E-Newsletter

Important update on Toronto's school pools

For many years, I've worked closely with parents, students, dedicated residents, parent-led groups such as Let's Make Waves, and friends such as former mayor David Crombie to protect Toronto's school pools from closure.

I am delighted to announce that the City of Toronto and Toronto District School Board have finally reached a 5-year funding agreement.

Our city's school pools are deeply valued by our communities. They support our childrens' education, assist in teaching life-saving skills, contribute to recreational opportunities and our quality of life- for youth to seniors, and everyone in between.

This agreement will come to the City of Toronto's Community Development and Recreation Committee on April 24th and then to Council on May 8th for a decision.

If you would like to make an oral or written deputation to committee, please click here to learn how. To learn more about the agreement, please click here. We have been successful thus far in keeping our school pools open, but its more important than ever that your voice continues to be heard.

Thank you to everyone of you who have been part of this important campaign.

Sincerely,

Josh

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22-St.Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca

Upcoming Ward 22 community meetings

April 13, 2012

Dear Residents,

Keeping our community engaged and informed has always been a top priority for me. There are a number of community events and consultation meetings coming up in the next few weeks that I want to ensure that you're aware of. On an ongoing basis, please always feel welcome to visit my website at www.joshmatlow.ca for daily and weekly updates.


  1. Oriole Park Participatory Budgeting Meeting. Monday, April 16, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Christ Church Deer Park, Elliott Hall, 1570 Yonge Street.

  2. Friends of the Beltline Clean Up. Saturday, April 21, 9:30 am. Robert Bateman Parkette, Russell Hill and Chaplin Crescent

  3. Preliminary Design Open House for Chaplin Station (Crosstown LRT). Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Forest Hill Collegiate Institute.

  4. Rathnelly Residents Association Annual General Meeting. Friday, May 11, 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Church of the Messiah, Avenue Road and Dupont.

  5. Davisville and Balliol Community Consultation. Wednesday, May 16, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street

  6. South Eglinton Rate Payers' and Residents' Association Annual General Meeting. Thursday, May 17, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Manor Road United Church, 240 Manor Road E.

  7. Age Friendly Town Hall/Seniors Forum. Thursday, May 24, 6:00 to 8:00 pm. North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave W.


I'm grateful for the time that many of you have taken to contact me to let me know your views on the issues that matter most to you. I look forward to continuing our conversation.

March 2012 Update from Councillor Josh Matlow for Ward 22 residents

Dear Friends and Residents,

The past few months have been, to understate it, very busy at City Hall. Discussions about the City's budget and transit planning have dominated the agenda. However, each day I receive hundreds of emails and phone calls from residents about the day-to-day issues that affect our lives.

In this e-newsletter, I'd like to let you know more about the some of the projects and issues that my staff and I have been working on, and also to share with you other news from around the community.

  1. Best of Midtown
  2. Tenants Town Hall Recap
  3. Participatory Budget Meeting for Oriole Park
  4. Opening of new parkette and playground at Soudan and Dunfield
  5. 33 Tarlton Road Ontario Municpal Board Appeal
  6. Mint Nightclub Update
  7. Avenue Road watermain update
  8. Friends of the Belt Line Clean Up
  9. Other news and events from around Ward 22

Thank you for all of your feedback, both supportive and critical. I look forward to having many more conversations in the coming weeks and months. More immediately, don't forget that this Saturday, March 31th at 8:30pm is Earth Hour. I hope you'll join in and turn off the lights for an hour to help remind us all of the energy we consume on a daily basis. More than anything, Earth Hour can be a fun way to remind ourselves to practice conservation for not just one hour a year, but every day of every year.

Sincerely,

Josh

Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca

1. Best of Midtown

There are so many remarkable small and local businesses in Ward 22 that contribute to the vitality of our community. My "Best of Midtown" awards are about recognizing the valuable role that these businesses play in our local economy and our quality of life.  Look out for the "Best of Midtown" certificates in businesses around the Ward, and stop in to see why they deserve this recognition. For a full list of the "Best of Midtown" establishments please visit my website by clicking here.

2.     Tenants Town Hall Recap

It's become difficult to be a renter in Toronto. Ward 22 has the highest percentage of tenants in the city at 63% and I consistently hear from many that their budget is being squeezed tighter every month.

This year's high guideline rent increase, coupled with Above the Guideline Increases (AGI) for basic upkeep and repairs have pushed rents up through the roof. In addition, the low vacancy rate has made it near impossible to find lower-cost alternatives elsewhere.

I heard these concerns, and many others, at a tenants' town hall I hosted on March 22nd. Renters from across midtown had questions answered by experts I invited from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants' Associations, Greater Toronto Apartments' Association, Advocacy Centre for Tenants and City staff from Municipal Licensing and Standards.

Renters were able to voice their concerns and provide constructive policy ideas to support a more balanced relationship with landlords. I will continue to work with local tenants and advocacy groups from across the City to make rental housing more affordable.

3.     Participatory Budget Meeting for Oriole Park

I'm excited to move forward with a pilot project for Oriole Park that will have the community determine future spending priorities for their local green space at a town hall meeting.

I have secured funding for improvements for the park and the adjacent portion of the belt line. This money will be allotted by the community through Participatory Budgeting.

This innovative process will involve proposals by local residents that could include amenities such as community gardens and seating areas or new recreational facilities such as a basketball court, soccer pitch or chess table. These proposals will be costed by City Parks staff and voted on by the neighbourhood.

If you live close to Oriole Park please join us at Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. (entrance on Heath St.) on April 16th  6:30-8:30


4.     Opening of new parkette and playground at Soudan and Dunfield & public naming contest

As spring brings us more consistently warm weather, we will welcome a new park to Ward 22 for our residents to enjoy.  Complete with a brand new playground, the Dunfield Parkette will officially be opened soon.

Public naming contest

As this is a brand new neighbourhood park, I would like to ask for your help in naming this new addition to the neighbourhood.

If you have any suggestions for a name, to honour someone who truly merits this recognition, please forward them to my office.

5. 33 Tarlton Road Ontario Municpal Board Appeal

I recently accompanied several residents at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing, to attend an appeal for a proposal to build a new home at 33 Tarlton.  The property was purchased by a developer, who was seeking permission to tear down the existing home, and build a new one that did not comply with the City's Zoning bylaw.

I along with the local residents did not feel that this proposed new home was in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.  We successfully made this argument at the Committee of Adjustment, but like many similar situations before, the OMB over turned the decision of the Committee of Adjustment and approved the required variances to the zoning bylaw.

I am very concerned that the stability of our neighbourhoods is being threatened by developers who are buying more properties throughout the ward, demolishing the existing dwellings, and replacing them with houses that exceed the limits prescribed by the zoning bylaw.  The Committee of Adjustment in many cases has said no to such proposals, only to see its decisions over turned with relative ease of before the OMB.  It is for this reason that I along with Councillor Wong-Tam successfully brought forward a motion to initiate planning reform with Queen's Park.

Please read more about this initiative on my website by clicking here.

6.     Mint Nightclub Update

I have been working on behalf of several local residents with regards to the ongoing disruption the Mint Bar has had on the Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton community.

In January 2011 the City of Toronto laid a charge against the owners of the Mint Bar for operating a nightclub without the proper license.  After two requests for adjournment, the owners finally entered a guilty plea to this charge.

There are two more charges coming to court in April, one for violations of the noise bylaw and the other for again operating a nightclub without a proper license.  We have asked staff to continue enforcement.

In December I met with the owners of Mint Night Club to express the community's concerns with their current operation.  They indicated that they would be reconsidering the operations in light of the charges against them and their impact on the neighbouring residents.  I advised them that as long as they continued to operate as a nightclub - and to impact the neighbourhood with unreasonable noise from both inside and outside the club - I will continue to work with staff to ensure full enforcement. 

It is important to note that the requirement for a special Nightclub license is a relatively new provision in the City of Toronto.  Through this experience we are discovering that there are areas of this provision that need to be improved in order to better support the residential communities that the provision was designed to protect.  I will be taking these experiences forward with the appropriate staff at both the bureaucratic and political levels to help bring about the changes required.

Please click here to learn more.

7.     Avenue Road water main update

I have had many conversations with residents, the media and of course city staff with regards to this certainly necessary - yet frustrating project.  The Avenue Road Watermain project has been ongoing since before I was elected to city council in 2010. The good news is that we are getting closer and closer to the completion of the section of the project within Ward 22.  It has been an incredible exercise in patience for many residents who live in close proximity to affected sections of Avenue Road, throughout the many phases of the project.

For the most part the major construction is behind us.  There will be some slip-lining work done on Avenue Road between McMaster and Poplar Plains from June through until August, and some odds and ends work to be completed in the general vicinity through until the fall.

This spring, the work up at Oriole Parkway and Kilbarry and in and around Oriole Park will also be completed.  The section of Oriole Park at Chaplin and Oriole Parkway that was taken over by this project will soon be reinstated.  This includes improvements to the park, with new plantings and landscaping.  I am currently reviewing the new park plans with City Staff.

8. Friends of the Belt Line Clean Up:

Once again I will be participating with the Friends of the Belt Line Clean up on Saturday April 21st.  Last October I had the pleasure in participating in the first "Friends of the Belt Line" clean-up day, and I look forward to doing this once again.  I will send out more details as we get closer to the date, and I encourage people to come join us for what should once again be a fantastic day.

9.     Other news from around Ward 22

a.     David Wright, future Olympian, needs your help

Toronto resident David Wright recently qualified to represent Canada and our great city at the Olympic Games this summer in London, England. David, an eight year member of the Canadian Sailing Team in the Men's Singlehanded division, confirmed his position on the team with his first World Cup podium performance and will be looking to maintain that performance level at the Olympic regatta.

Like other full time athletes preparing to represent us he has limited resources and must actively fundraise through both individual donations and corporate partnerships to pay for competition, travel and equipment expenses. You can follow his journey and get involved in his campaign by visiting his website www.davidwrightsailing.com.

b.     Toronto Youth Cabinet seeking candidates

The Toronto Youth Cabinet is holding its next elections this spring. The Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) is a youth-driven advocacy organization which strives to improve the quality of life of Toronto’s youth. In working together with City Councillors and through fostering partnerships among youth organizations, the Cabinet is dedicated to providing young people with a forum in which they are able to build an equitable, youth-friendly Toronto. TYC membership is open to any youth between the ages of 13 and 24 who live, learn, work, or play in the City of Toronto. Membership is composed of youth that are reflective of Toronto’s youth population, in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, geography, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and economic status. For a detailed list of Executive positions, the TYC's electoral protocol and nomination form please visit: www.thetyc.ca.

c.     Nominations open for City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards

Do you know someone who is working to eliminate violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, homelessness, hate crimes, hunger, poverty or illiteracy in Toronto? Do you know someone who is building a city where everyone can participate in the social, cultural, economic, recreational and political life of Toronto? Recognize a human rights champion by nominating them for a City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Award.

The City of Toronto recognizes the ongoing work of residents in five categories: Aboriginal Affairs; Disability Issues; Status of Women; Race Relations, and; Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Two Spirited Issues.

Find out more at http://www.toronto.ca/civicawards/index.htm, by calling 416-392-8592, or by emailing [email protected].

The deadline for nominations is Monday, May 7, 2012.


d.     Northern Secondary School champions teen mental health awareness

Northern Secondary School has been making significant efforts to raise awareness about mental health issues affecting teens. Please consider attending the following event.

Northern WellNSS- “Mental Health Matters” presents a collaboration evening with The New Mentality discussing and sharing about Mental Health and Stigma

Where: Northern Secondary School Resource Centre –Basement (851 Mt. Pleasant Rd.)

When: Tuesday April 10th, 2012 – 7:00 – 8:00pm

The Adolescent years are a critical period of adjustment for both teens and families. Teenagers go through many physical changes during adolescence, but they are also dealing with many mental and emotional changes as well. As parents and as community members it is important to be aware and understand how teens develop the challenges that youth face, and the ways in which family can help them stay as physically and mentally healthy as possible.

Talking to teens about the issue of mental health can be difficult, but it is the best way to understand what they are going though and if they need to get help. The New Mentality engages youth, parents and professionals to improve mental health services and reduces the stigma of mental illness.

Join us for an interactive and informative discussion and sharing experience with two young speakers from The New Mentality – Molly and Shannon , as they share their personal stories of mental illness, and implications to whichstigma affected their journeys.

This is a Free parent workshop and information session


e.     Free income tax clinic at Central Eglinton Community Centre

Central Eglinton Community Centre is hosting a free Income Tax Clinic*, March 1, 2011 – April 23, 2011. Let Central Eglinton Community Centre's trained volunteers prepare your income tax return. Income tax returns will either be prepared by hand for you to mail, or filed electronically by computer, depending on availability. Various morning, afternoon, evening and Saturday appointments offered. No death returns. You must book an appointment to access the clinic.  No walk-ins.

Central Eglinton Community Centre is located at 160 Eglinton Avenue East, at Redpath (near Yonge & Eglinton). Call 416-392-0511 ext. 0 to book your appointment on or after February 14, 2011

*For those with modest incomes only. Certain income guidelines will apply.  The clinic cannot process returns involving business, or self-employment, bankruptcy/post bankruptcy, rental income, or capital gains.

f.      Town hall meeting on new sports field permit fees for youth

Following the motion adopted at the March 5 City Council meeting, a Parks and Recreation report about the new City sports field permit fees for youth will be debated at the April 10 City Council meeting.

Public deputations or statements are not allowed at City Council meetings so a group of Councillors has organized a Town Hall to give sports associations and their members an opportunity to tell all of us about the impact these new fees have on their ability to run quality programs for Toronto's youth.

You are invited to attend the Town Hall on New Sports Field Permit Fees For Youth on Tuesday, April 3, in Council Chambers, starting at 7:00 pm.


g.     Child Care Matters to Me campaign

A message from the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care:

As you may be aware, we are in a state of change in the world of early learning and child care. High quality, safe and affordable child care matters to the future of Ontario and we need your support to share the message with families and the community.

Does Child Care Matter to You?

Safe and affordable licensed child care matters to Ontario’s children, families and to our economy. It matters to Ontario’s future. Only an immediate investment and fix to the funding model will keep our licensed, non-profit child care centres and licensed home child care spaces from eroding. Tell your MPP to stand up for high quality child care that gives our kids the best start in life and protects Ontario's already fragile economy.

How you can help:

  • Go to www.childcarematterstome.ca and spread the message that Child Care Matters to You.
  • Sending out e-mails to MPPs and spreading the word is a click away – go to the website
  • Like the Facebook Page so we can build support as quickly as possible.
  • Share the message and the website with your contacts and colleagues.

Spread the message: Child Care Matters to Me

www.childcarematterstome.ca

h.     Global News' News from the Neighbourhood

A new segment and initiative is being launched by Global News in Toronto. Their plan is to reach out and connect with as many community groups, residents associations, BIAs and individuals as possible in order to help tell their story. If you as an individual or as a member of a community group have a message or a story to get out, you may be interested to read the following message about this initiative.

"This is news right where you live; it’s over the fence, across the street, around the corner, in your community. These are the stories of your Toronto - your wins, your losses and your determination to fight another day. Your stories need to be told. Global’s Mark McAllister is the guy to tell them.

NEWS FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD gives voice to the issues, the concerns and causes that matter to you.

Tell us your story so we can share it on air and online!  Contact Global Toronto via e-mail [email protected] or by phone 416-446-5319.  You can find Mark on Twitter by using the hashtag #NFTN or send a ‘tweet’ to @MarkMcAllGlobal anytime.  A special section will soon be set up on our website www.globaltoronto.com as well."

i.      New Automated Water Meters are coming to Ward 22

The City of Toronto is beginning the second phase of a six-year project to install automated water meters across the city. Our ward is part of phase two, and will be begin to receive new meters beginning in April.

Under the mandatory Water Meter Program, approximately 465,000 customers across the city will either receive a meter or have an existing meter replaced. The new automated meters will be more efficient and will be able to remotely transmit water meter readings for billing, eliminating the need for City staff to enter homes to obtain readings.

Once the new meter is installed, billings will be based on actual water use. This includes flow that may be related to leaking household fixtures. Therefore, it is important to ensure that plumbing is in good working order and leaks are repaired prior to the meter being installed. Following some simple tips can help you conserve water, be more efficient and save money. Visit toronto.ca/watereff/ to learn more.

Watch your mailbox for details about the program. Installers will typically be in an area for two weeks, so it’s important to schedule an appointment when you receive an Appointment Notice Request. Appointments can only be scheduled once you have received this booklet.

j.      City of Toronto website helps residents, visitors navigate city roads

The City of Toronto has a website that makes it easier for motorists to find their way around City streets.

The site, toronto.ca/torontostreets, shows on-going and emergency road construction, existing travel conditions on City roads and a variety of special events taking place.

The goal is to help residents and visitors get around the city as easily as possible.  By making this site one of your favourites and checking it before you leave home, you can find the best route for where you want to go.

Of course, Toronto is known for its wide range of special events and community activities and using this website will help you get to these locations more easily.  If you are trying to get somewhere else, however, we can also help you steer clear of busy areas in the city so that you can get to your destination, hassle free.

The City is also offering those interested the opportunity to receive e-mail information about emergency road closures as they happen.  To subscribe to receive these updates, visit www.toronto.ca/e-updates.

Toronto Public Library workers go on strike

Library branches closed during labour disruption: Most website services available

TORONTO (Sunday, March 18, 2012) – A settlement has not been reached between the Toronto Public Library Board and the Toronto Public Library Workers’ Union Local 4948. As of 5:01 pm today, library staff began a legal strike.

During the labour disruption:

•   All library branches and facilities are closed, and bookmobile and home library services are suspended.
•   No fines will be charged during the labour disruption on overdue library materials.
•   All book drops are closed.  Borrowers are asked to hold onto their library materials until the labour disruption is over.
•   All scheduled meetings and events are cancelled during the labour disruption.  Room rental charges will be refunded, as appropriate.  
•   Most website services are available during the labour disruption. Please check the website for further updates www.torontopubliclibrary.ca

It's time to move forward with building transit

February 5, 2012

Dear Residents,

For too many years, the question of how to improve and expand Toronto’s transit system has shamefully been used as a political football. One government sets out a plan, the next scraps it, and then the next commissions yet another report.

I believe Torontonians are relying on us to move now, and without delay, on a realistic transit plan that will benefit this generation and beyond.


Much of the recent public debate has been about putting LRTs and subways underground versus at-grade. I believe this is a false debate, as the preferred choice should always be what makes sense depending on where the line is planned for and what funds are available.

The original Metrolinx plan, funded by the provincial government, called for LRT lines on Finch, Sheppard and an Eglinton Crosstown line to be tunneled underground between Black Creek to just east of Laird. Soon after taking office, Mayor Ford unilaterally announced (and without the approval of council), that the entirety of the Eglinton LRT line would go underground. The Mayor also proposed to construct a $4.7 billion subway on Sheppard Ave using wholly private financing and supported a non-binding with the Province and Metrolinx.

If the entirety of the Eglinton line was built underground, even along low-density suburban areas towards Scarborough as the Mayor would like, the additional cost would be almost $2 billion (coming from our allocated envelope of $8.2 billion). To unnecessarily bury this portion of the line, Toronto would have to reallocate funds away from the proposed Finch West and Sheppard East LRTs, as the City would no longer have the capital dollars to construct those rapid transit lines.

Recently, a report commissioned by the Mayor, and authored by his transit advisor Mr. Gordon Chong, mused about various private financing schemes and potential public revenue sources to build a Sheppard subway but provided no clear or reliable details as to what this would ultimately be. In other words, the Chong report was not a plan, it was a strategy to create a plan with several variables that may or may not be realistic. There are other reports, such as this one by the Pembina Institute, that I’ve found to offer convincing arguments.

It was evidence, rather than false promises and rhetoric, that convinced me of the path we must take.

We simply can no longer afford to spend time or money trying to build transit with possible and hopeful funding sources that may or may not materialize- we must begin moving forward within the envelope of funds we’ve been allocated. In addition, without ensuring  the revenue needed for the ongoing operating costs can be sourced, I’m concerned that constructing subways through suburban areas with low densities will become a long-term liability for taxpayers. The current stretch of the Sheppard subway is already subsidised by our property taxes due to low ridership. We can extend it into Scarborough now with dedicated light rail and serve thousands more people.

I applaud the provincial government's commitment to fund rapid transit expansion for our city and am delighted that work will begin on the midtown underground portion of the Eglinton line this year- something we've been waiting for far too long.

In addition, when funding is made available in the coming years, I believe our next transit priorities should include, but not be limited to, finally connecting the Yonge and University lines at Sheppard (as Councillors Pasternak and Augimeri have advocated for), a Downtown Relief Line constructed to take the pressure off of the over-crowded Yonge subway line (try getting on this line during rush hour today) and extending the Eglinton Crosstown to Pearson airport. All new transit projects should be designed as part of a regional transit strategy.

I am very proud to support our TTC Chair, Karen Stintz, who has had the courage to champion what in my honest opinion is the best transit plan for Toronto. We’ve worked together, along with many of our council colleagues, to keep Toronto on course with a realistic and fiscally responsible plan that will confirm our commitment to the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Toronto and Metrolinx.

This plan, if approved by Council, will see Eglinton constructed underground through midtown between Black Creek to east of Laird, continue east at-grade to Scarborough, and allocate the remaining Metrolinx funds towards supporting the underserved residents along Sheppard, Finch West and Scarborough with much-needed light rapid transit.  This plan will also better reflect our urban planning goals for these arterial roads and their nearby neighbourhoods.

In the coming days, some detractors will say that our plan is simply “against the mayor”. It is not. It’s actually not about the mayor- it’s about Toronto.

Others will say that this will lead to a “St. Clair-like” plan on Eglinton. This is not true either as the line will be underground through midtown Toronto along the most narrow and congested portion of the road, go at-grade through low- density areas towards Scarborough and Eglinton, east of Leslie, is wider that St. Clair and can accommodate an additional dedicated lane. Also- we’ll have modern Light Rapid Transit, used by cities around the world including throughout North America, not the traditional one-car streetcars we currently see today.

Ultimately, I hear Torontonians telling City Hall and Queen’s Park that they want us to move forward with a plan that can be built without another delay and connect our city while respecting every tax dollar we’ve been entrusted with.

Let’s move forward now with a realistic plan that will provide our city with rapid and accessible transit, curb gridlock and finally get Toronto moving again.

Sincerely,

Josh

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 - St. Paul's

www.joshmatlow.ca

City of Toronto and CUPE 416 arrive at a tentative deal

Dear Friends and Residents,

I'm happy to report to you that after a marathon round of negotiations that went all night and into this morning, the City of Toronto and CUPE 416 (outside workers) arrived at a tentative contract that will now have to be ratified by both the union and city council. Therefore, I do not expect disruption to our city services.

I would like to thank Mayor Ford, Deputy Mayor Holyday, the City's negotiating team and CUPE 416 for their commitment to arriving at a fair deal. I look forward to seeing all details in the coming days.

The City of Toronto continues to negotiate with its other employee groups.

Sincerely,

Josh

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 - St. Paul's

www.joshmatlow.ca

A Responsible & Compassionate 2012 City of Toronto budget approved

Dear Friends and Residents,

On Tuesday, January 17th, City Council approved a responsible and compassionate budget that reflected the voices of Ward 22 residents, and the majority of Torontonians. I am very pleased that Council was able to come together and save many important municipal supports for children, seniors, the less fortunate and the environment. These services were protected by the efforts of many councillors that I worked with day and night over the past weeks to achieve a better outcome for Toronto. I am pleased to have helped bring together colleagues from different political stripes and areas of the city to protect childcare, transit, recreational facilities and many other social supports. The specific programs and services protected today include:

  • $5 million to the TTC to help prevent service cuts
  • $3.9 million to prevent proposed cuts to libraries
  • $2.8 million to restore funding to the Community Partnerships Investment Program  which support seniors, newcomers and youth
  • $1.97 million to restore funding for 3 housing shelters
  • $1.68 million for the school-based childcare rent subsidy
  • $1.3 million to restore youth programs at Priority Centres
  • $680,000 for programming at 5 school-based pools
  • $670,000 to restore child care centre programming
  • $323,000 for climate change and energy sustainability programs
  • $260,000 for ice rink programming

The programs protected by city councillors demonstrate that our municipal government is able to deliver for Torontonians when faced with measures that would negatively affect many residents. This example of effective, bi-partisan cooperation should be continued in the coming months to deliver a realistic transit plan and take control of local planning by ridding our city of the OMB.

Thank you to the many Ward 22 residents who took the time to write letters in support of crucial programs to the Mayor and members of his Executive and Budget Committees. It is also important to remember that our city was originally presented with potential cuts that would have severely damaged the social fabric of our communities including:

  • A reduction of subsidized child care spaces
  • Eliminate or charge a premium fare for Blue Night (late night) bus and streetcar     network
  • Close City museums
  • Closing some library branches
  • Eliminate Environment Days
  • Eliminate the Hardship fund which provides medical products to low-income residents
  • Dental care for low-income residents
  • Reduce or eliminate grants funding for arts organizations

These services were protected prior to this week's budget debate because of your advocacy. Your voice made a difference!

I will continue to work with all of my colleagues, from every political perspective, in order to find solutions to our City's problems and return to building a great Toronto for all residents.

Sincerely,

Josh

City Councillor

Ward 22 - St. Paul's East

www.joshmatlow.ca

Upcoming Budget Town Hall and Important 2012 Budget Updates

Dear Friends and Residents,


Yesterday, the Budget Committee approved a $9.4 billion operating budget and a $2.8 billion capital budget for the City of Toronto in 2012. Their recommendations will go to Executive Committee and full Council on January 17th, 2012. While I am pleased that several important programs were saved, I am still concerned over many of the cuts that remain.  Many of the remaining cuts are a direct result of the Mayor's request to cut 10% from the budgets of every City Department, Agency, Board and Commission. I have expressed my concern about the arbitrary nature in which this process has been conducted in a previous newsletter.  These mandated reductions have forced City staff to take Draconian measures that do not consider the importance of services to local residents that rely upon them.

In this update, I'm providing you with:

  • A notice about my upcoming 2012 Budget Town Hall
  • Important information on the 2012 Budget
  • Green Toronto Awards

Warm regards,

Josh

City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca

1. Notice of my upcoming 2012 Budget Town Hall


Date:  Wednesday, January 11
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Location:  North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave W (at Lascelles Blvd)

I will be hosting my 2nd annual Budget Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, January 11th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre.  City Staff will be available to answer any budget related questions you might have.  The decisions Council will make in January on the 2012 Budget will impact every Toronto resident.  I believe that it is vital that you are informed, engaged and given the opportunity to make your voice heard

2. Important information on the 2012 Budget


Programs that were protected:

  • Student nutrition programs for 14,000 students including Davisville Public School
  • Programming at 12 school-based community centres including Brown Public School
  • Two of the seven indoor swimming pools slated for closure: Bedford Park Community Centre and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute.
  • Wheel-Trans service for ambulatory dialysis patients continues until June 30, at a cost of $2.5 million, while permanent funding is sought.

Thank you to the many Ward 22 residents who took the time to write letters in support of these crucial programs to the Mayor and members of his Executive and Budget Committees. Your voice made a difference!

As your former School Trustee, I am very aware of the importance of a good meal for student performance. It is unfair to expect a child to learn and be successful in the classroom if he/she is coming to school on an empty stomach. I am also keenly aware that many neighbourhoods throughout the city rely on the excellent programming available at our school-based community centres and pools. Our gratitude should also be extended to several councillors affiliated with the mayor who recognized the importance of these programs to children and families across the city and spoke out in favour of preserving funding.

Some of the programs still scheduled for reduction or elimination:

  • Libraries' budget cut 10 per cent, or $7 million.
  • Close three daycares (St. Mark's near Queen and Lansdowne; Greenholm-Albion in Etobicoke and Belleview near College and Bathurst) and eliminate daycare's rent subsidies potentially increasing costs to parents
  • Close homeless shelters (Birchmount, Downsview Dells and Bellwoods).
  • Close five of the seven targeted indoor pools (in Frankland Community Centre, Gordon A. Brown Middle School, Hillcrest Community Centre, Runnymede Collegiate and S H. Armstrong Community Recreation Centre.)
  • Close five of 105 wading pools and two of 59 outdoor pools
  • Half of the planned cuts to rush-hour bus service have been cancelled for now but threaten to reappear in 2013 unless TTC can find $45 million for 54 new buses and bus storage facilities
  • A 17% cut to the Toronto Environment Office, eliminating energy conservation and climate change strategy implementation staff
  • Reducing City's tree canopy. The budget calls for merging programs for new trees and street trees into one program to save about $1 million
  • Community Partnership and Investment Program. The program, which provides grants to community groups, has seen its funding envelope cut about 10 per cent to $42.5 million
  • $100,000 reduction to the Tenant's Defence fund
  • Elimination of Mechanical leaf collection. Residents in areas of Etobicoke and Scarborough will have to bag their leaves if council approves cancelling mechanical collection of leaves raked to the curb
  • Elimination of Christmas bureau that helps distribute gifts to needy children.
  • Increased response time for firefighters and paramedics. In 2012, planned hiring of 68 firefighters and 36 paramedics is being postponed
  • Reducing road cleaning standards
  • Reduction in child care services in hostels
  • Reduction in horticultural service - annual flower bed, perennial and shrub display reduction

In addition to the many concerning cuts there are a number of measures on the revenue side that the community should be aware of:

  • 2.5% property increase
  • Increased user fees including recreation programs for children, seniors and low-income individuals, as well as ice rink permits
  • Increased garbage rates for multi-unit residential buildings (small, generally "walk-up", apartment buildings)

While I recognize the intent to rein in spending, an order to cut without considering context, details or how residents would be affected by these decisions has led to a number of recommendations that will have an adverse impact on our communities.

In regards to libraries, I am very concerned about the negative effects that cuts to staffing levels, materials acquisitions and facilities will have on patrons. Libraries have often been referred to as the "city's living room". They are places where children, seniors, newcomers and all Torontonians can learn a new skill, discover an author, apply for a job or relax with a magazine.

The proposal for a 10% cut has the potential to result in 19,444 fewer hours at 53 branches across Toronto in addition to a reduction in materials acquisition and the elimination of many programs for children and seniors.

This is an unacceptable service cut, that many in our community rely on. I will work with my colleagues to help stop these cuts to our libraries.

While we must make some difficult but necessary decisions, many of the cuts proposed above are simply unsupportable from a basic good governance perspective. Childcare, recreation, public transit, arts & culture, the environment, tenants' assistance, supportive housing and many other  services are essential to the functionality of our city and our residents' basic quality of life.

I will continue working with my community and my colleagues from every political perspective to protect these services while helping to ensure that Toronto is financially sound.

Ward 22 has been successful in avoiding the brunt of the proposed cuts. However, I believe we have a responsibility to work towards a budget for all of Toronto that supports a compassionate and fiscally-responsible city.

3. Green Toronto Awards

The City of Toronto's environmental awards of excellence honour and celebrate the individuals, organizations and companies that are helping lead the way to a cleaner, greener and more liveable Toronto. Nominations close at 11:59 p.m. February 6, 2012. To find out more or to submit a nomination, please visit this website.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah!

Dear friends,

To those of you in our Ward 22, St. Paul's community who will be celebrating Christmas with friends and family this weekend, I want to personally wish you a Merry Christmas. And to those who are celebrating the festival of lights, Channukah, I wish you each a Chag Chanukkah Sameach.

And Happy Festivus to everyone!

Warm wishes for the season,

Josh

Happy Holidays, Upcoming Budget Town Hall and Updates

Dear Friends and Residents,

Thank you again for the privilege of being able to serve our community at Toronto City Council.  This past year has been one of many achievements for Ward 22 and I've deeply enjoyed working closely with so many you in every midtown neighbourhood.  I still believe that Toronto needs an approach to its governance that is thoughtful, evidence based, fiscally responsible, creative, non-ideological and always keeps the best interests of our residents in mind.  I will continue advocating for this.

In this update, I'm providing you with:

  • A notice about my upcoming 2012 Budget Town Hall,
  • Information about a rent rebate for tenants,
  • Wishing Katharine Hancock well on her new adventure - Welcome to Chloe Richer.

I wish you and yours the very best for the holidays and 2012.  I look forward to continue working with you for our community and a better Toronto.

Warm regards,

Josh


City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca



1. Notice of my upcoming 2012 Budget Town Hall


Date:  Wednesday, January 11
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Location:  North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave W (at Lascelles Blvd)

I will be hosting my 2nd annual Budget Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, January 11th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre.  City Staff will be available to answer any budget related questions you might have.  The decisions Council will make in January on the 2012 Budget will impact every Toronto resident.  I believe that it is vital that you are informed, engaged and given the opportunity to make your voice heard.

2. Information about a rent rebate for tenants

I am pleased to inform you that some multi-residential buildings in our community have had their property tax decreased by more than 2.49% which will result in a minor rent reduction for 2012. Official notices from the City of Toronto have already been sent by mail to those that will receive a reduction. It is important to note that you do not have to ask your landlord for permission or apply to receive this reduction. The letter will outline how to calculate your new rent. This document provides a list of Ward 22 buildings that will have their rents reduced next year.

Unfortunately, this municipal rent reduction will not offset the 3.1% guideline increase allowed by the provincial government for 2012. While I am appreciative of the Province's new legislation to cap guideline rent increases at 2.5% starting in 2013, this measure does not support overburdened tenants this year. I am urging the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to reconsider this exceedingly high increase.  I continue to strongly advocate for our community's tenants and real rent control.  It is also very important that tenants have access to information about their rights.

3. Wishing Katharine Hancock well on her new adventure – Welcome to Chloe Richer!


Katharine Hancock, my talented, overachieving Constituency Assistant, has been offered an opportunity to return to the career path of her choice- a teacher. I have accepted her resignation, with deep regret, but wish her the best of success and happiness in her next adventure.  December 16th will be her last day with us here at City Hall.

Katharine, a resident of my ward and friend, came with me to city hall after last year's election and has been an integral member of our office family. Like all of you who have had the opportunity to know and work with her, I will miss seeing her every day at city hall.

Chloe Richer joins my team as a recent graduate of the University of Toronto's Master of Science in Planning program, where she also participated in the Community Development Collaborative Program. Chloe has a breadth of experience with local planning issues and has worked with residents in communities such as Regent Park, Mimico and Parkdale. She is a resident of Ward 22 and appreciates the fantastic services and amenities our neighbourhood offers.  Like the rest of my team, Chloe will be there to meet your needs.

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