You're Invited to a Community Skating Party at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park!
After working closely with parents in our community, I'm delighted to announce that the "SkinnamaRink" natural ice rink (near our newly named Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground) at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park is now open for fun! This season, Hodgson Rink is temporarily closed for necessary repairs. While I was very upset about the timing of this work, members of the community and I felt that it was important there still be a local rink for our kids to skate in the interim. I deeply appreciate our remarkable local parents/residents who worked incredibly hard to make this happen including Chris Trussell, Jon De La Mothe (our human Zambonis) and many others!
To celebrate the opening of our new rink, AppleTree Markets has organized a Community Skating Party on Sunday, February 23. The party will be from 10 am to 12 pm, and will feature hot chocolate, music, a food truck and an ice show. I hope to see you there!
At Council last week I asked my colleagues to eliminate the 2014 tax and debt increases to fund a 3-stop subway extension in Scarborough, which would provide far less service, for much more money, to far fewer residents than the original LRT plan. I believe it would have been the honest, prudent and fiscally responsible choice to work with staff over the next year to receive a full and accurate accounting of the sunk costs associated with the LRT cancellation and all the costs required for the subway extension. The purpose of the motion was to provide Council the opportunity to revisit the issue during the 2015 budget process with a clear understanding of the long term impacts this transit decision will have on Torontonians.
Unfortunately, the Council Speaker ruled my motion out of order citing questionable legal issues as justification for her ruling despite my office having been told by the City Clerk that my motion was in order.
I will continue to advocate for the evidence-based transit option for Scarborough, along with championing a Relief Subway Line for every Toronto resident that will provide more residents with better service for less money and will not require 30 years of property taxes and debt. Recent polling is demonstrating that, when given the facts, Toronto residents know that a 7-stop, traffic-separated LRT (no car lanes removed or stops at traffic signals) for $1.8 billion and fully funded by the Province is a better, more honest and fiscally responsible choice than a 3-stop subway for $3.5 billion that isn't supported by transit or planning experts. I believe we must move forward now with transit that makes sense and is based on evidence rather than politics.
In my next update to you, I'll have an update on the progress being made on the Eglinton Crosstown and a notice for a Metrolinx public meeting for Ward 22 residents.
My office has heard from too many renters who have been treated unfairly by their landlords. In most instances, these tenants were taken advantage of because they were unaware of their rights.
The City's Outreach and Organizing Program helps tenant groups to organize and prepare for hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board for rent increase disputes, or at the Ontario Municipal Board for demolitions and condo conversion matters.
Unfortunately this program was cut a few years ago leaving many tenants without effective representation. I successfully moved a motion to renew this program to help ensure that renters are protected against unfair rent increases. You can read my full motion here and learn about my concerns with current rules on Above the Guideline Rent Increases here.
Establishing a Local Appeals Body
The Province of Ontario granted the City of Toronto the power to establish a Local Appeal Body (LAB) to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions (for minor variances). This does not include larger developments - please see information here about freeing Toronto from the OMB.
The City Planning division is launching "Made-for-Toronto Local Appeal Body" public consultations around the city with the express purpose of initiating and facilitating public dialogue around this matter. City Planning will make recommendations on establishing a Local Appeal Body in April.
- Monday, March 17, 2014 at Metro Hall, Rooms 308 & 309, 6:45 pm to 9 pm. Staff presentations commence at 7 p.m.
Notices are being sent out to ratepayer groups (and other interested organizations and parties) around the city.
For more information please visit the City's Planning website.
Update on Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence
I am pleased to announce that, after nearly a year since I first moved a motion at Council to address the roots of youth violence in our City, the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy was approved by the Community Development and Recreation Committee on January 21. This comprehensive report contains 110 recommended actions to support our most vulnerable youth. Please see this article in the Toronto Star for more information. You can download and read the Strategy here. At its meeting on February 19, City Council will consider final approval of the Strategy.
It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.
Last week, City Council approved my motion to provide funding in the 2014 Budget for staff-recommended initiatives to provide mental health, employment training and crime diversion supports in targeted areas across Toronto. This is the first step toward implementing the Youth Equity Strategy and truly addressing the roots of youth violence in Toronto.
Jane's Walk: Re-Imagining the Silent City
On Thursday, February 6 at 2 pm, meet at the 1643 Yonge St. gates of Mount Pleasant Cemetery for a Jane's Walk entitled Re-Imagining the Silent City, led by York University urban planning student Nicole Hanson. The walk will focus on re-imagining and reconceptualising urban planning practices for deathscapes in diverse cities.
This is an accessible event. Parking is available at the Mount Pleasant Visitation Centre, and the walk will begin at 2 pm from the Yonge St. gates. Nicole will be holding a sign with her name on it. You may find the online event listing here.
Public Meeting #3 on the Gardiner Expressway East Environment Assessment and Integrated Urban Design Study
The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto are hosting a meeting on Thursday, February 6 where you can make your voice heard about the results of the evaluation of alternative solutions for the future of the Gardiner Expressway East. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street) in The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon. Those who cannot attend the meeting in person may participate and watch the meeting online via the project website.
Family Day at Spadina Museum
This Family Day, experience the world of the 1920s and 1930s at Spadina Museum on Monday, February 17. This era will be presented to children through music, toys, games and dance. Hands-on tours are scheduled for 12:15 pm, 1 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm. Regular admission applies.
SPRINT Senior Care Doubles Number of FREE Exercise Classes
SPRINT Senior Care is an accredited not-for-profit, community support service agency, that has recently doubled its number of free exercise classes for seniors. Their classes are great for keeping fit and having fun. They also include chair-based exercises, low-impact cardio, bands and balance, and chair yoga. For information consult SPRINT Senior Care’s monthly community programs calendar or call SPRINT Senior Care at 416-481-6411.
Downton Abbey comes to Spadina Museum
Beginning March 11 and running through April 13, Spadina Museum will host the Canadian premier of Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey. Guests will be able to see 20 costumes worn by the characters on the show, as well as take part in themed tours and related talks. Tickets are available on the Spadina Museum website.
Free Income Tax Clinic at Yonge & Eglinton
From March 1 to April 25 the Central Eglinton Community Centre (CECC) is offering free income tax clinics by appointment at their Yonge and Eglinton office (160 Eglinton Avenue East). Certain income guidelines and restrictions apply. For more information, please phone Nancy at 416-392-0511 ext. 225 or email [email protected].
For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.