I hope that you've been enjoying your summer and are taking good care of yourself in this hot weather. Please also consider checking in on neighbours who are seniors and those with mobility challenges. Please note that during extreme heat alerts, civic centres are open to provide an air conditioned environment while public pools and splash pads will be operating under extended hours. Please call 311 for more information.
I would like to provide you with an update on a very successful week at Council and on several priorities. Council strongly supported my motions to move Toronto closer to a successful rapid transit expansion plan, support tenants during periods of extreme heat and increase the number of solar projects in our City. In Community news, I would like to share information regarding park improvements, Republic of Rathnelly street signs, tree protection, seniors' strategy consultation and more.
Toronto City Councillor
Moving Forward on a Regional Transit Strategy Approved at Council
Council was united this week in declaring that a regional approach is the best chance we have to build and fund the transit that Torontonians need and deserve. My motion, Moving Forward: Improving Public Transit and Relieving Traffic Congestion through a Regional Funding Strategy, was passed unanimously by my colleagues.
To fund public transportation and relieve traffic congestion for Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), it is imperative to move forward with a regional funding strategy. Implementing a sales tax, tolls or other tools across the GGH would create new, and dependable, revenue streams paid into by everyone in our region rather than have Toronto cover capital expenses through our property tax base.
We need these tools to move forward with a Downtown Relief Line to ease overcrowding on the Yonge Line, to finally build a rapid transit link to Pearson airport and to connect our city and region.
This fall, Metrolinx will begin a public discussion on transit funding while Toronto Council will discuss local funding and route requests. My hope is that these two initiatives find a common path to see a connective and fully funded plan through to fruition.
The "OneCity" transit proposal announced by Councillor Stintz and Councillor De Baeremaeker was not put forward by the proponents for Council's consideration.
Establishing Appropriate Room Temperatures for Tenants
This past May was unseasonably hot. I heard from many of you in apartments that your units were uncomfortable and that sleeping, in particular, was difficult. Toronto's tenants have the right to a comfortable and healthy home. That's why I put forward a motion that seeks to establish appropriate room temperatures for renters.
Currently, the Municipal Code requires that landlords turn on the heat in rental housing units from September 15th through to June 1st. This is to ensure that the room temperature be maintained to at least 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). However, this enforcement by date rather than by temperature ensures that during hot days before June 1st, a tenant's unit may be not only uncomfortable but could present a public health issue to the elderly and/or tenants with certain medical conditions.
The Motion looks to change the Municipal Code to reflect the reality that before June 2nd, it may not be necessary to keep the heat on due to warm or hot spring temperatures. Further, it may be necessary to set an acceptable maximum temperature at which rooms can be heated.
My intent is not to necessarily make air conditioners mandatory. There are many environmentally-friendly ways to cool an apartment including improved ventilation, green roofs, deep lake cooling and shading. This issue will be studied by City Staff and a report will come to committee for public input. To read the National Post article on this subject, click here.
New Solar Energy Projects Coming to Toronto
Solar energy has the potential to benefit Toronto's environment and economy. As your School Trustee I worked to have solar panels installed on school roofs and am proud to be helping expand green power across the city.
My motion, supported by Council, endorses potential solar projects for consideration by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The OPA has new rules establishing a points system to determine the priority for offering of contracts for rooftop solar projects. Points will be awarded to applications that are supported by the municipality in which the project is located. Projects with more points will be more likely to receive contracts from the OPA.
In particular, I worked with Bright Roof, a Ward 22 firm with projects in our community and across the city. The projects that BrightRoof and others are developing will deliver significant benefits to the City of Toronto, including:
Solar systems will provide 20 years of clean energy. On average, the systems produce 400kW of power. A 400kW rooftop system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 104 metric tons per year. These solar systems produce clean energy locally, reducing the need for new transmission lines and/or large power generation facilities within the City of Toronto. Each project represents a significant capital investment into the property and the community. For instance, BrightRoof is investing approximately $1.5 million into each rooftop solar project that it is building in Toronto, creating jobs for local tradespeople The landlord of the property on which the rooftop solar project is built will receive rent for 20 years. The income stream derived from the rooftop solar project (both rental income and investment returns) will increase the value of the property.
The Republic of Rathnelly to get "national" street signs
Ward 22's Rathnelly is a picturesque enclave of homes, situated at the bottom of the Avenue Road Hill. It is home to a large number of artists, academics, writers, and media.
The Rathnelly neighbourhood made headlines in 1967, while celebrating Canada's 100thbirthday. During the celebrations Rathnelly residents playfully declared themselves as anindependent republic of Canada. To mark their independence, the "Republic of Rathnelly" elected a queen, organized a parade, formed an "air farce" of 1,000 helium balloons, and issued Republic of Rathnelly passports to everyone in the neighbourhood.
The Republic of Rathnelly celebrations continue to this day with a bi-annual street party. To recognize this distinctive neighbourhood, I've allocated funds with Council support toward "Republic of Rathnelly" street signs designed by the community.
To read more about this, click here.
To see the street sign design, click here.
Dogs now allowed in Mount Pleasant Cemetery
As of July 1st, dog owners are now allowed to walk their dogs on paths and roads in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Please note that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
Oriole Park North Pathway Replacement
The north-east pathway at Oriole Park has been replaced and new lights will be installed in the fall of 2012.
Seniors Strategy Consultation Workbook
The Seniors Strategy Consultation Workbook can now be completed and submitted online at:
To learn more about Toronto's Seniors Strategy, please click here.
Get your green on at the Live Green Toronto Festival!
What do you get when you mix hundreds of green products and services with live music and great local foods - and invite everyone in Toronto? The Live Green Toronto Festival!
The 7th annual celebration of all things green - the Live Green Toronto Festival - will take place on Saturday, July 21 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) at Yonge-Dundas Square. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.
Toronto's largest outdoor green festival brings hundreds of green products and services, live music, local foods, and more to the streets of Toronto every year! Stroll through the exhibits, sample locally grown foods, check out the TD Kids' Zone, and catch some of Canada's hottest musical acts on the 104.5 CHUM FM Main Stage.
Enjoy a dazzling musical line-up including performances by Faber Drive, Fefe Dobson, Platinum Blonde, and many more.
Help defend our urban forest against the emerald ash borer!
Protect our ash trees against infestation by becoming an Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Ambassador. Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) is providing a free training session which will give you the tools you need to educate your neighbours and community about EAB and the options for treatment, removal, and planting.
The session will be held at Scarborough Civic Centre on Saturday, July 28th, 10:00am – 2:00pm, in Committee Room 1.
To register for this event, visit www.yourleaf.org.