Please see the important updates I've prepared for you regarding some upcoming meeting meetings on proposed local developments, Forest Hill Road Park improvements, condo dwellers, Davisville Avenue tenants and much more! You'll also see my reports on some exciting Council decisions on the Arts, Homeless Shelters, Proposed Changes to Condo Advertising and A New Field for Maurice Cody PS!
Have a great weekend.
Notice of Meeting Change: 1331 Yonge Street (CHUM site)
To respond to residents’ questions regarding traffic and emergency services access on Jackes Avenue, and their request that time is found to resolve the concerns they’ve raised, I will be moving to adjourn the statutory meeting for this item at Toronto & East York Community Council until the May 14th meeting of the same committee.
I understand that some people may have taken time off work or otherwise rearranged their schedule in order to make a deputation. That's why it is important to note that if you would still like to make a deputation on April 9th, I have arranged that it will be considered by the committee with the same weight as those making deputations on the new date. An individual, according to the rules, may not make a deputation on both dates.
In the interim, I will host a meeting with the community, City staff from Planning, Fire Services and Transportation Services. Once the date, time and location are finalized I will post the information through this e-newsletter and on my website.
Notice of Meeting Change: 87-107 Davisville Avenue and 108-128 Balliol Street
Due to a miscommunication between City staff and the applicants regarding the tree report for this site, I will be adjourning the statutory meeting for this item at Toronto & East York Community Council until the May 14th meeting of the same committee.
I understand that some people may have taken time off work or otherwise rearranged their schedule in order to make a deputation. That's why it is important to note that if you would still like to make a deputation on April 9th I have arranged that it will be considered by the committee with the same weight as those making deputations on the new date. Like I wrote in the previous post, an individual may not make a deputation on both dates according to City rules.
A New Field at Maurice Cody
It is my great pleasure to announce, on behalf of our community, I moved a motion at Toronto City Council that was successfully approved yesterday dedicating $300,000 towards Maurice Cody PS' Dirt-to-Turf project.
These funds, which I identified from developer fees (Section 37) will now bring our field revitalization project very close to completion. On behalf of our community, I want express my deepest appreciation to Maurice Cody's Family & School Association, the Dirt-to-Turf Committee, every parent who has contributed to the ongoing fundraising efforts, and local businesses, such as Cobs Bread and Tremblett's Valu-Mart, that donated so much to our initiative.
A special thank you to Trustee Shelley Laskin, Principal Andrew Howard and TDSB Staff. The TDSB will be responsible for planning, building and maintaining this community asset and I look forward to working with them to see this project through to fruition as quickly as possible.
In the coming days, we'll start work on a community-use agreement to ensure access to the new field for our neighbourhood's families. I look forward to attending the next Family & School Association meeting on April 9th to discuss this contribution and answer any questions you may have.
I have also dedicated developer fees toward Eglinton, Hodgson, Northern and North Toronto. I am also working with parents from Davisville on a new project.
Please always feel welcome to contact me if there is a capital project at your Ward 22 school that could benefit the school and local residential community. I’ll do whatever I can to be of support.
Honest Advertising for Condo Developments
At the beginning of the application review process for a new condo, local residents are generally confronted with on-site, billboard, print and other advertising depicting a building that will be "coming soon" with no mention of a municipal approval process, opportunity for citizen input or that the rendering can be altered. This misleading advertising suppresses local engagement by giving the impression that the application is a "done deal".
To help address this problem I moved a motion at City Council, entitled A Picture Tells Too Many Stories: Honest Advertising for Proposed Developments, which requests that the province require developers to state that applications are subject to the approval of the City of Toronto in their advertising.
Increased Support for the Arts Approved at Council
For years various Toronto City Councils have periodically affirmed and re-affirmed our commitment to increase the per capita arts and culture funding to $25, with unfortunately little action to date. As a result, the City of Toronto has now fallen drastically behind other major North American cities in its funding for the arts, with an investment of only $18 per resident. Our major and direct competitors, including Chicago ($26), Montreal ($32), New York ($74) and San Francisco ($87) all invest significantly more in their cultural activities.
That's why Councillor Wong-Tam and I moved a motion to increase funding to the arts with new revenue from a fee on commercial billboards. I am very pleased to announce that the increased funding proposed in that motion was approved at City Council yesterday. I am excited to see the positive effects this support will have on our arts & culture communities.
Update on Emergency Shelter Services
No one should have to spend a night on the street. I know that while the official reports may say there are open beds. However, that does not reflect the realities of individual need based on gender, physical ability, addiction, and mental health issues. Geography is also an issue, as a bed in north Scarborough is of little use to a person downtown. In particular, our shelter system appears to be failing women who are victims of domestic abuse.
I am pleased that Council supported the emergency measures, including the immediate addition of 172 new beds, put forward to address this serious problem at City Council yesterday.
Reducing the Cost of Paid Off-Duty Police Officers
As a member of the Council's Audit Committee, I set a process in motion to reduce the number of paid-duty police officers the City needs to hire at construction and work sites.
I, along with many residents, find it frustrating to see police officers standing by works sites while other budgets to important City services are being cut.
At Council yesterday, the City adopted a motion that could see Toronto follow Vancouver's lead by ensuring that lower paid enforcement officials are monitoring construction sites. If permitted, this initiative will save our city millions of dollars while ensuring that the police are focused on serving and protecting us, as they do well.
In 2011, these paid-duty officers cost the city almost $3 million. By applying a little common sense to where these officers are actually useful, I was able to have the guidelines changed. This initiative will save the city $1.8 million every year, about 60% of the former expense.
Cultural Services Public Consultations
In May 2011, City Council unanimously endorsed the Creative Capital Gains Report. That report provides the framework for the City's arts and cultural investment. Cultural Services is working together with the Toronto Arts Council to seek input on setting the principles and priorities for new spending, targeted results, and methods of assessment. Please see below for more information on public consultation dates:
St. Lawrence Hall
157 King Street East
Saturday, April 6th
1 to 4 pm
Lakeshore Assembly Hall
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive
Monday, April 8th
6 to 9 pm
Cedarbrae Library Auditorium
545 Markham Road
Tuesday, April 9th
6:30 to 9:30 pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge Street
Thursday, April 18th
6 to 9 pm
A survey is available for your feedback at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/city-of-toronto-cultural-services-creative-capital-investment/.
Irish Tea Fundraiser
St. Vincent de Paul will be hosting an Irish Tea fundraiser this Sunday, April 7th 2013. St. Vincent De Paul is a non-profit organization that provides valuable charity work in the community with single-parent families, children and vulnerable adults. The event will commence at 2:30 pm with harpist Eithne Heffernan, followed by a music recital with entertainer Hugo Straney. At 3:30 pm there will be an afternoon tea, Irish dancers, a raffle and live auction, and a bake sale.
Date: Sunday, April 7th from 2:30 pm to 5 pm
Location: Holy Rosary Church, 354 St. Clair Avenue West
Admission: $20 ($15 for seniors)
Culinarium, a Ward 22 gourmet food store, is presenting hands-on, engaging workshops all about eco-friendly gardening and vegetable growing techniques:
Wednesday, April 10th at 7:30 pm: Container Gardening 101
Tuesday, May 7th at 7:30 pm: Worms of Endearment: All About Indoor and Outdoor Vermicomposting
Forest Hill Art Show
The Forest Hill Art Club invites you to its annual show and sale of members' work from April 19th to 21st. The art show will feature artists' work in a variety of media.
Date: Friday, April 19th from 6 to 8 pm; Saturday, April 20th from 1 to 5 pm; Sunday, April 21st from 1 tp 5 pm
Location: Forest Hill Art Club, 666 Eglinton Avenue West
For more information, please call Marion Wilson at 416-654-5069.
Forest Hill Road Park Public Meeting
I would like to invite you and your neighbours to provide feedback and suggestions regarding potential improvements to the Forest Hill Road Park. This is a great opportunity to work together and enhance our local park. City staff will be in attendance to discuss potential options and answer any questions you may have.
Date: Thursday, April 11th at 6:30 pm
Location: Forest Hill Road Public School's Library, 78 Dunloe Rd.
Davisville Tenants Public Meeting
Do you have concerns about your rental unit or building, or feedback to share about issues affecting Toronto? Have your voice heard! On April 18th I will be holding a meeting for tenants on Davisville Avenue at the Mount Pleasant Library, 599 Mount Pleasant Road, from 6:30 to 8 pm. I hope to see you there!
Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards
Do you know someone or a community group who is making a difference in Toronto by reducing barriers to civic participation? Celebrate their accomplishments – nominate them for an award!
The Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards recognize significant efforts of Toronto residents who are working to build a city in which all residents are full and equal participants in the social, cultural, economic, recreational and political life of the city. Each year, the City celebrates the contributions made by nominated citizens or groups at an awards ceremony.
Deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, May 6, 2013.
Nominees must be residents of the City of Toronto. To nominate and for more information, please visit www.toronto.ca/civicawards.
LEAF Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program
LEAF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. Since 1996 LEAF has actively engaged residents in urban forest stewardship through planting, education and training. On May 22nd to 29th LEAF will be offering arboriculture instruction to members of the public at the Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Boulevard). For more information on the four training dates and times, please visit http://www.yourleaf.org/tree-tenders-volunteer-training. All are welcome.
Shop Small Show your Community Spirit!
To celebrate the launch of Shop Small, American Express has launched a campaign on Facebook to profile over 4,000 Toronto merchants who are part of the Shop Small Network. Torontonians are asked to show their love for their favourite Shop Small business by voting for them on an interactive map on the American Express Canada Facebook page. The business that receives the most votes will be named Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gem, will be featured in an American Express Toronto Life Advertorial, and also receive a consultation with Facebook Canada to better understand how to utilize social channels to drive their business. Let's vote for our favourite Ward 22 small businesses and showcase our Shop Small pride.
The City of Toronto is consulting with Toronto's condominium occupants and the first round of the Condo Consultation is in its final stages.
The purpose of this consultation is to engage with condo residents, condo boards, businesses located in condo buildings, property managers, City staff and others to identify possible changes to City policies as they relate to condo living in Toronto. Some examples of existing issues that the City has been made aware of to date include access to parks and dog parks, recreational and community amenities, parking and visitor parking and childcare options in the neighbourhood.
The health of Toronto's condo communities is critical to the future health of our city as a whole. With the number of new condos quickly changing the face of Toronto, there's a lively and high profile discussion underway regarding what impact these condos will have/are having on the people living in the condos as well as on the broader city.
Summary reports from the first round of public meetings are now posted on the project webpage at http://www.toronto.ca/planning/condo_consultation.htm. A final comprehensive report will be written and posted this month, including feedback from these meetings, written feedback and survey feedback. The round one survey is now online, and will be available until April 12th.
Opportunity for a 100km2 Rouge National Park
A third of Canada's population resides in Southern Ontario and has the opportunity to create a large national park by combining Rouge Park and the Greenbelt. The federal government's admirable effort to build Rouge National Park in May 2012 was unsuccessful. In response, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and the City of Toronto suggested four recommendations for the federal government to improve the Rouge National Park plan:
1) Respect and strengthen the environmental vision and policies of approved Rouge Park and Provincial Greenbelt Plans.
2) Respect conservation science, long term park health, and visitor potential by including the 100+ km2 public land assembly within the park study area.
3) Ensure the restoration of a large mixed-wood and Carolinian forest habitat system linking Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine with public parkland and trails.
4) Follow a scientific and transparent public planning process, involving First Nations, local citizens and groups, to create the Park's boundaries, legislation and strategic plan.