As Chair, I will work with my colleagues to ensure that this committee provides a place for tenants to voice their concerns, and serves as a catalyst for bringing together disparate City Divisions, including Licensing & Standards, City Planning and Solid Waste, to work together to support Toronto’s tenants and advocate for needed reforms.
Stronger Urban Design Guidelines will Help Maintain Character of Forest Hill Village
In February 2014, I successfully moved a motion requesting City Planning Staff to study Forest Hill Village located along Spadina Road and prepare Urban Design Guidelines to protect the small town feeling of this distinctive area.
The mandate for the Forest Hill Village Urban Design Guidelines is to maintain the small town character of the area by identifying the appropriate urban character, materials and building rhythm and articulation for future developments and/or renovations within the study area. This includes a Staff recommendation for a maximum of four storeys for the Village.
These new guidelines will help strengthen City Planning’s position when assessing future development applications for the Village. To learn more about the new guidelines, please see this City report that was approved today by Toronto & East York Community Council.
Special Public Meeting Notice: Keeping our Neighbourhood Streets Safe
As our city councillor, a resident and a parent, I believe traffic safety in our neighborhoods is a deeply important priority.
Last year, I moved a motion to reduce and standardize speed limits on local neighborhood roads in response to evidence provided by local experts and best practices from other jurisdictions. The Chief Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto recommended reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h on most local residential streets. His report noted that pedestrians have an over 20% chance of dying when hit by a car travelling at 40 km/h but fatality rates decrease to less than 5% when hit by a car that travels at 30 km/h.
Facts such as these have prompted cities such as New York, Portland, and London, England to implement 30 km/h limits in neighbourhoods. After 30 km/h zones were introduced in London, these zones experienced a 42% reduction in fatalities.
I strongly agree with Steve Buckley, the City’s General Manager of Transportation Services, that police enforcement must be improved to successfully support this proposed change. That’s why I moved a motion at Council, which was supported by my colleagues, requesting the Toronto Police Service to crack down on speeders in residential areas.
However, Mr. Buckley's department’s street-by-street process for designating 30 km/h roads creates an onerous, ad-hoc mechanism that would take years to implement. Further, this piecemeal approach would create confusion, requiring drivers to check how fast they are allowed to go every time they turn onto a new street. The City needs to set a standard and predictable speed limit to tell drivers that they must slow down when they enter residential neighborhoods. The expectations the City sets then must be backed up by adequate police enforcement in order to be successful.
Moreover, I hear from residents almost every week about specific traffic safety concerns regarding their street and I regularly visit them, accompanied by transportation staff, to focus on their specific concerns and try to find solutions.
The motion I moved at Council was to ensure that there would be thoughtful and holistic consideration about any next steps taken to improve traffic safety in our neighborhoods. Therefore, my colleagues and I requested staff to provide us with a report and that there be a special evening meeting of Toronto & East York Community Council on June 22, from 6-8pm, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
Please feel very welcome to attend.
85-95 Broadway Avenue & 198 Redpath Avenue Public Meeting
This application proposes a 34-storey residential building, comprised of a 3-storey base and 31-storey tower, at 85-91 Broadway Avenue and 198 Redpath Avenue. 322 residential units are proposed with 97 car parking spaces. You can view a copy of the Preliminary Report providing background information by clicking here.
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Giulio Cescato, at 416-392-0459 or[email protected]. 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.
The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 23 at 7 pm at the Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Boulevard), Gwen Liu Meeting Room (located on second floor of Library, accessed by elevator or main stair).
1417, 1421-1425, 1427 & 1429 Yonge St. Public Meeting
A planning application has been submitted for a 42-storey mixed-use building at 1417, 1421-1425, 1427 & 1429 Yonge St. The proposal includes 420 residential units and commercial space on the 1st and 2nd floors along with 4 levels of underground parking containing 136 parking spaces. You can view a copy of the Preliminary Report providing background information by clicking here.
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Emily Rossini, at 416-397-4648 or[email protected]. You may mail your comments to Emily at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.
The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 24 at 7 pm at Christ Church Deer Park, Elliot Hall, 1570 Yonge Street.
Evening and Weekend Bus Service Returning on Midtown Routes
I am excited to report that Mayor Tory and TTC Chair Colle announced recently that they support restoring evening and weekend service to midtown bus routes that were cut four years ago by then Mayor Ford and Chair Stintz. The following local routes had evening and weekend service reduced on May 8, 2011:
5 AVENUE RD 14 GLENCAIRN 33 FOREST HILL 74 MT PLEASANT
My office received more emails and phone calls against these cuts, particularly on the Mt. Pleasant 74 which serves four large seniors’ homes, than almost any other local issue during the last term of Council. I have worked with many in our community against these cuts since they were first proposed in early 2011, even riding routes myself and having my policy advisor conduct detailed ridership counts to dispute the previous administration’s inaccurate numbers.
I am so pleased to have a new Mayor and TTC Chair who understand that these local bus routes are the only transportation option for many seniors, students and workers. Many residents in our community, and across the city, will once again be able to rely on public transit to go grocery shopping, travel home from work, visit family and friends or attend religious services on the weekend. Also, the return of evening service on these routes will help address safety concerns among those who cannot afford a taxi and have been left with long walks to their home after dark for the last four years.
The TTC Commission determined that all four local routes will now operate until 1am. For more information please read the TTC’s report on this issue.
A Community Hub at Davisville PS
As many of you are aware, Davisville Public School is a great school but is in need of replacement due to small classrooms, regularly failing boilers, an inaccessible second floor gym, inadequate lunchroom facilities, along with other issues. The question is, and has been for a long time, how is the cash-strapped TDSB going to pay for a new building?
The provincial Ministry of Education is requiring the TDSB to generate the funding needed to pay for the new facility through a land sale on the current site. The TDSB is already in the initial stages of a process that would see the sale of almost an acre of the land put up for sale.
However, I have been working with Davisville parents and local residents on a plan to transform this site into a Community Hub. It is in the best interest of the School Board, as well as the Province and the City, if this public land is used for (along with a new, modern school) recreation, child care and other community uses instead of just another condo. Unlike North Toronto Collegiate Institute near Yonge and Eglinton, where condos can be allowed under the City's official plan (or even the south side of Davisville Ave), only low rise buildings are permitted where Davisville PS sits on the north side of Davisville Ave.
There are many challenges in the way of keeping this site public including the Province’s requirement for the TDSB to sell their land at market rate, the high capital cost associated with constructing community facilities, and a relatively short time line considering the need to construct a new school. However, I am committed to working with local parents to explore every potential option for keep this public land serving the public interest.
A group of dedicated local parents have formed a Davisville Hub advocacy group. Many of them have been involved in this issue for over five years. You can learn more about the need for a Davisville Hub and how you can get involved by visiting their website.
Ranked Ballots Closer to Being Used in Toronto Elections
The provincial government recently announced it will provide the City of Toronto with the option of using ballots that allow voters to use ranked ballots, starting in 2018.
Ranked ballots allow a voter to rank candidates in order of preference --first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. -- instead of just voting for one candidate. The Province has provided an example of a ranked ballot election here.
Under the new system, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote after all the first place votes are counted, the 2nd place votes are considered, and so on until an individual on the ballot receives a majority of votes. If adopted by Council, this change could give voters more influence on who wins an election, which it is hoped will help increase voter turnout.
The provincial government has stated that the benefits of ranked ballots may also include:
Reduction in strategic voting, which may occur when a voter decides not to pick their first choice candidate in an election because they think their first choice candidate may not win the election. Reduction in negative campaigning — since voters can rank multiple candidates, is an incentive for candidates to appeal to voters not just as a first preference vote but also to gain a high ranking from supporters of other candidates encouraging more candidates to remain in the race until voting day, since the threat of “splitting the vote” between like-minded candidates is reduced.
The province’s announcement in favour of ranked ballots is in response to a request for changes to the Municipal Elections Act made by the City of Toronto in 2013. I also want to recognize the efforts of local activist and personal friend, Dave Meslin. Mr. Meslin has been a tireless advocate for citizen engagement and has spent many years pushing for this voting reform. You can read more about ranked ballots through his website.
Noise bylaw public consultations - June 23 & 24
The Municipal Licensing and Standards division is undertaking a review of the City's noise bylaw. The goal of the review is to ensure that the bylaw is up-to-date and easy for residents, property owners, and businesses to understand. Public consultation meetings will be held to present findings from a noise survey conducted earlier this spring and to gather additional input from stakeholders and the public.
The dates are as follows:
Tuesday, June 23 from 6 to 8 pm at City Hall, 100 Queen St. West, Committee Room 2
Wednesday, June 24 from 6 to 9 pm at North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., Committee Room 3
You are invited to provide feedback about this important review!
New items accepted to the Blue Bin program
New types of soft plastic material can now be accepted into the Blue Bin program. Please now add plastic film (bags for dry cleaning, soil, sandwiches and other food items) as well as overwrap from toilet paper and paper towels to your bin. For more information on solid waste, please visit toronto.ca/recycle.
City of Toronto Waste Strategy Update
The City of Toronto is developing a 30 to 50 year Waste Strategy to find new ways to look after our waste. Solid Waste Management is looking for solutions that are socially acceptable, environmentally sustainable, and cost-effective. All options for new and emerging waste diversion and disposal methods will be considered, including what to do with garbage left over after diverting as much as we can. The Waste Strategy will recommend policies and programs to improve how we reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. Options being considered for Toronto's Waste Strategy cover all aspects of waste management. Learn about what is being considered and provide your feedback by visiting toronto.ca/wastestrategy. Your feedback is important to creating a successful Waste Strategy for Toronto!
Proposed Developments in Ward 22
To ensure that you are informed and engaged about development proposals that are being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpagewith locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. 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.