residential tower containing 617 residential condominium units. The proposal also includes a publically accessible open space (POPS) on the site.
The City has also received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a new mid-rise, mixed use building on Yonge Street, just south of Belsize Drive. The new building is proposed to be 8 storeys with retail on the ground floor, office on the second floor and contain 30 residential rental units.
Please join me at 6:30pm on Thursday, May 11 in the gymansium at Oriole Park Jr Public School (80 Braemar Avenue), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.
Development Proposals in Ward 22
To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.
My webpage listing all the proposed developments in Ward 22 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.
The OMB is a quasi-judicial, un-elected and un-accountable provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario. The tribunal's powers to overrule decisions made by our elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic and often lead to planning decisions that far too often support the interests of the development industry over those of our communities and our city's official plan. To read more about the OMB and my advocacy to free Toronto from its purview, please click here.
My family and I wish you, and those you love, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous holiday season.
As always, I hope you find my updates helpful and informative- along with some timely information about the winter storm we are experiencing this weekend.
I hope this finds you healthy and well. As always, I hope that you find this e-newsletter helpful and informative.
Due to the upcoming municipal election on October 24th, integrity rules state that I am unable to send out community updates after August 1st. Therefore, you will receive my next update later in the fall if I continue to have the honour to serve you. Over the past four years, we have achieved so much together, in every one of our Toronto-St. Paul's neighbourhoods and the many important initiatives we have brought to City Hall to improve our city.