E-Newsletter

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for July 5, 2013

Dear Residents,

It's been another very busy and productive week. Last weekend, I was proud to march in Toronto's Pride parade and enjoy brunch with PFLAG, an organization of parents and family members of our city's vibrant LGBTQ community.

I was also delighted to celebrate Canada Day with our MP Carolyn Bennett at her annual BBQ. It was great to see so many friends participating in our country's 146th birthday together. I also extend my best wishes to community's US citizens who celebrated Independence day this week.

Meanwhile, at city council, I continue to advocate for thoughtful, non-ideological, fiscally responsible and socially progressive governance. Our next Council meeting begins on July 16th at Toronto City Hall. In my next update, I'll send you motions I intend to move on issues ranging from better parking enforcement practices to improving transit and curbing gridlock.

I do hope you find my latest update to you below interesting and informative.

For my previous e-newsletters, please click here.

Best regards,

Josh


Oriole Park Community Garden Public Meeting


For the past year and a half, I have been working with the Oriole Park Community Garden Committee, along with the Friends of Oriole Park, and City staff to create Ward 22's first community garden in Oriole Park. Join me for a public meeting on the progress of the Oriole Park Community Garden this coming Wednesday, July 10 from 7 to 9 pm. The meeting location is the Arthur Smith Room at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street). There will be a visual display of what the proposed gardens will look like and where they will be situated. Your feedback is important to us!

Midtown Planning Group Meeting


As a result of a letter I submitted with Councillor Stintz, and worked on with Councillor Robinson, to the Planning and Growth Committee last spring, Council endorsed my initiative to create a Midtown Planning group. As those in the community know all too well, the Yonge-Eglinton area is facing intense development pressure, the Ontario Municipal Board still has the last say over development proposals and the Yonge eglinton neighbourhood is divided into two planning areas. This initiative is a first step to ensure that the public space in the area is expanded and enhanced in a comprehensive way and with local residents at the table.

City Planning has started a Parks, Open Space and Streetscape Master Plan for the Yonge-Eglinton Study Area. When complete, the Master Plan will describe a comprehensive vision for the public and publicly accessible spaces in the community supported with a guide for future improvement initiatives for parks, open spaces and streetscapes.

The Master Plan is intended to support and facilitate the Midtown Planning Group’s objective to create a proactive, holistic, and comprehensive strategy for planning in the Yonge and Eglinton area of Midtown, which will help bring consistency to planning across Community Council boundaries.

Meeting Details:

Date: Thursday, July 11
Time: 12 pm to 2 pm
Location: Northern District Library - Room 224 (2nd floor), 40 Orchard View Boulevard

Beltline Town Hall


This year, I have been working with our community and City staff to enhance the Beltline Trail by restoring natural areas and improving access. Join me for a public town hall meeting to discuss the progress of the Beltline Trail this coming Thursday, July 11 from 7 to 9 pm. The meeting will be located at Christ Church Deer Park's Elliott Hall (1570 Yonge Street).

For further information on the Beltline project, please visit this site.

Scarborough Rapid Transit: The Real Cost of Changing Tracks Now


I support subways where they make sense and LRTs where they make sense. Last week Metrolinx asked the City of Toronto to reaffirm its commitment to the Master Agreement signed on November 29, 2012 between Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the TTC with regard to the Scarborough RT line, the Eglinton Crosstown, the Sheppard East line and the Finch West line. We are unfortunately revisiting this issue yet again because Council signalled that it would support converting the Scarborough SRT to a subway even though the current plan is to serve that area with rapid transit in a completely grade-separated right-of-way similar to the Allen Rd. open cut which serves a portion of the Yonge-University-Spadina line (no lane of traffic will be removed).

It is projected that it will cost at least $1 billion for this needless conversion and will likely need a property tax hike along with a raid of the city's reserves.  Where is the money going to come from? Are we willing to deny transit to Finch West? Delay the Downtown Relief Subway Line and much-needed state of good repair priorities? Cut more from parks, childcare, the Gardiner or affordable housing?

Please see my preliminary fact sheet regarding the potential conversion of the Scarborough SRT to a subway.

Forest Hill Village Green P Lot


There has been some discussion about the Toronto Parking Authority and the Forest Hill Village BIA's proposals to develop the Green P parking lot at the corner of Thelma Avenue and Spadina Road in the Forest Hill Village. Please see my letter to residents regarding both my position on growth in the Village and my ethical responsibility to recuse myself from this specific matter.

Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground


Thank you to all those who responded so enthusiastically to my suggestion that the playground in June Rowlands Park should be named in honour of the beloved children's entertainment trio (and midtown Toronto residents) Sharon, Lois & Bram. I am currently preparing a formal request to City staff and looking forward to announcing an event including Sharon, Lois & Bram to celebrate the unveiling of the new name in the coming months.

Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence


The proposed Toronto Youth Equity Framework was approved unanimously by Toronto's Community Development and Recreation Committee last week. It will now go to City Council's July 16 meeting for final approval. We must work quickly and effectively because we cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. This Framework is the first step of a three-stage process to support the most marginalized youth in Toronto who are most likely to be involved in or victimized by violence. It sets out the principles of how the City of Toronto will target the roots of youth violence and how it will organize, over the course of the summer, so that all City departments and community stakeholders are on the same page, working together.

Culture Days


Culture Days will be taking place September 27, 28 and 29. These events promotes culture and arts within different communities across Canada. A resident of Ward 22 and artist-educator, Emma Ates, is showcasing her project "Five Wishes to All Beings". Her mission is to bring contemplative arts and creativity into our community and beyond.

To see more of Emma's art, visit her website. More information on Culture Days can be found by visiting this site.

Possible Closure of the Postal Station at 27 St. Clair Avenue East


Canada Post is considering a possible closure of the postal station at 27 St. Clair Avenue East due to reviews of low traffic. As part of making this decision, Canada Post is undertaking a one month public consultation process. A notice and handouts are available at the post office for your feedback. If the closure does occur, the area will be served by a surrounding retail network of eight postal offices within a 2 km radius of the original postal office. All full-time and part-time employees will have job security and will be re-assigned to other duties. If you would like any additional information regarding the possible closure of this postal office please e-mail [email protected] or call 519-457-5282.

Avenue Road Construction Update

Work is currently underway to permanently restore and repave the sidewalks and roads on Avenue Road.  City staff have advised that this necessary work is the final part of the City's overall construction work on Avenue Road that included the watermain replacement. The delay between projects allowed the ground to settle and to ensure that if there were underground repairs needed in the interim, the newly paved road wouldn't have to be dug up again. I am very aware of the fact that this work is frustrating for local residents and commuters and therefore I will continue to aggressively advocate that the project is undertaken as efficiently and quickly as possible.   I've found the level of communication from City staff to residents has been very poor and I have been direct with staff that this is unacceptable. They need to be more informative and more responsive to your inquiries and concerns. For more information please click here. (See new info on Chaplin Cr. work commencing next week).

Condo Living Survey


The City of Toronto is seeking feedback through its Condo Living Survey (Round 2) about condo life issues across our city. Through the survey, the City of Toronto hopes to generate ideas to address condo living challenges. Your feedback is very valuable and can help to improve condo life across Toronto. Please visit this link to complete the survey.

Introducing thedirt.co


The Dirt (thedirt.co) is a "social real estate platform" designed by real estate developer Brandon G. Donnelly and software engineer Mike Lerner to provide services which engage condo owners and consumers with informative details regarding Toronto condos. Specifically, thedirt.co provides condo reviews from both owners and consumers in conjunction with the most up-to-date news about approvals, sales, construction, occupancy and completion. The system is a basic map schematic which indicates condo buildings that have received reviews by owners and consumers and, in addition, permits users to engage in revision for buildings that have not been reviewed. In addition to the website, thedirt.co can also be linked to Twitter and Facebook accounts for the most updated information. Overall, the service provides free access to condo building reviews and useful guidelines regarding the status of condo buildings in Toronto.

Working in our community


While I more often talk about the broader city and ward wide issues, a lot of the day to day issues that my staff and I work on are often the more immediate local issues that residents encounter on a day to day basis.  This includes but is not limited to, both on-street and off-street parking challenges, local traffic issues, local property standards and problem property concerns, questions about getting a building permit, concerns about neighbourhood construction and development sites, road reconstruction, water main repairs, curb cuts and driveway access points, basement flooding, concerns about private and public trees, conditions of public parks and operating hours for city wading pools, helping small businesses, heritage designation proposals, missed garbage pick ups and proposals to beautify public realm spaces including neglected public planters (especially in areas without a BIA) and improving playgrounds, parks and school grounds.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it is an example of some of the issues I work on with residents on a day to day basis to support our community.

Please always feel welcome to contact me at 416-392-7906 or by email at [email protected] if I be of assistance to you.

Update on Committee of Adjustment Issues

In the past few weeks I have been working to support residents concerned with minor variance applications on their street and in their neighbourhood.  Recently working with the community we successfully convinced the Committee of Adjustment to refuse an application to sever a property on Oriole Gardens, that clearly did not fit with the existing character of the street.  I was very proud to work with some very dedicated member so of the community to help get this decision from the Committee of Adjustment.  I understand that the applicant is going to appeal this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, and I am preparing a motion for the next city council meeting to direct City Planning and Legal staff attend to help defend the Committee of Adjustment's decision.

Earlier this year I had also moved a motion to direct city staff to attend the OMB to defend a Committee of Adjustment decision to refuse an application at Balmoral and Poplar Plains Road.  I am happy to report that this decision was recently upheld by the OMB.  I would like to also congratulate the local residents, who were not only incredibly well organized, but also were a pleasure to work with.

On other Committee of Adjustment matters, residents have expressed concern about applications at Forest Hill Road and Hillholm Road and another application for a severance at Balmoral Avenue and Warren Road.  These were originally scheduled to be heard at the Committee of Adjustment within the past month, but have since been deferred to allow for an opportunity for me to schedule a meeting with local residents and the applicants to try and come to a resolution.  I am happy to support the residents in attempting to influence the applicants to revise their applications so they better fit with their respective communities.

I hope to meet with all parties in the coming weeks, with some hopefully revised plans back to the Committee of Adjustment in the fall.

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for June 21, 2013

Dear Residents,

Last week's City Council meeting agenda featured hundreds of items on a wide range of issues including protecting seniors in community housing, funding transit and other infrastructure, electoral reform and alleviating traffic congestion.  This week, I've been at several meetings each day and evening on city policy initiatives and local priorities, community consultation meetings and events, along with visiting with residents in every Ward 22 neighbourhood.

I do hope to see you tomorrow at my Community Environment Day (see below for a reminder of the details). As always, please feel very welcome to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.

Best regards,

Josh


Reminder: 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. Cycle Toronto Midtown will be there to donate your used bikes to the non-profit organization Charlie's Freewheels. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.

Naming a Ward 22 Playground to honour the Iconic, Canadian Performance Group, Sharon, Lois and Bram


I am delighted to announce that, with your support, I would like to name the playground inside June Rowlands (Davisville) Park the Sharon, Lois, and Bram Playground after the iconic Canadian children's music trio. As Bram Morrison is a local Ward 22 resident, I can see no better way to honour these Canadian music and television legends than by naming a children's playground after them here in Toronto.

As generations of children have grown up with their music, I ask you for your support in my efforts to name the Sharon, Lois, and Bram Playground in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park.

City Council Highlights


For your review, I have compiled a list of the items debated at Council last week that may be of interest to you. For the full Council Agenda, please click here.

Electoral reform in Toronto


Council adopted several motions on electoral reform in Toronto. The City will ask the Ontario government to amend legislation and allow permanent residents to vote in municipal elections whether or not they are Canadian citizens. This will not apply to provincial or federal elections. The City will also request amendments to the Municipal Elections Act to permit Toronto to use ranked ballots and instant runoff voting in its municipal elections. To learn more about this electoral reform, click here.

Review of ward boundaries


Council authorized a review of Toronto's ward boundaries. At present, there are significant discrepancies in population among wards. Communities like Midtown are experiencing significant population growth due to new condos, leaving an inequitable situation.

The City of Toronto Act gives Council authority to make changes to the ward boundaries. The review, to be conducted by an external consultant, will include consultation with elected officials, stakeholders and the general public.

Managing of traffic congestion


Council passed a motion to improve traffic signal synchronization at City Council. I am pleased that the Mayor and the Chair of Public Works made this a priority in response to my letter of September 2011.

Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto's motorists, public transit users and cyclists. This congestion costs the region's economy an estimated $3.3 billion per year while negatively impacting on the quality of life of our residents. The long-term solution to this problem is building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system.

In the meantime, we can take significant steps such as this to improve traffic flow in the short-term.

Supporting Local YWCA Women's Shelter


YWCA 1st Stop Woodlawn houses a 56 bed Emergency Shelter for single homeless women as well as 72 units of permanent housing for single women, creating a mixed community of women in various stages of their lives. YWCA 1st Stop Shelter's main purpose is to provide emergency shelter services and supports to homeless women and youth.

I was privileged to provide $45,000 through a motion that directed developer's fees toward the renewal of the shelter's outdoor green space which will provide:

·         access to a safe, open meeting space for residents of the shelter and tenant community at 80 Woodlawn Avenue East where they can gather and relax outdoors

·          offer an improved environment for social and recreation programming (BBQs, celebrations)

·         improve the safety features of the property so that intruders cannot enter the shelter through the back door

This initiative will improve the shelter's mission to provide an environment where homeless women feel safe and secure, finding the strength and support they need to achieve their personal goals.

Seniors and Toronto Community Housing


Council adopted the recommendations of a report documenting the City Ombudsman's troubling investigation into Toronto Community Housing's eviction of seniors on the basis of their rent being in arrears. In addition, my colleagues supported my motions that will help ensure greater protection for vulnerable seniors facing eviction that live in local Toronto Community Housing buildings including Montgomery Place, George Baker Manor, Janet Magee and 900 Mt. Pleasant.

Community arts action plan

Council endorsed the 2013-2017 Community Arts Action Plan for Toronto, which contains recommendations from an external advisory committee to continue efforts to achieve the overall goal of barrier-free arts and cultural opportunities for all in Toronto. The new plan draws upon the previous five-year community arts action plan and related work on behalf of community arts.

Funding Toronto's transit and infrastructure


Council supported my motion to research the use of various kinds of municipal bonds that could be used to reduce the cost of servicing municipal debt and increase a city's ability to build and maintain its infrastructure. Governments in other jurisdictions, including the United States, have reduced interest rates and the cost of carrying municipal debt by implementing various tax breaks or rebates.

Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence


Please see my most recent update on this important initiative here and how you can be of support.

Eglinton Connects Planning Study


Eglinton Connects is a comprehensive planning study, led by the City Planning division, that is developing a vision for the future of Eglinton Avenue through public consultation, analysis of existing conditions/context and future growth, and interdivisional collaboration. The group presented their interim report to Planning and Growth Committee yesterday


Eglinton Connects incorporates:

·         An Avenue study, including a vision for Eglinton Avenue that will guide decisions about private development and public investment. The Study identifies

o   options for reallocating space between different modes of transportation

o    potential for intensified development in the form of mid-rise buildings

o   locations that could support higher density development

o   heritage resources and strategies for protection of these resources

o   public realm and streetscape plan

·          A Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) that will make recommendations regarding the reconfiguration of the right-of-way along the portion of Eglinton Avenue where the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is underground (Black Creek Drive to Brentcliffe Road); and

·         Site Plan review of the LRT stations and at-grade section as submitted by Metrolinx

Bits & Bites on Bayview


The Toronto Leaside Rotary Club and the merchants of South Bayview will be hosting the first Bits & Bites on Bayview Street Festival today from 4:30 to 7:30 pm, and tomorrow, Saturday, June 22nd, from 12:30 to 7:30 pm. Experience the food and boutiques of South Bayview (from Soudan Ave./Parkhurst Blvd. to Davisville Ave.) while enjoying live music and entertainment. Proceeds are going to a new fund to assist those in need in our community through the Rotary Cares-A-Community Fund. For more information, please visit http://www.bayviewbitsandbites.com/.

Say NO to Excessive Aviation Noise


The Toronto Aviation Noise Group (T.A.N.G.) has asked me to share the following with you:

T.A.N.G is working in Ward 22 to stop the excessive aviation noise stemming from the new concentrated flight path that takes planes right over our communities and neighbourhoods. A  T.A.N.G. representative may knock on your door requesting all adults in the home to please sign the petition.


To bring peace and quiet back to areas affected by this noise, you can sign an online petition. You can also contact the GTAA by calling 416-247-7682 or register a complaint. Lastly, you can write to our local MP Dr. Carolyn Bennett and show your objection. Together, we can work to make our voice heard over the roar of jet planes!


Northern Secondary School's Northern Lakes Landscape Project


I am proud to support this wonderful project. Northern Secondary School is currently fundraising for its Northern Lakes Landscape Project, which will connect our school community to the once vibrant Walmsley Brook and its natural ecosystems. This project envisions recreating a dry river bed with trees, rock seating areas, planting and flagstone paths. If you are interested in donating to the project, please visit  http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=27115.

UPDATE: Support Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence at City Hall!

Support Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence at City Hall: Please Save the Date!


When: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:30 am

Where: Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor, Committee Room 1


Dear friends,

It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.

Earlier this year, with City Council's unanimous support, I asked City staff to develop a plan to take immediate action. I am writing to confirm that the Youth Outcomes Framework Report will be considered by the Community Development and Recreation Committee on Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 9:30 am. This is the first step of an action plan to reduce youth violence in our city.

Please save this date, as this is the only official opportunity for public feedback before a vote at City Council in July. It is vitally important that Mayor Ford, the rest of City Council, and the wider community hear your voice and understand how important it is for us to finally take real action to stop youth violence. We can't do this without you.

It is also important to share this message. We can't let this opportunity quietly pass us by. In addition to contacting your local councillor and Mayor Ford, please reach out to your neighbours, co-workers, and colleagues who are working to address the many roots of youth violence or are troubled by its impacts in our community.

I'll be sure to follow up with you once the committee agenda is posted online with a copy of the Framework Report. I would appreciate your insights and feedback once it is published. I will also post any additional information on my website.

Sincerely,

Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul's

Tel: 416-392-7906

www.joshmatlow.ca

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for June 11, 2013

Dear residents,

This week there are a lot of important and substantive decisions being debated at City Hall. We are looking at voting reforms, ward boundaries, my initiative to look at Traffic Signal Synchronization (see below) and many others.

I have also been busy in our neighbourhoods, visiting Rathnelly Day on Saturday and discussing a Communtiy Use Agreement for the new field at Maurice Cody on Monday evening. This Saturday I look forward to seeing you at the Davisville PS Fun Fair.

I do hope you find my latest update to you interesting and informative.

Josh


Traffic Signal Synchronization Motion Passes Council


Earlier today, my colleagues passed a motion to improve traffic signal synchronization at City Council. I am pleased that the Mayor and the Chair of Public Works made this a priority in response to my letter of September 2011.

Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto's motorists, public transit users and cyclists. This congestion costs the region's economy an estimated $3.3 billion per year while negatively impacting on the quality of life of our residents. The long-term solution to this problem is building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system.

In the meantime, we can take significant steps such as this to improve traffic flow in the short-term.

Public Meeting: Townhouse Proposal for 17, 23 & 25 Lascelles Blvd (Brentwood Towers)


I would like to invite you and your neighbours to an important community information meeting regarding a complex and challenging development application for 17, 23 & 25 Lascelles Blvd. – the western portion of the Brentwood Towers. Keeping residents engaged and informed is a priority for me. The meeting will be held Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm to 9 pm at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1585 Yonge Street) in Cameron Hall. For more information, please visit my website.

Meeting: Development Proposal for the Corner of Redpath Ave. and Roehampton Ave.


Toronto City Planning is hosting a community consultation meeting regarding the proposed development of a 36 storey residential tower at 183-195 Roehampton Avenue & 139-145 Redpath Avenue. The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 20, 7 pm to 9 pm at St. Monica Catholic School in the multi-purpose room (14 Broadway Avenue). Please note that you may have received a notice in the mail with the wrong meeting location. Please click here for more information.

Help Decide the Future of the Gardiner Expressway East


The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto have resumed the public consultation process to help determine the future of the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Avenue East, from approximately Jarvis Street to Leslie Street. An Environmental Assessment will study four possible outcomes: maintaining, improving, replacing, or removing the elevated expressway.

You are invited to the first public forum on Thursday, June 13th from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (222 Bremner Blvd., Room 701, south building). You will be able to learn more about the project, understand the alternatives being considered, and what other jurisdictions have done with elevated expressways. You will also be able to ask questions and speak with members of the project team. Please register at http://gardinerconsultation.eventbrite.com. To find more information on this project, or to watch the meeting online, please visit www.gardinereast.ca.

Feedback on Future Streetscape of Eglinton Avenue

Toronto City Planning is seeking your feedback on the future streetscape of Eglinton Avenue as part of the Eglinton Connets planning study. Please take 15 minutes to fill out their survey at https://www.research.net/s/Eglinton3. The survey asks questions about the future streetscape and built form of Eglinton and includes images and diagrams of the options City Planning is developing. The survey is open until this Friday, June 14.

Reminder: 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. Cycle Toronto Midtown will be there to donate your used bikes to the non-profit organization Charlie's Freewheels. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.

National Aboriginal Day Outdoor Pow Wow

On Saturday, June 22nd, in honour of our First Nations' involvement in the Battle of Fort York, a traditional outdoor Pow Wow will be taking place at Well's Hill Park (south side of St. Clair Ave. W. between Bathurst St. and Spadina Ave.). The grand entry starts at 12:00 noon and the event will feature traditional dancing, a feast, a silent auction, an area for kids, crafts, and information booths.

Ping Pong Table for June Rowlands Park

I would deeply appreciate hearing your thoughts on the possibility of having an outdoor ping pong table in June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. A similar ping pong table 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. As our parks belong to the community, any changes or additions must have your support.

Agendas for upcoming City Council & Community Council meetings

Dear residents,

Keeping you informed and engaged is a priority for me. For your review please see the following agendas for the upcoming City Council and Toronto/East York Community Council meetings. If you have any feedback or questions about items of interest to you, please feel very welcome to contact me by emailing [email protected] or calling 416 392 7906.

Sincerely,

Josh

P.S. It's been a great pleasure seeing so many of you at recent community meetings and events.  Melissa, Molly and I hope to see you this afternoon at the Deer Park PS Spring Fair and on Saturday at the Maurice Cody PS Spring Fair and the Rathnelly Day celebration!


City Council Meeting: Tuesday June 11 & Wednesday June 12


The agenda for the next City Council meeting has been published. You can view all the items up for consideration here. City Council meetings are open to the public and held in the council chambers at City Hall starting at 9:30 am each day. Meetings are also broadcast live online.

Toronto & East York Community Council Meeting: Tuesday June 18


The agenda for our next Community Council meeting has also been published. There are four community councils in Toronto and each is responsible for local or neighbourhood matters. You can view all the items up for consideration here. Community Council meetings are open to the public and are held in Committee Room 1 on the second floor of City Hall starting at 9:30 am.

For a reminder of upcoming public meetings, events and other information I've sent you recently, please click here to read my May 31st e-newsletter.

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for May 31, 2013

Dear residents,

Despite unprecedented challenges at city hall, I have been very busy working with our community, and my colleagues on council, to address the many important priorities I hear about from residents like you.

It has been such a pleasure seeing so many of you at recent events such as my transit town hall, the Mount Pleasant Village BIA Kids Day and the Brown and Oriole Park School Fairs.

Tomorrow, I'll be at Eglinton and Cottingham school fairs along with a Beltline Clean Up (to remove invasive species such as Garlic Mustard) on Saturday morning. We'll be meeting at 10am at the trail entrance near Duncannon.

I do hope you find my latest update to you interesting and informative.

Sincerely,

Josh


Funding for Transit and Infrastructure Priorities


This weekend, many of my City Council colleagues are in Vancouver at the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, where they are calling for a greater role from the Government of Canada in building and maintaining our cities' infrastructure. Big cities like Toronto are Canada's economic engines and there is a clear national benefit to sustained investment in our growth.

My latest contribution to this effort is a motion I'm bringing to June's City Council meeting to consider options the federal government could use to support Toronto's transit and infrastructure priorities. In the United States, there are many models of support, such as tax-free municipal bonds, that help cities get the best results from their investments. Under a system model to the U.S. "Build America Bonds," Toronto could invest in one-third more infrastructure each year without increasing debt servicing costs. I've asked City staff to determine which model works best for Toronto so we can request that support from Ottawa.

Parking for Mopeds and Scooters


I've heard from many residents who are being affected by the City's recent crack-down on sidewalk scooter parking and I agree with your concerns. We should encourage the use of mopeds and scooters to reduce congestion in Toronto, and we can use a little common sense to accommodate these vehicles on City boulevards where they are out of the way of both pedestrians and cars. To learn more, please read my letter to the Licensing and Standards Committee requesting action on this issue.

Raccoons and Other Urban Wildlife


A family of raccoons is trying to make a home in my barbeque and they're making quite a mess! I know many of you have had much worse experiences with raccoons, skunks and other urban wildlife on your property. I'm asking City staff to make recommendations for actions to reduce the negative effects of urban wildlife and increase everyone's enjoyment of both private and public outdoor spaces.

Public Meeting: 2221 Yonge Street


Please click here to learn about the upcoming public meeting for this condo development proposal. I have serious concerns with this application. Even though the proposed location is closer to the corner of Yonge and Eglinton than the Minto development (where higher heights are projected under the Official Plan) the site is too small for a 56 storey building. As proposed, the building would also limit the ability of a builder to provide a vitally important public square on the adjacent southeast corner if that site were to be redeveloped.

The meeting will be held at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 5, in the auditorium at North Toronto Collegiate (17 Broadway Avenue).

Public Meeting: A New Maurice Cody PS Community Field!

Earlier this spring, I moved a motion on behalf of our community, at Toronto City Council that was successfully approved today 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 fruition. In the past couple of months I have been working with the Parent Council's Dirt-to-Turf Committee, School Council, Trustee Laskin, City Legal staff, Principal Howard and TDSB staff on a community-use agreement to ensure access to the new field for our neighbourhood's families.

We are working toward a draft agreement that balances the places the neighbourhood's interest to use the new facility first, while also recognizing the TDSB's need to bring in revenue to ensure that the new field is maintained.  I look forward to your input on the future use of the new field at a community meeting I am co-hosting with Trustee Laskin on Monday, May 10 in the Maurice Cody PS gym.

Support Taking Action on Youth Violence at City Hall


It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.

Please join us on at Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, June 26, at 9:30 am in support of the first steps of an action plan, in response to my motion that was approved unanimously by Council in February 2013 to reduce youth violence in our city, which will be considered by the Community Development and Recreation Committee.

Please save this date, as this is the only official opportunity for public feedback before a vote at City Council later in the summer. It is vitally important that Mayor Ford, the rest of City Council, and the wider community hear your voice and understand how important it is for us to finally take real action to stop youth violence. We can't do this without you.

Preserving 1909 Yonge Street (Currently the Davisville Starbucks)


The Starbucks at 1909 Yonge Street is the original Davisville General Store and Post Office building, and was constructed in 1894.

I believe that this is an important part of our cultural heritage, and has been a landmark for generations.

On May 14th, 2013, I moved a motion at Toronto and East York Community Council directing Heritage staff to evaluate this property for possible designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. Heritage staff will report back to Community Council with their findings. I am hopeful that this important landmark will soon be protected for many more generations to come.

Opening of Toronto's Beaches and Water Facilities


The majority of Toronto's beaches will be officially opening this weekend! Eight out of eleven beaches will have lifeguards placed this weekend, with the other three opening on June 15th.

Toronto's beaches are as follows:

Bluffer’s Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend 
Centre Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Cherry Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Gibraltar Point Beach- lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Hanlan’s Point Beach- lifeguard this weekend
Kew-Balmy Beach- lifeguards in place this weekend
Marie Curtis Park Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Rouge Beach - lifeguards will be in place by June 15
Sunnyside Beach -  lifeguards in place this weekend
Ward’s Island Beach - lifeguards in place this weekend
Woodbine Beaches - lifeguards in place this weekend

Daily water quality information can be obtained on the Beaches Hotline at 416-392-7161 or at www.toronto.ca/beach.

Meanwhile, we are happy to say that the outdoor pool at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre will be opening on June 22nd! More information about the opening of Toronto's outdoor pools can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-pools/index.htm.

Finally, splash pads are open May 18th to September 22nd and wading pools are open June 28th to September 1st. Splash pads are unsupervised water play areas and are conveniently located in many parks and playgrounds. Wading pools are shallow water areas for children located within parks.

A Walk Exploring the History of Deer Park


On Saturday, June 8th, local photographer and historian Walter Psotka will be leading a walking tour throughout the Deer Park area. Learn about interesting and previously unknown facts about this historically significant neighbourhood! If you wish to participate, please visit the Deer Park Library or call the branch at 416-393-7549.

The walk will be starting at the library at 1:20 pm.

Reminder: 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 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.

Reminder: 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. Cycle Toronto Midtown will be there to donate your used bikes to the non-profit organization Charlie's Freewheels. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste. You can also replace your damaged green bin.

First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers


The First National Summit of LGBTQ-A* Service Providers will be taking place on June 26th and 27th at Ryerson University. The summit will be the first time that all service providers will meet to discuss a national vision for the LGBTQ-A* community in Canada. The summit will focus on connecting Service Providers, professional development, and the creation of a national vision for collaboration and partnership. The cost of participating in the event in free!

More information on the summit can be found by visiting http://www.jersvision.org/en/programs/dare-stand-out-canadas-national-lgbtq-service-providers-summit.

Bayview Buckets Adopt-a-Tree Project is Back!


Local businesses on the west side of Bayview Avenue are encouraged to adopt a tree in front of their business for the 2013 growing season.  Street trees face harsh urban conditions such as limited access to water but provide us with so many benefits, including shade, cleaning our air, and making our neighbourhoods beautiful. Bayview Buckets aims to help these trees thrive by watering them regularly.

Community leader Helen Godfrey will be approaching businesses over the month of June to explain the program, and provide information and tools. Read Helen's update on the project on the LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) blog.

Look for the Bayview Buckets sign in the storefront windows and remember to thank your local business for keeping our community healthy!  A list of participating businesses will be updated on my website.

If you would like to get involved or receive more information, please contact [email protected].

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for May 22, 2013

Dear residents,

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.

Sincerely,

Josh


Transit


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)


That:

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.

Casino


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.

Have a fun and relaxing long weekend!

Dear residents,

Today, I'm in our community, at a safe distance from city hall, working with residents on local issues and priorities for our city. Then, after an exceptionally busy few weeks, I look forward to enjoying this long weekend with my wife and daughter.

I find that its a good idea, especially when political circuses and follies are shamefully upstaging genuine priorities (as they are once again at city hall today), that we all keep a clear focus on what truly matters- the well-being of our families, our neighbourhoods and the city we love.

I wish you all a very fun and relaxing long weekend. Enjoy!

Best regards,

Josh

PS- I intend to send out my next community update on next Wednesday with my report on issues such as the casino vote (which may still happen on Tuesday), local priorities and a request for your feedback on upcoming policy debates.

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for May 7, 2013

Dear residents,

I just arrived home from Day One of this month's city council meeting and will be back at city hall tomorrow morning as the meeting resumes at 9:30am. It's so nice to see little Molly after a long day (she's already 4 months old).

For your information, please see the update below. I've included items including Ward 22's Davisville Village Farmers Market Re-opening, Transit Funding, Toronto's new Seniors Strategy, SERRA AGM, our Community Environment Day, TTC Town Hall with CEO Andy Byford, Porter Airlines, some upcoming condo development proposals being considered at city hall, and much more!

Sincerely,

Josh


Ward 22's Davisville Farmer's Market


Good news! Our community's new Davisville Village Farmers Market (and first of its kind in Ward 22) opens for its second season on May 14. 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.

If you are interested in volunteering at the market, please come to June Rowlands park at 11:00 am this Friday, May 10. This is a great opportunity to help build a remarkable community "town square".

Transit


I'm very proud of my colleagues for supporting Toronto's interest in providing leadership on transit & moving forward with The Big Move plan by allowing a vote to occur at City Council. Tomorrow, City Council will vote on how we would like Metrolinx to fund Toronto and region's transit priorities, including the Downtown Relief Line and an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown to Pearson Airport. Please read my last e-newsletter for further information on this topic. You can also visit my website to see what I've been doing to take action for better transit.

Porter Airlines


Earlier this evening, Council voted to study Porter's exemption request to fly jets out of Billy Bishop Airport. Additional motions were moved to confine the scope of the study to the airport's current Marine Exclusion Zone and noise constraints- all of which Porter has stated it supports. Going forward, Council will be able to make an informed decision based on the possible benefits and negative impacts of this proposal and the evidence, rather than rhetoric, provided.

Toronto's Seniors Strategy


I am very pleased that the Seniors Strategy was adopted unanimously by City Council today. As Chair of the Toronto Seniors Strategy Subcommittee, I am so grateful to our communities, experts and staff whom have contributed so much to this important and substantive work over the past two years.

Our City's new Seniors Strategy is a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly age-friendly Toronto. It addresses eight themes of age-friendliness, and includes key recommendations, actions and an accountability framework to ensure it gets implemented. Click here to read the Toronto Seniors Strategy.

Emergency Preparedness Week


This week is Emergency Preparedness Week! The Office of Emergency Management is encouraging all residents to get "emergency ready" to make sure individuals and families know what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Information on how to get emergency ready can be found here. The focus of this year's campaign is on the safety of seniors/older adults, and information on assisting seniors can be found here.

Museum Month


As May is Museum Month in Toronto, Historic Sites across the city are using social media to present photos, facts, and trivia about museums and the many people who have visited or lived in them. Please add historictoronto on Facebook or TOhistoriccities on Twitter so that you can see and vote on your favourite artifact! For more information on May events, please visit www.toronto.ca/museum-events.

Bells on Yonge


This year's Bells on Yonge ride begins on Saturday, May 11, departing from Duplex Parkette at noon and arriving at Queen's Park at 1:30 pm. All are welcome and the route will mainly follow quiet side streets parallel to Yonge Street. I'll be catching up with the group at Oriole Park! Please visit the Bells on Yonge website for more details and a route map.

Prescription Drug Drop-off Day


The first city-wide prescription drug drop off day will be co-hosted on Saturday, May 11th from 10 am until 3 pm by Toronto Public Health and Toronto Police Services. As having old medications in your home can pose dangers, and flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage can harm the environment, residents will be able to anonymously drop off expired or unused medications at Loblaws, 396 St. Clair Avenue West (Between Spadina and Bathurst).

Casa Loma Plant Sale


The gardeners at Casa Loma have been busy propagating perennials from the gardens along with annuals and other plants acquired over the years. You will have an opportunity to purchase many hard to find items. There will be divisions of perennial plants, hard to find cannas and dahlias, rare annuals, heirloom vegetable plants and many other offerings. Limited quantities so come early. Sunday, May 12, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.

1331 Yonge Street (CHUM Site) to be debated at Community Council


On Tuesday May 14 at 9:30am Toronto and East York Community Council will be debating a development proposal for 1331 Yonge Street. I have been working on this application with the local community for almost two years and have held three public meetings.

The original plan for this site was for a 13 storey condo building with 214 units. As a result of the hard work and advocacy from many in the community the developer is now submitting a revised plan for an 11 storey condo building with 153 units. We have also pressed the developer into stepping back the development, such that the building is now a proposed 7 storeys at the corner of Jackes and Yonge. While the building has improved, we will keep pushing to lower the height further. There are also significant concerns regarding traffic and access for emergency vehicles which will be addressed at the meeting.

To register to make a deputation or to voice your comments and concerns in writing, please contact Ros Dyers, Clerk for the Toronto and East York Community Council, at  [email protected].

87 – 107 Davisville Avenue and 108 – 128 Balliol Street to be debated at Community Council


On Tuesday, May 14 at 9:30am Toronto and East York Community Council will also be debating a development proposal for 87 – 107 Davisville Avenue and 108 – 128 Balliol Street.

The original plan was for a 12 storey condo with 176 units on Davisville and a 29 storey condo with 324 units on Balliol. The community was almost unanimously opposed to this proposal.

The community and I were able to get the applicant to revise their plans for the proposed buildings. The massing (height and density) of the buildings remains similar but the applicant has made a number of design changes that seek to address the "boxed-in" site plan in relation to 77 and 111 Davisville Ave. The changes include; increased green space between buildings, shift of the buildings to open sightlines, glass lobbies to open sightlines from ground level, green roofs, and increased setbacks.

The development is still unacceptable due to the addition of two large buildings in an already dense site and I will be representing that sentiment at Community Council.

To register to make a deputation or to voice your comments and concerns in writing, please contact Ros Dyers, Clerk for the Toronto and East York Community Council, at [email protected].

South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association AGM


If you live south of Eglinton and between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue, please join me at the South Eglinton Rate Payers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, May 15th, from 7 to 9 pm at the Manor Road United Church (240 Manor Road East). Come and find out what is happening in our neighbourhood, as we will discuss important topics including Davisville Junior Public School and Greenwood College School, local developments, and the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown. I hope to see you there!

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 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.

Councillor Matlow's Community Update for May 1, 2013

Dear residents,

Please see my latest report to you below on issues ranging from the latest transit debate, casinos, condo development decisions, my next Environment Day, a TTC Town Hall with CEO Andy Byford, Toronto's Seniors Strategy and much more.

Sincerely,

Josh

PS- Go Leafs Go!


Transit Update


Every day, I hear from residents that they want the City of Toronto and Queen's Park to stick to a transit plan, find an honest way to pay for it, and finally get it built.

However, as you may already be aware, some Councillors are now trying reopen the hard-won Master Agreement on transit the City of Toronto and the TTC has with Metrolinx. They want to push an extension of our already overcrowded subway system to Scarborough as Toronto's next transit priority even though projections do not show enough ridership in the area to justify one and everyone from Metrolinx's Bruce McCuaig to the TTC's Andy Byford have already acknowledged that, based on looking at real needs we have to relieve current rush hour congestion, a Downtown Relief Subway Line (DRL) is what Toronto really needs as part of the next phase of transit expansion.

I was very proud to work closely with many of my colleagues to put sound transit planning ahead of politics last year by moving forward with the Eglinton Crosstown as well as other funded and designed projects across the city. That's why I am so disappointed to see some of those same Councillors I had worked with opting for a plan that seems to put politics before our residents', including Scarborough's, needs.

I continue to do research in advance of the Council meeting next week. But the facts already suggest keeping the agreement reached last year to convert the aging Scarborough RT in the same completely grade-separated lines as exists now that won't have to stop at traffic signals (dedicated right-of-way).

Also, while I very much want us to expand our subway system where it makes sense, the new Scarborough RT rapid transit would be over two kilometres longer than a subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people. It would also have enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come. In other words, it simply makes more sense, will cost far fewer tax dollars and will serve more neighbourhoods.

Moreover, what also concerns me is the unnecessary greater cost of putting the Scarborough RT underground. I have confirmed with provincial sources that the difference will be at least $1 billion (much more than the reported $500 million). This is even before all costs are factored in from:

  • Contract cancellations with Bombardier
  • Construction of new terminus for Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy that was to be part of Scarborough RT
  • Sunk engineering costs
  • New design work
  • Cost efficiencies from using the same technology as on Sheppard and Eglinton
  • Significant changes to maintenance and storage facility on Conlins Rd. which has already finished RFP process
  • Possible new Environmental Assessment

The latest Scarborough subway debate has unnecessarily taken attention away from the very important debate on how we are going to fund the next phase of transit projects contained in Metrolinx's Big Move plan. This plan includes the Downtown Relief Line, which will help alleviate the overcrowding on the Yonge subway, and an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown to Pearson Airport.

I care deeply about improving transit for our city. I regularly hear from residents fed up with having to wait two or three subway trains every morning at Eglinton, Davisville or St. Clair stations. Drivers want to get to their destination rather than be stuck in gridlock. We need to act now or accept the status quo. And I don't believe the status is quo is good enough for Toronto.

As you know, I work very hard to find efficiencies and savings within government to support important services including a recent initiative to reduce paid-duty police officers at construction sites.

However, we do need $2 billion a year over twenty five years to build the rapid transit system that a growing region of 5 million people like Toronto and GTHA needs. There just isn't that kind of money to be found in efficiencies, or cuts, that our community would support alone.

To provide our city with parks, clean streets, great libraries and recreation centres, roads in good repair, drinkable water and a rapid transit system that allows them to travel to work, go shopping and enjoy our city in a reliable, accessible, affordable and efficient manner, we choose to pay for these services together. We also must demand that our hard-earned tax dollars not be wasted. I believe these two statements need not conflict and every dollar should be used deliberately, thoughtfully and on real priorities.

If we continue waiting to build transit and allow the political games and bickering to go on, the already intolerable congestion on the Yonge line will become unmanageable as we are expecting our population to grow. Commute times will get worse. And the expenses, both financially and on our quality of life, will grow. The time to act is now and it will likely cost all of us all a little bit more.

However, while I believe its reasonable for us to pay for the transit we truly need, I  refuse to ask residents to pay taxes or fees for unnecessary or wasteful expenditures. And I believe that a regional model of transit planning, and funding that transit, is important. We know that many commuters move between municipal jurisdictions daily. Meanwhile, through our property taxes, Toronto residents have been the only ones paying for our city's  infrastructure that both 416ers and 905ers use every day. That's simply not right.

I will be urging Metrolinx and the provincial government to adopt a funding strategy that is fair, both in terms of sharing costs across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and ensuring that costs are borne by everyone who will benefit from a modern, reliable rapid transit system. We will all benefit from improved and expanded transit and therefore we should all carry the burden of funding it equitably.

Ultimately, let's move forward now with the plan we have and finally get it built. We've waited too long already.

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 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!

Seniors Strategy


I am very pleased that the Seniors Strategy passed unanimously at the April Community Development and Recreation Committee meeting. Next week, the Strategy will go before City Council on May 7th or 8th. As chair of the Toronto Seniors Strategy Subcommittee, I am so grateful to our communities, experts and staff whom have contributed so much to this important and substantive work over the past two years.

Our City's new Seniors Strategy is a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly age-friendly Toronto. Click here to read the Toronto Seniors Strategy. You can also view a short presentation of the highlights by clicking here.

1331 Yonge Street (CHUM Site) to be debated at Community Council


On Tuesday May 14 at 9:30am Toronto and East York Community Council will be debating a development proposal for 1331 Yonge Street. I have been working on this application with the local community for almost two years and have held three public meetings.

The original plan for this site was for a 13 storey condo building with 214 units. As a result of the hard work and advocacy from many in the community the developer is now submitting a revised plan for an 11 storey condo building with 153 units. We have also pressed the developer into stepping back the development, such that the building is now a proposed 7 storeys at the corner of Jackes and Yonge. While the building has improved, we will keep pushing to lower the height further. There are also significant concerns regarding traffic and access for emergency vehicles which will be addressed at the meeting.

To register to make a deputation or to voice your comments and concerns in writing, please contact Ros Dyers, Clerk for the Toronto and East York Community Council, at  [email protected].

87 – 107 Davisville Avenue and 108 – 128 Balliol Street to be debated at Community Council


On Tuesday May 14 at 9:30am Toronto and East York Community Council will also be debating a development proposal for 87 – 107 Davisville Avenue and 108 – 128 Balliol Street.

The original plan was for a 12 storey condo with 176 units on Davisville and a 29 storey condo with 324 units on Balliol. The community was almost unanimously opposed to this proposal.

The community and I were able to get the applicant to revise their plans for the proposed buildings. The massing (height and density) of the buildings remains similar but the applicant has made a number of design changes that seek to address the "boxed-in" site plan in relation to 77 and 111 Davisville Ave. The changes include; increased green space between buildings, shift of the buildings to open sightlines, glass lobbies to open sightlines from ground level, green roofs, and increased setbacks.

The development is still unacceptable due to the addition of two large buildings in an already dense site and I will be representing that sentiment at Community Council

To register to make a deputation or to voice your comments and concerns in writing, please contact Ros Dyers, Clerk for the Toronto and East York Community Council, at [email protected].

Jane's Walk


This weekend, Jane's Walk events are taking place across Toronto. These walks are an opportunity to learn more about our neighbourhoods and explore other corners of the city we don't know very well yet.

In our community, the Break Down Barriers and We Will Come walk is taking place on Saturday May 4th at 11:00 AM, starting at the Anne Johnston Health Station at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Broadway Avenue. This walk will raise awareness about pedestrian safety and space that are both age-friendly and accessible. You'll also get to try out a wheelchair and see what it’s like to navigate the neighbourhood and experience accessibility from a new perspective! I hope to see you there!

The Casino Debate


Mayor Ford has removed the item to decide on whether or not Council will support a Toronto casino from the upcoming May 7-8th Council meeting agenda. He has now called a special Council meeting to consider this item for May 21st.

Bells on Yonge


This year's Bells on Yonge ride begins on Saturday, May 11, departing from Duplex Parkette at noon and arriving at Queen's Park at 1:30 pm. All are welcome and the route will mainly follow quiet side streets parallel to Yonge Street. I'll be catching up with the group at Oriole Park! Please visit the Bells on Yonge website for more details and a route map.

Upcoming Gardening Events at Casa Loma


Casa Loma Garden School: How to Prepare and Plant a Vegetable Garden


Sunday, May 5, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Learn the basics of growing vegetables in small spaces, and how to select and prepare a suitable site according to your soil and sun conditions. You will learn the techniques of sod removal, soil preparation and the pros and cons of using raised vs. in ground beds, as well as when and how to do the planting.

All registrants will receive heirloom vegetable seedlings and one bag of Casa Loma 'Gold' compost.

Casa Loma Plant Sale


Sunday, May 12, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The gardeners at Casa Loma have been busy propagating perennials from the gardens along with annuals and other plants acquired over the years. You will have an opportunity to purchase many hard to find items. There will be divisions of perennial plants, hard to find cannas and dahlias, rare annuals, heirloom vegetable plants and many other offerings. Limited quantities so come early.

Unorthodox Planting Methods, Organic Pest Control


Sunday, June 9, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Learn how to correctly stake and train cucumbers and tomatoes in raised beds, maximize garden space with interplanting techniques and how the careful application of water and mulching techniques will enhance your gardens yield. Instruction will be provided on how to control garden pests using organic methods and unorthodox planting methods, such as straw bale culture and container potato production will also be discussed.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto’s Annual Big Night Out!


This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto is celebrating 100 years of mentoring. At 6 pm on June 20th, 2013, over 1000 corporate sponsors, donors and community leaders will come together for a Big Night Out to celebrate the organization’s Centennial, honouring the men and women in our city who, as volunteers and donors, make a difference in the lives of Toronto’s children and youth.

Mark Wiseman, President and CEO of the CPP Investment Board, is Big Night Out’s Honorary Chair and Guest Speaker. He will be joined by a legendary performance by Blue Rodeo, one of Canada’s best-known contemporary bands. Please contact [email protected] to enquire about tickets, or visit www.bbbst.com. The fundraising goal for 2013 is $1,000,000 and all proceeds will be directed to matching children and youth in need of support with a mentor.  Your support will make a BIG difference.

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.

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