Doug Ford Makes Surprise Changes to Toronto's Wards and Cancels Current Election With No Public Consultation
Torontonians were shocked to see a report that Doug Ford was set to announce that he will cancel our city's municipal election halfway through, and completely change the ward boundaries without any public consultation. This is unprecedented, anti-democratic and reckless. Candidates have already received donations from voters and have been knocking on doors for months, and the 47 ward boundaries were created after a 5-year expert-driven process that included extensive public consultation and considered quality of representation. To those who support 25 larger wards with larger populations, I respectfully submit that a decision regarding that proposal should be done with expert advice to ensure voter parity, and genuine public consultation- for the people.
RESCHEDULED MEETING: 1951 Yonge Street
It has come to my attention that the scheduled date of Monday April 23, 2018 to discuss the Times Group proposal at 1951 Yonge conflicts with a school meeting about future plans for students at Davisville Public School. In response to a significant number of emails and phone calls from residents concerned that they will be unable to have their voice heard on this development proposal, I have worked with City Planning to change the date of the meeting to Thursday May 10, 2018. I hope this change will ensure that many more members of our community are able to attend this important meeting.
Remembering Mona Piper: Announcing our Community's new Mona Piper Playground
It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Mona Piper on January 31, 2018 at the age of 88. Mona passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones in Sunnybrook Hospital's palliative care unit.
Providing Shelter for our Most Vulnerable Residents
Over the holidays, and into last weekend, we experienced a record-breaking cold snap. The City's Medical Officer of Health declared Extreme Cold Weather Alerts as overnight temperatures went below -20 several times.
While the weather during this recent period was especially severe, it should not have been a surprise that it was cold in Toronto during winter. That's why it was particularly disheartening that our City was not prepared to provide shelter for our most vulnerable residents when they needed it most.
This completely unacceptable situation was entirely preventable. My colleague Kristyn Wong-Tam moved a motion at Council in early December to request that the federal government open the downtown Armouries to provide emergency shelter space following the advice of front line workers, advocates, and healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, the Mayor and a majority of Council voting against even making this request.
There are certainly issues with temporarily converting the Armouries into shelters by the location in Moss Park is vital for those that cannot find space in the surrounding shelters. The alternative site at the Better Living Centre in the CNE grounds isn't within a reasonable proximity to many of those people we are trying to help.
I commend the federal government for acting swiftly after the Mayor finally made the request. Local MP Adam Vaughan and the Minister of Defence helped ensure that the spaces were ready at no cost to the City.
While emergency shelters, such as the armouries, provide a potentially life-saving service during a time of need, we need to address the underlying issues that have led to this marked increase in the homeless population. All three levels of government must work together on measures to create more affordable housing and provide adequate addiction and mental health services.
For more information, please visit this article.
Public Meeting for Revised 18 Brownlow Development Application
City Planning will be hosting a public consultation meeting on the revised application for 18 Brownlow.
The original development application submitted in November 2015 proposed two residential towers of 25 and 20 storeys linked by a 4-storey base building. A community consultation meeting for the proposal was held in May 2016. In June 2016 the applicant appealed the application to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The proposal has been revised to remove the property at 18 Brownlow Avenue from the application and reduce the number of residential towers from two to one. The revised proposal is for one 24-storey residential tower including a 3-storey base building at 174-188 Soudan Avenue and 71 and 73 Redpath Avenue. It would contain 175 dwelling units and 137 parking spaces.
I have been working with the South Eglinton Residents' and Ratepayers Association (SERRA) to oppose this inappropriate development since it was first submitted. While we are pleased one of the towers has been removed, the remaining tower is still far too tall. The existing Secondary Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton Area states that heights and densities should descend as a site becomes further away from the main intersection. This proposal is higher than many of its neighbours closer to Yonge and Eglinton.
Details for the Community Meeting are as follows:
Date: January 17, 2018
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Best Western Roehampton Hotel – 808 Mount Pleasant Road
Town Hall Meeting to Save the Regent Theatre!
Since the 1920s, the Regent Theatre (once known as the Belsize and then the Crest) has been an iconic theatre on Mount Pleasant Road in the heart of Toronto. This historic landmark has now been put up for sale by the owners.
I'm inviting members of our community, arts and culture industry leaders, city staff, the property owners and all creative thinkers to come together for a conversation on how best to preserve the Regent's built form and purpose. It will be held on Monday, January 24th, 7pm at Greenwood College in Room 174 (443 Mount Pleasant Road). Please help spread the word by the sharing the flyer, and we hope to see you there!
Councillor Josh Matlow's 2017 City of Toronto Budget Town Hall Meeting
It's very important to me that I accurately reflect our community's priorities, and represent you, when I vote on our behalf on the City of Toronto's budget. On Monday, January 29th at 7pm, I'll host my 2018 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will take place in Room 174 at Greenwood College (443 Mount Pleasant Road).
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and encourage your feedback. I hope you will be able to attend.
If you would like more information on the proposed 2018 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please click here and here.
Save The Date: Community Skating Party with Josh Matlow, Rob Oliphant & Carolyn Bennett!
I'm excited to once again be co-hosting a community skating party with our local MPs, Rob Oliphant and Carolyn Bennett at Hodgson Ice Rink (East of Mt. Pleasant, entrance off Millwood/Harwood, behind Hodgson PS).
Please join us from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday February 4th for a fun, family-friendly, afternoon with coffee and hot chocolate. More details to come.
I hope to see you and your family there!
Have your Say in the Naming of our Two New Community Parks on Manor Road!
As many of you are aware, we've worked together as a community to create two new city parks that will be complete and ready to enjoy just in time for spring! There is now an exciting opportunity to be a part of the naming process, and your input is deeply important.
160 Manor Road East
The former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling site has been transformed into a light recreational park that is complete with a bocce court, gaming tables, accessible pathway and a tranquil green space. I was delighted to hear from a few local residents over the holidays that there have already been some bocce games enjoyed, despite the chilly weather!
250 Manor Road East
We worked successfully with Manor Road United Church to secure the Eastern portion of the property as a city park and playground. As soon as the ground thaws in the spring, the last bit of construction will proceed. But first, both the park and playground will need to be named.
The community has already contributed a lot of great feedback on these potential new park names, and they are reflected in a short survey that City Parks Staff have prepared. The survey (click here) will be open for responses until Friday, January 26th.
Have Your Say on the Development Charges Review – Public Consultation Meetings
The City is currently conducting a review of the development charges bylaw and is looking for feedback from the public on the proposed rates and polices.
Development charges are fees collected from developers at the time a building permit is issued. The fees help to pay for the cost of infrastructure required to provide municipal services to new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres, fire and police facilities. You can read more about development charges here.
There are two public consultation meetings being held by the City:
North York Civic Centre, Committee Room 3
5100 Yonge St.
Monday, January 15, 6-8 p.m.
Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 4
100 Queen St. W.
Wednesday, January 17, 6-8 p.m.
Be prepared! Protect your pipes from freezing
With the busy holiday season approaching, don't forget to take the steps necessary to protect your pipes from freezing. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, turn off the water at the main service valve in the basement and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines. Homeowners should also open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Get more frozen pipe prevention tips.
St. Cuthbert's Community Potluck Dinner
Join me and my friends at St. Cuthbert's Church on Saturday, January 20th at 6:00pm for a potluck dinner. Feel welcome to bring your family, friends and food to share. For more event details, please review this flyer.
Smashing Barriers: Redefining What It Is To Be Blind
On January Tuesday 16th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, CNIB Ontario will be hosting an event as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TDOF). This community event will be encouraging all residents in the Yonge and St. Clair area (and across the City) to come and experience sight loss simulation and virtual reality as it relates to people with sight loss, as well as other interactive activities. For more event details, I welcome you to visit the following Facebook page and view the event listing on TDOF's website.
Smart City Challenge: How would you improve Toronto through data and technology?
The City is competing for $50 million in the Federal Smart Cities Challenge and we need your help to come up with an ambitious and unique idea.Using data and technology, smart cities have the potential to improve all aspects of livability and opportunity in a city– from transportation, the environment, economy, communities, engagement and social services. We want to know your ideas for how data and technology can make a meaningful impact to life in Toronto.
Think big! Please share your ideas by February 2, 2018 by completing an online survey or through a hardcopy form at a local Toronto Public Library branch.
For more information including how you can share your idea and get involved, visit the Smart Cities Challenge page.
2018 Community Projects and Events Grants
The City of Toronto is excited to announce the launch of the 2018 Community Projects and Events funding stream. Through this fund, the City of Toronto provides two streams of one-time funding that support community groups and organizations to build vibrant, equitable, inclusive and safe communities. The deadline for submitting an online Letter of Intent is Friday, February 2nd at 11:59pm. If you are interested in taking advantage of this amazing opportunity, please visit the City's website to review their grant guidelines and application questions.
Fire Prevention Inspection Results
Toronto Fire Services recently announced that the fire inspections conducted as of January 1, 2017 in highrise buildings across Toronto are now available online. The list includes properties where violations of the Ontario Fire Code have been found and addressed, as well as properties that had no observable violations. I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Toronto Fire Services for always keeping Torontonians' safety in mind!
Liz McFarland: Farewell and Congratulations!
For the past four years, Liz McFarland has served our community in her role as my Constituency Assistant. Liz has worked tirelessly, and with great skill and dedication, for the residents of Ward 22 (she's also a local resident herself). While I'm happy to announce that Liz has started in her new role at Heritage Preservation Services in the City of Toronto's Planning Department, I'm also sad to see her go. She has become a true friend to me, her colleagues in my office and to so many people who she has helped. On behalf of our community, I wish Liz happiness and great success on the important work that she will be doing to preserve our city's architectural and cultural heritage. Knowing Liz, she will still be reviewing this for any factual errors and grammar mistakes. Knowing Liz, she will still be proofreading this for any grammar mistakes I've made :)
Our Fight to Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board- Province Passes Legislation to Eliminate OMB
After years of advocating alongside my colleague, Kristyn-Wong Tam and local residents' associations, the Ontario legislature voted to move forward with major changes to the planning appeals system in Toronto yesterday. Bill 139, the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 will replace the OMB with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. While I have serious concerns that the permissive transition regulations are leading to a rush of planning applications being appealed prior to the new Tribunal being in place, the new rules will significantly level the playing field between communities and developers.
From the provincial Bill 139 backgrounder, here are some of the significant reforms coming to the planning process under the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal:
- "de novo" (entirely new) hearings for the majority of land use planning appeals will be eliminated. Instead, the tribunal will function more like a true appeal body for major land use planning decisions.
- Under the new standard of review for land use planning appeals involving matters like official plans and zoning bylaws, the tribunal will only be able to overturn a matter if the tribunal determines that the municipal decision is inconsistent with, or does not conform to provincial policies and municipal plans.
- Establishing clear timelines for the hearing process to help ensure timely decisions
- Eliminating lengthy and often confrontational examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses by parties and their lawyers at the oral hearings of major land use planning appeals
- The act will establish the free Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, a new provincial agency, offering guidance on the Tribunal process and general planning matters as well as providing planning and/or legal representation in some cases.
- Provincial approvals of official plans and official plan updates, including approvals of conformity exercises to provincial plans will be shielded from appeal
- Secondary Plans (such as Midtown in Focus in the Yonge-Eglinton area) will be shielded from amendment applications for 2 years after approval
Council Votes against Value-for-Money Audit (the most basic and relevant facts) on Scarborough Transit
It is unfortunate that, yet again, the Mayor and Council decided to not ask for relevant and important information, regarding the future of our rapid transit system and the expenditure of billions of tax dollars, by voting against my motion to finally see a Value-for-Money comparison of the 1-stop subway extension with a 7-stop LRT in the McCowan corridor.
I will continue to advocate for honest and evidence-based transit that will serve more people, with more stations, and with every available dollar used thoughtfully. For more information on this issue, please listen to this Metro Morning interview, and read this editorial, column, and article.
Midtown in Focus: Draft Review of Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan Approved at Council
In 2015, I helped initiate the Midtown in Focus review of growth, built form, social services and infrastructure issues in the Yonge-Eglinton area. I believe this work should've been done two decades ago, before the condo boom. After two years of intensive study by our dedicated City Planning Staff, we now will have an up-to-date policy that will guide growth in the area and, in combination with necessary improvements identified through the review, support the vitality and quality of life in Midtown Toronto.
The report, approved by Council last week, tells the rest of Toronto what we as Midtown residents already know: social services and hard infrastructure have not kept pace with the rapid growth in our community. This has to change.
I successfully moved a motion with Councillor Robinson requesting City Planning to further support local residents by reporting on potential measures to help ensure that social services and physical infrastructure can accommodate existing and projected growth in the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan area.
I look forward to seeing you in the New Year as Planning Staff consult further on their Review.
For more information, please see this report.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: 2161 Yonge Street Development Meeting
This development application proposes to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a mixed use building that is 36 storeys in height including a 6-storey base building inclusive of office and retail. The proposed residential tower would contain 288 new condominium units and the 155 parking spaces will be provided below-grade.
This public meeting will take place at 7pm tonight (December 13th) at Glebe Road United Church, 20 Glebe Road East
To speak to the planner directly, please contact Alex Teixeira at [email protected] or 416-392-0459 . Also, 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.
SAVE THE REGENT THEATRE- Iconic Local Movie House on Mount Pleasant for Sale
I’m very concerned about the sale of the iconic and historic Regent Theatre on Mount Pleasant. In addition to the theatre being listed on the Heritage Registry, I successfully moved a motion at Community Council to have Heritage Preservation staff evaluate its full designation which would provide it with even greater protection. However, there are still concerns that its future could be threatened. I'm looking into every creative option that can be considered to protect its use and built form. I will certainly keep you updated on this!
Update on Our New and Improved Parks!
I'm delighted to share the exciting news with you that four new park projects are complete (or nearly complete) and will be ready to fully enjoy for this coming spring season! Below is an update for each of these new or improved green spaces:
Lionel Conacher Park
I am pleased to inform you that the Lionel Conacher Waterplay Improvements project is complete! The upgraded wading pool and new splash pad area will be operational and open to the public for the 2018 swimming season.
To allow the newly installed sod a little more time to germinate, the perimeter protection fencing will be removed next week.
June Rowlands (Davisville) Park
Over the past year, I worked closely with parents and local residents to envision the new Sharon Lois & Bram Playground and Musical Garden. That is why I'm excited to announce that the fencing will be removed and the playground will be ready to enjoy this week! Special thanks to Lesley Stoyan, the Communities in Action Group, Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison for their participation in my design team, Dan Connolly and City Parks staff and everyone who contributed to community consultation meeting I hosted in the spring.
Please note that are a few finishing touches that will be completed in the fall including a wooden harvest table, and additional planting and lighting.
190 Manor Road East (Former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club)
It's almost ready! After working together as a community, we successfully fought to preserve green space at the former Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club site. Keeping in the spirit of having publically accessible space for recreation, we envisioned a park that is now complete with a large and open flexible bocce court and games tables.
250 Manor Road East (Playground and Park beside Manor United Church)
While construction was nearly complete, the quick turn in weather means that some parts of the new playground will be completed in early spring. Please stay tuned for further updates on the brand new playground and park!
St. Cuthbert's Carols with Friends
Gather your friends and family for an evening of carol singing followed by mulled cider and cookies with St. Cuthbert's Anglican Church on Monday December 18th at 7:00pm! Donations of non-perishable food for the Flemingdon Park Community Food Bank are gratefully received.
TransformTO '2050 Pathway to a Low-Carbon Toronto'
Let's #TransformTO together! To reduce climate change all homes and buildings need to be more energy efficient. Learn how you can get started by clicking here.
#CNIBShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled Project
It was my great pleasure to help CNIB launch their #ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled Project. This accessibility campaign aims to make the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood the most accessible in Canada through the placement of beacons in businesses. I welcome you to watch this video to learn more about this amazing project!
Holiday Wish List: A Guide to Helping Toronto's Homeless & Vulnerable
The City of Toronto surveyed agencies that run shelters, drop-ins and other services, asking them what gifts would bring cheer to their clients during the holidays. Fifty agencies are on this year's list, which details specific items that clients need, along with contacts and information about volunteer opportunities and holiday events. The most requested items on this year's list are winter clothing, gift cards, toiletries, baby products and non-perishable food. If you are interested in checking out this holiday wish list, please click here.
Annual 58th Toronto Scouts Christmas Tree Sale
It’s the annual 58th Toronto Scouts Christmas Tree Sale! For over 60 years, local Scouts have been selling fresh, Ontario grown Christmas Trees & Wreaths to neighborhood residents. They are located on the lawn at the Church of the Transfiguration, 111 Manor Rd East. Open weekdays 6:00pm-8:30pm and Sat-Sun 9:00am-6:00pm. Deliveries available. Call or text 437.776.1591 or email [email protected].
Please click here to view the flyer.
Sir Winston Churchill Park Association
Are you looking to improve the green space, cultural, and recreational activities of Sir Winston Churchill Park? I welcome you to check out the new and improved Sir Winston Churchill Park Association webpage and Facebook page!
Add More Blue & Green to your Holidays
This holiday season – know before you throw. Learn what holiday waste goes in the Blue Bin, Green Bin and Garbage Bin by clicking here. Let's keep recyclables and organics out of our landfills!
Update on the Independent Toronto Airspace Review
It's time for real action on fair flight paths to protect residents' quality of life! Back in September, Helios presented an overview of the recommendations they are making to NAV CANADA to mitigate the impact of aviation noise on the GTA. Recently, NAV CANADA issued a response that addresses each recommendation, outlines actions they are committing to take and provides timelines for the significant work ahead.
Midtown Yonge BIA Events
Join my friends at Midtown Yonge BIA this weekend from 2pm-5pm for their Midtown Merriment Holiday Caroling! For more details, please click here. Additionally, I hope to see you this evening at 5:30pm for their Menorah Lighting Ceremony and Chanukah Community Celebration on the southwest corner of Yonge and Davisville.
What does a caring, thriving, climate-friendly city of the future look like? #Picture2050 is a photography contest for photographers of all ages, inspired by the Toronto's TransformTO Climate Plan. The goal of the plan is to reduce Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and build a healthy, equitable and prosperous city. Find all the contest rules and submit your photos at the contest website