Despite the real and pressing challenges our city faces, we live in one of the world's most vibrant and diverse cities. Toronto is a global centre for finance, arts and culture and is one the best places on earth to live, work and play.
I am proud of our city and will fight to defend it and make it even better. I've found that, over the past few days, it has been more important that ever to do this given the fact that our mayor has allegedly smoked crack cocaine with drug dealers and uttered racial and homophobic slurs. Although I still can't believe I just wrote that, this story (which is the most disturbing in a long list of controversies surrounding Mr. Ford), has gained international notoriety.
As a city, we will get through this. Mayor Ford could help by finally, and honestly, addressing these allegations. And everyone makes mistakes in life- but I believe we are ultimately judged by how we address them and learn from them. That's what adults do. Thus far, Mayor Ford has blamed the Toronto Star.
Meanwhile, please see my latest update to you on city and local issues below including some upcoming public meetings.
Last week, City Council debated which new revenue tools we would recommend to Metrolinx to consider in order to fund the Big Move plan. Along with the City Manager's report, I moved the following motions which I believe reflect the sentiment of our community and sound transit planning. It was not supported by the majority of councillors who I believe chose to play politics with transit rather than demonstrate the leadership our city and region so desperately needs now on this pressing priority.
1a - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Josh Matlow (Lost)
1. City Council recognize that it is vital that new needs-based and evidence-based transit infrastructure be built, and without delay, in order to meet the needs of a growing population in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
2. City Council request the Provincial government and Metrolinx to determine the priority and scope of Toronto's next rapid transit project, funded in whole or in part with any new transit-dedicated revenue tool(s), based on ridership projections, land-use patterns, most urgent need, density, future development potential and other methods of assessment consistent with recognized urban planning principles.
3. City Council reaffirm its commitment to its Transit Master Agreement with the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx and that no new dedicated transit funding be diverted from priority transit projects as part of The Big Move.
Edward Keenan, urban affairs columnist for the Grid, provided a comprehensive and colourful account of the debate shortly afterwards.
Fortunately, City Council did manage to, in principle, support revenue tools to fund transit. The provincial government has signalled that they are prepared to lead the GTHA discussion towards how we are going to pay to relieve the gridlock which threatens to cripple our region.
I will continue advocating for a responsible funding plan to build a Downtown Relief Subway Line to ease the already overcrowded Yonge line and an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown out to Pearson Airport. I strongly support moving forward with the Big Move plan. We can't afford not to.
Thank you to so many of you for writing to me about this issue.
Over the past few months, I read your thoughtful letters and took the time to review and study research documents from both Canada and abroad on the economic and social impacts of casinos and problem-gambling.
The majority of you told me that while you recognized the need to find sources of revenue to pay for our city's priorities, you do not believe that the long-term impact on Toronto, its neighbourhoods, its economy and its people are worth the gamble. I agree.
That's why I'm happy to report that Council overwhelmingly rejected a proposal for a new casino in Toronto by a vote of 40-4. Please see this link for the staff report and the final votes on this issue
Toronto begins moving forward to fight gridlock with coordinating traffic signals!
Please click here to read more about my past efforts to fight gridlock and most recently moving forward with coordinating our city's traffic signals. What I asked for here. And what city staff are doing now.
My Newsletter is now in Your Mailbox!
In the past few weeks you should have received my 2013 newsletter in the mail. If yours hasn't arrived yet or you would like a copy to share, here is a digital version (PDF) to view or download.
Mount Pleasant Kids Fun Day
This Saturday, May 25, the Mount Pleasant Village BIA is hosting the first ever Kids Fun Day for our community. Between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm the sidewalks of Mount Pleasant Road will be bustling with entertainment, activities, games, food, and fun for the whole family. Special activities for kids will include yoga, live music, face painting, gardening, and puppet shows. Visit the Mount Pleasant Village BIA website for more details.
Proposed Improvement to Suydam Park
On Monday, May 27, the City of Toronto is hosting a presentation on proposed streetscape improvements at Spadina Road and Suydam Park. The meeting will be held at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, between 7 pm and 9 pm. City of Toronto staff and landscape consultants will be present to answer your questions and listen to your feedback.
For more information, please contact Raj Kumar at 416 392 7696.
TTC Town Hall with CEO Andy Byford
Keeping you informed and engaged is a priority for me. I'd like to invite you to a Transit Town Hall I will be hosting at 6:30 PM on Tuesday May 28th at the Salvation Army, 7 Eglinton Avenue East.
I am pleased to announce that TTC CEO Andy Byford will be our special guest and will be discussing his 5 year plan for the TTC.
I believe it is vital that you have an opportunity to have your questions and concerns about Toronto's transit system addressed. Please join us, learn and make your voice heard!
Community Consultation on 2131 Yonge Street (The Art Shoppe)
Please click here to learn about the upcoming public meeting for this condo development proposal. I have serious concerns with this application as the site is outside of the Yonge Eglinton Urban Growth Centre and it's directly adjacent to a neighbourhood. I believe, based on good planning principles, that a midrise development is more appropriate for this location with "main street" retail at grade. Please come to this meeting and make your voice heard.
Beltline Trail Town Hall
The final draft of the Beltline Trail Study is now online. Based on feedback from residents and other stakeholders in our community, it provides a long-term vision for trail improvements along with five "quick start" projects including better access to the Don Valley Brickworks and new wayfinding signage. I have also asked City staff for a plan to improve safety as soon possible by installing synchronized traffic signals where the Beltline Trail crosses Oriole Parkway, Avenue Road, and Bathurst Street.
I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting in our community this summer to discuss this proposed plan for the Beltline Trail and to hear your feedback. I will share the time and location with you shortly.
Health and Beauty Day at Central Eglinton Community Centre
On Thursday, June 6, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Central Eglinton Community Centre will have a community fundraising event featuring free exhibits and demonstrations on reflexology, meditation, skin and body care, herbal and organic products, natural cosmetics, naturopathic and chiropractic care, hypnosis and more. Healthy lunch and snack will be available at the "In the Pink" Cafe.
Seniors Forum: Living Longer, Living Well
The Toronto Council on Aging is hosting a Seniors Forum at Metro Hall on June 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Dr. Samir K. Sinha will be presenting highlights and key recommendations from the Province of Ontario's Seniors Strategy and I will be be sharing highlights from our new Toronto Seniors Strategy. Admission is free but seating is limited. To register please call the Toronto Council on Aging at 416 630 7000. I will be making the opening remarks and I hope to see you there!
You can read more about my work on the City of Toronto's Seniors Strategy here.
Community Environment Day
On Saturday, June 22nd from 10 am to 2 pm I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The location is the North Toronto Memorial Arena at 174 Orchard View Blvd. Please bring any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.
Ping Pong Table Offered for June Rowlands Park
Dianne Moore of the Forest Hill Rotary Club has very kindly offered for lead the fundraising effort to install an all-seasons concrete ping pong table in our community. The first table of this kind was recently installed at St. Michael's College on the University of Toronto campus and the City of Toronto is initiating a pilot project to install a few tables in public spaces across the City.
I would appreciate your opinion and feedback about the potential for a ping pong table in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park or elsewhere in our community. Our parks belong to the community and any changes must have your support.
Reminder: Davisville Village Farmer's Market
Good news! Our community's new Davisville Village Farmers Market (and first of its kind in Ward 22) has opened for its second season. Come by June Rowlands (Davisville) Park every Tuesday between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products directly from local farmers while meeting your friends and neighbours.