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Welcome

Dear residents and friends,

 

I deeply appreciate your support and confidence and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you on the many issues, challenges and opportunities we'll face together as a community here in Ward 22, St. Paul's and as a city.

 

I'm advocating for a more thoughtful, creative and responsible new approach for city council. I want council to engage our city's residents with an inspiring plan and make informed decisions that are based on evidence, community consultation and the merits of arguments - rather than ideology or left or right-wing partisanship.

 

My staff and I are here to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have. We're also working every day to improve our local neighbourhoods- along with supporting the many valued services Torontonians rely on every day. You are always welcome to contact me at 416-392-7906 or by email at councillor_matlow@toronto.ca.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Josh

Latest Videos

Councillor Matlow spoke on options for the Scarborough Subway, March 31, 2016.

Councillor Matlow spoke on tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.

 
   

City Hall and Community Update for May 4, 2018

Revitalization of Yonge-Eglinton Bus Barns Site Takes Major Step Forward

As Midtown residents know all too well, the former TTC bus barns site at the South West corner of Yonge & Eglinton was a derelict eyesore for well over a decade and is now a construction staging ground for the Metrolinx Eglinton Crosstown LRT. With the completion of the Crosstown in 2021, it is important that we start planning for the future now to help ensure that this site doesn’t remain a blight on the area for one moment longer than is necessary.

A major hurdle in the way of moving forward with planning for the site is that approximately 75% of the property is encumbered with existing long-term commercial leases. That's why I'm pleased that City Council approved a report for a new deal with the long-term lessees for a new ground lease relating to redevelopment of the property. The deal was negotiated by Build Toronto (now CreateTO), in consultation with the TTC, City Real Estate Services and City Planning. The proposed transaction has been developed within the new City real estate model to achieve key city building objectives, including unlocking the value of City assets through transit oriented development.



Illustration by City Planning

I will continue to make it clear to the City that any proposal for this site must include a remarkable public square, right at the corner, to even be considered by our community.



Protecting Toronto Tenants from Extreme Heat

Toronto tenants have the right to a comfortable and healthy home. Our current by-law directs landlords to maintain a temperature of at least 21 degrees Celsius in apartment units between September 15th and June 1st. The by-law, however, does not address heat. During last September's heatwave some residents reported temperature readings of over 30 degrees Celsius in their units as a result of their landlords turning on heat and/or not turning on air conditioning to reflect the reality of the weather outside.

As a result, I moved a motion last fall, in addition to several other motions addressing the same issue dating back to 2011, that asked City Staff to "hold consultations with tenants, landlords and other relevant stakeholders to identify potential solutions to effectively deal with heat in apartment buildings, including maximum heat in apartments and applicable dates in the heating bylaw and property standards bylaw, and report back to the Tenant Issues Committee (early in 2018)."

Unfortunately, no solutions were presented to Tenant Issues Committee earlier this year and the report to Licensing and Standards Committee today pushes back substantial action till the end of 2019. That simply isn't good enough.

That's why I'm pleased to report that Council supported my motion last week to grant the City's Medical Officer of Health the authority to request landlords to establish Heat Alert Days on which landlords can be requested to turn off heat and, if applicable, turn on air conditioning. The motion also requests the Medical Officer of Health to establish a Heat relief network to promote locally available air-conditioned public spaces.

I know that the actions taken in Council last week do not go far enough. I will continue to work toward a new by-law that can force landlords to turn on air conditioning and, most importantly, establish a maximum temperature for apartment units just as we have minimum temperature standards now.

There is no doubt that this is a complicated policy problem. If the City were to establish a maximum temperature would window air conditioning units be the only practical solution for some landlords to comply? Would tenants be on the hook to pay for the air conditioners? How could a by-law be followed if weather changes quickly but it can take several days to turn off the boilers and turn on central air in old buildings?

I recognize that these issues must be solved before the City imposes rules on landlords but more importantly, I recognize that the status quo is not acceptable. The City must do better to ensure that all Torontonians have a comfortable home.



Have Your Voice Heard: Judicial Inquiry on Scarborough Subway to be debated at Executive Committee May 14

As I wrote to you in an extensive newsletter last week, I submitted a motion requesting that a judicial inquiry be established regarding the information presented to Council leading up to the July 2016 vote to approve the 1-stop Scarborough subway. This motion was referred to the Monday May 14, 2018 meeting of the Mayor's Executive Committee.

This meeting will provide you with an opportunity to make a 5 minute deputation requesting that the committee approve the inquiry. Torontonians deserve to have assurances that decisions affecting billions of their tax dollars are spent on transit projects that use our scarce resources to support the most residents possible in getting to work or school and back, quickly and comfortably, so they can have more time with their friends and family.

To register to make a deputation email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone: 416-392-4666.



We Need Relief (Subway Line) Now!

As any resident who rides the subway knows the Yonge Line is already at capacity. During rush hour at stations like Eglinton, it is common to wait for two or three trains before boarding and once on, you’re crammed in like a sardine.

The overcrowding is most critical at Bloor-Yonge station, which is already nearing capacity, with another 45% increase in users expected over the next twenty years. Even with signal improvements and the new, larger trains, we can’t keep ahead of this growth without expansion elsewhere to alleviate the pressure. That's why the Relief Line was named as Toronto's top transit expansion priority by former Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, former TTC CEO Andy Byford, former Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and former City Manager Joe Pennachetti .

City Council has unfortunately featured transit debates long on rhetoric and short on facts. The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative to our existing subway system that’s already overcrowded during rush hours, curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would be an integral part of a comprehensive network approach that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

For more information and how to take action, please visit this webpage.



HAVE YOUR SAY! Planning and Development Public Consultation Meetings

Times Group Proposal for 1951 Yonge Street

Last year, an application was submitted for two towers (34 and 25 storeys) at the northeast corner of Yonge and Davisville. In their report, City Planning Staff agree with me and the local community that the proposal from the Times Group is completely inappropriate, as it's a significant overdevelopment of the site. As it is currently proposed, the two towers would have unacceptable shadow impacts on the Davisville school field. Of further concern, is the potential traffic impacts to the local community, especially the area surrounding the school. I will fight the most recent proposal to add more traffic onto Millwood.

I am pleased to report that I was successful in moving significant motions to support our community against this development at this week's Toronto & East York Community Council meeting. In addition to ensuring that City Legal and Planning Staff will fight for us at the Ontario Municipal Board, I was able to have additional amendments added that, for the first time, requested that even if a development is approved, that the OMB order construction be halted until the necessary infrastructure and social services are provided:

  • City Council direct the City Solicitor to request the Ontario Municipal Board to withhold the issuance of any order(s) on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment appeal for the subject lands pending confirmation of:
    - necessary transportation infrastructure from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and the General Manager, Transportation Services; and
    - public school capacity from the Director of Education, TDSB
  • City Council direct the City Solicitor to request the Ontario Municipal Board to withhold the issuance of any Order(s) on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment appeal for the subject lands pending confirmation of water, sanitary and storm water capacity from the Chief Engineer and Executive Director, Engineering and Construction Services, and pending receipt of a satisfactory Functional Servicing Report;


These motions were possible, and supported at Community Council, because of the extensive research that has been conducted as part of the Midtown in Focus initiative that has clearly demonstrated what we in Midtown already know: infrastructure and social services have not kept pace with the rapid rate of growth in our community.

The importance of these motions was recognized by the Toronto Star, which published two articles on successive days about this issue. Please see this article on the water capacity motion and this article regarding schools and transportation.

Please join me this week on:

Date: Thursday, May 10th
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Greenwood College– 443 Mount Pleasant Rd.

90 Eglinton Avenue East

A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 55-Storey mixed-use building containing 502 residential units with office and retail space on the first two levels. The applicant is proposing 226 parking spaces to be located in a three level underground garage.

Please join me to discuss the proposed development on:

Date: Wednesday, May 16th
Time6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Best Western Roehampton Hotel – 808 Mount Pleasant Road

If you cannot attend the meeting you can speak to the planner, Alex Teixeira, at (416) 392-0459 or email at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

808 Mount Pleasant Rd.

City Planning has also received a rezoning application to construct a 44-storey mixed-use building containing 457 residential units with retail space on the first level. 166 parking spaces are being proposed in four levels of underground parking.

Please join me to discuss the proposed development on:

Date: Thursday, May 17th
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Best Western Roehampton Hotel – 808 Mount Pleasant Road

If you cannot attend the meeting you can speak to the planner, David Driedger, at (416) 392-7613 or email at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Improvements coming to Pottery Playground & Splash Pad!

I'm delighted to announce that exciting new improvements will begin in Pottery Playground this spring!

Last year I heard from a number of parents who expressed concerns over the safety of the splash pad. I also heard that the playground was starting to look a bit tired and could use an update. Following a public consultation meeting I held with City Parks staff, we decided on an option that includes a brand new traditional play structure, animal-themed splash pad, as well as additional picnic benches and landscaping improvements. We will also be keeping the existing sandbox as I heard from many parents that this is a well-used feature of the playground. You can view the concepts in the renderings below.

Before construction commences on May 22nd, Parks Staff have announced that the toys left by the community will be temporarily stored throughout the duration of the construction. If you have donated these toys and would like to use them over the summer, please retrieve them! Otherwise, they will be brought back once the park improvements are complete by this August (weather permitting!)


STAY TUNED! New Park Coming to Yonge & Eglinton

We’re creating a new, much-needed park and playground at Holly and Soudan! Earlier this week I was pleased to sit down with our Parks Staff to review the very preliminary designs. I'm very pleased with the initial concepts and look forward to meeting with the community to hear feedback on what is envisioned for this much needed green space. I will be finalizing the details of the public consultation meeting which I will share with you very soon.



Seniors Community Grant Program Allows for Seniors HomeShare Pilot Project!

As we all know, the growth in Toronto's seniors population is expected to accelerate in the coming years. Presently, there are now more seniors living in Toronto than children. As Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I was pleased to move amotion at City Council to authorize the City's Social Development, Finance and Administration division to receive a grant from the Ministry of Seniors Affairs under the Seniors Community Grant Program to provide funding for a seniors HomeShare pilot program. These funds will support the development of this pilot project to connect over-housed seniors in Toronto with university graduate students to improve social connection and independent aging. While this is a major step forward, more work still needs to be done!


Ward 22's Davisville Village Farmers’ Market Opens for Another Season!


I'm delighted to support AppleTree Markets, a local Ward 22 non-profit organization, which will once again be transforming June Rowlands Park into a vibrant "town square" for the seventh year of our community's popular farmers’ market. The market is a place where you are sure to see friends and neighbours, while buying fresh produce, fish, meats, chocolate, and so much more.


This season, the market begins on May 8th and will operate weekly on Tuesdays between 3 and 7pm.

I look forward to seeing you there!



Making Toronto an Age-Friendly City Townhall Meeting

The Toronto Council on Aging and I invite you to attend our town hall meeting taking place on Wednesday May 9th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1985 Yonge Street) to celebrate the age-friendly approaches our local businesses are incorporating in their storefronts. An update of Toronto Senior's Strategy 1.0 and 2.0 will be provided as well. For more details, kindly review this flyer. We look forward to seeing you there!


SAVE THE DATE: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day

On Thursday, May 31st from 4:00-8:00pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd). Please drop-off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin. Feel welcome to check-out our flyer here and I hope to see you there!


South Eglinton Ratepayers' & Residents' Association (SERRA) Annual General Meeting

This year South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association (SERRA) Annual General Meeting will be taking place onMonday May 14th at Greenwood College School, 443 Mt. Pleasant Road. Doors open at 6:00pm for attendees to enjoy refreshments, renew memberships and browse information booths. The formal meeting will start at 7:00pm and end at9:00pm. Guest speakers include myself, TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin, and City Hall Toronto Star reporter Jennifer Pagliaro. For more details, please review this flyer.


SAVE THE DATE: Deer Park Residents Group Annual General Meeting

Please join me for the Deer Park Residents Group (DPRG) Annual General Meeting on Thursday, June 14th at Calvin Presbyterian Church (26 Delisle Avenue). The membership desk will open at 6:30pm and the meeting will commence at7pm.

The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for residents of our neighbourhood to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district, two guest speakers and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. I will be speaking to attendees about developments in Ward 22 and beyond that have an impact on all of us. Any persons attending who are not already members of the DPRG will be encouraged to join.

The DPRG welcomes members who have an interest in participating in its activities and serving on the Board. Please feel welcome to email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or visit their website here


Toronto Community Council Boundaries Options

Toronto City Council must adopt new Community Council boundaries now that the City’s ward boundaries are changing. This Options Paper includes background information on Toronto’s Community Councils, options for new boundaries, and information on how to provide feedback. The feedback collected will help inform the City Manager's recommendations to Council on Toronto’s new Community Council boundaries. Information on population forecasts, past Community Council activities and reviews, and recommendations from the City's 2017 Ward Boundary Review will also be considered.

Submit your comments by 5 p.m. on Friday May 25, 2018:

  Online: www.toronto.ca/CommunityCouncilBoundaries

  By mail: City Manager's Office, City of Toronto, 10th Floor East Tower, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

  Tax counter drop-boxes at any Civic Centre. For locations, please visit http://www.toronto.ca/counter-locations or call 311

  Public Open House: Tuesday May 15, 2018 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Committee Room 2, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.

Residents are invited to drop by anytime during the open house to learn more about Community Councils and the options for new boundaries and provide feedback.

A report on new Community Council boundaries will be submitted to Council’s Executive Committee. When the report is published, members of the public can sign up to speak at Executive Committee by contacting the clerk at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or registering online at www.toronto.ca/council.



Volunteers Needed for Ravine Stewardship Event – Invasive Knotweed Pull for Vale of Avoca

Community organizers will be leading a public event to cut back a patch of Japanese Knotweed—an invasive plant species—within the Vale of Avoca Ravine. The patch to be cut is located just south of Rosehill Reservoir, on the west side of the creek, downslope from Summerhill Gardens. The public event would be limited to the flat area west of the trail, and City crews will follow up with cutting on any adjacent slopes. The re-sprouts will then be treated by City crews with appropriate herbicide in late summer or early fall. All necessary tools, including hand pruners, hedge clippers and gloves, will be provided by City.

On Saturday, June 16th at 10am, volunteers are asked to meet at the entrance to the access road on Avoca Ave (opposite 20 Avoca Ave) and walk down the trails to access the site. Signage will be displayed at the trail entrance and along trail to direct any latecomers. All tools will be carried in and out by staff and volunteers.


Park & Bark Dog Show

Calling all dog lovers! Please come join me and our community’s furry friends in attending the Park & Bark Dog Show on Saturday May 5th from 9:00am to 1:30pm. This free special event will be held in the new parking lot just north of Davisville, on the east side of Yonge. It's im-paw-sible not to come!


Davisville Village Jane's Walk

I am delighted that the South Eglinton Ratepayers' and Residents' Association has created a Jane's Walk that explores Ward 22's Davisville Village, from its earliest days through the neighbourhood's continuing transformation. The walk takes place at 2pm on Saturday, May 5th and will begin outside at the northwest corner of Davisville and Mt. Pleasant. You can view the Facebook Event here.


Timothy Eaton Memorial Church's Garage Sale

On Saturday May 5th from 9:00am to 12:00pm, I welcome you to swing-by Timothy Eaton Memorial Church's Garage Sale! Bring your donations of housewares, treasures, jewellery, linens, etc. to the West Assembly Hall. Please do not bring any books and/or upholstered furniture.


Check-Out The Eglinton Way's Sidewalk Sale & Wellness Fair

From May 8 – 12, 2018 The Eglinton Way will be hosting “Wellness on the way”. The Eglinton Way invites customers to visit our restaurants, fitness studios, salons, and retailers. This will be a 5 day celebration of our neighbourhood's personality. It will highlight the many health, beauty, and fitness businesses in the area. From Tuesday May 8 to Saturday May 12, 2018 the Eglinton Way businesses will offer customers the opportunity to enjoy an array of service packages available such as, set price points, trial memberships, healthy menu features, or gift with purchase.


Inorganic Market Comes to Deer Park Public Library

Get rid of your old electronics at the Inorganic Market on Saturday May 12th from 11:00am-3:00pm at Deer Park Public Library. Bring your TVs, computers, phones, and other unused electronics for safe disposal. For more information, visit Inorganic's Facebook page.


Hodgon Middle School's 1st Annual Family Wellness Fair

Hodgson’s 1st annual Family Wellness Fair is taking place on Thursday May 10th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm! Families are invited to attend for a wide array of exciting workshops and sessions spanning a variety of wellness topics that relate to youth mental health and well-being. We hope you can check it out!


SAVE THE DATE: COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE

Oriole Park Association will again be hosting the Community Garage Sale on Saturday, June 9th, 2018.  Stay tuned for information on registration.  We are also looking for volunteers to assist in the preparation and set up of the event.  If you are interested, please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Let the decluttering begin!


Basement Flooding Prevention Public Education Campaign

Basements can flood for many reasons. While the City of Toronto is working to improve its complex system of underground sewers, these improvements alone cannot completely protect a home from basement flooding. With increasingly severe weather events, it is essential that homeowners take steps to help protect their home from basement flooding. For more information on basement flooding prevention tips, programs and services from the City of Toronto, please visit www.toronto.ca/basementflooding.

   

Demanding Transparency, Accountability and Honest Action on Transit Planning: Scarborough Subway and SmartTrack

 

This week, Council will vote on items that will impact billions of your tax dollars, the future of our city's transit system, accountability in our local government and our quality of life- including questions relating to Mayor Tory's SmartTrack proposal and our request for an independent judicial inquiry into the Scarborough Subway Extension.

I've prepared the following missive for you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be informed about, and engaged in, these important decisions before Council votes on them over the coming days.

Transit planning in Toronto is dysfunctional.

Our city now specializes in building transit that serves the fewest number of people for the largest amount of money. Our existing system is overcrowded. The Spadina Extension and the Sheppard subway have monopolized scarce resources, leaving most residents of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke with long bus rides before being able to access rapid transit. These bloated projects are plagued by low ridership, requiring significant subsidies.

The last week has been marked by revelations in the Toronto Star that critical information regarding the Scarborough Subway and SmartTrack was, respectively, misleading and "adjusted". In an article released last week, it was exposed that City Staff told Council and residents that a subway project practically drawn on the back of a napkin (see fig. 1) was as far along as the LRT plan that was supported by a 300-page environmental assessment.



fig. 1                                                  

Another piece just released in the Star today shows that City staff changed modelling to adjust numbers to boost case for the Lawrence East SmartTrack station at the urging of Metrolinx.


Enough is enough.

I have brought forward a Member's Motion (see Attachment 1 for full text) to tomorrow's meeting of City Council requesting a Judicial Inquiry into the 1-Stop Scarborough Subway. I have also submitted questions to Staff for clarification through an Administrative Inquiry on some of the issues cited in the Judicial Inquiry motion.

It is unacceptable that critical information presented to Council by Staff regarding the Scarborough Subway in Staff Reports, briefing notes, and on the floor of Council appears was at times inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete. This is deeply troubling given that a decision on a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project was based on the information provided.

Today's news regarding SmartTrack unfortunately suggests that we need to shine a light on transit planning as a whole in Toronto.

The last time the City established a Judicial Inquiry, it was in regards to the MFP computer leasing scandal. The Bellamy Report resulting from that inquiry led to the establishment of our 3 accountability officers and other measures to safeguard the City's contracting process. Torontonians deserve the same type of assurances that decisions affecting billions of their tax dollars are spent on transit projects that use our scarce resources to support the most residents possible in getting to work or school and back, quickly and comfortably, so they can have more time with their friends and family.

SmartTrack Concerns

This week, Council will decide whether to approve Mayor Tory’s revised SmartTrack plan as Toronto’s top transit priority. As I’ve written previously, I commend Mayor Tory for accepting that the Western Spur (new heavy rail line to the airport) portion of his plan is unworkable. As your councillor, the question I’m considering now is whether or not the plan as presented this week is well thought out, reflects Toronto residents’ priorities for transit, has a transparent financing plan and is worth a large investment of your money.

The Plan

SmartTrack is based on the Province's GO Regional Electrified Rail (RER) plan, which entails electrifying existing GO tracks. This infrastructure will facilitate new trains that.
As depicted in the map below, the province is already providing a number of stations in Toronto. The new SmartTrack plan consists of 6 additional stations at St. Clair West, Liberty Village, East Harbour (Unilever site), Gerrard, Lawrence East and Finch East. The cost of the 6 additional RER stations is estimated to be $1.463B. In lieu of the "Western Spur", a heavy rail addition Mayor Tory promised during the campaign, the Mayor promised a western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (this was part of the earlier “Transit City” Plan). This portion of SmartTrack has been delayed.

Go RER/SmartTrack Map

While I support the concept of better utilizing existing GO lines to serve Toronto’s transit needs, there is simply not enough information in the staff report provided to Council to determine whether these 6 stations are a good investment. I can guess that the Unilever and Liberty Village stations make sense based on the expected and existing density, respectively, of each location but the report before Council tomorrow does not provide clear information on basic attributes of SmartTrack including how often the trains will run or the cost of individual stations. The latter omission makes it impossible to assess whether each station provides good value for your money. Further, as outlined below, there are major questions regarding overall transit priorities, the funding mechanism, and the data used for revenue and ridership projections.
No reasonable person should be expected to make a decision on a public infrastructure project for over $1 billion dollars with this little information.

Network Approach?

Also absent from this report is any context regarding where these lines fit into Toronto’s transit network. The City’s Planning Division spent years developing the Feeling Congested framework to assess the utility of transit projects.


Top 5 Performing Rapid Transit Projects
A.   Relief Line (subway)
E.   Don Mills LRT
N.   Scarborough Malvern LRT
R.   Waterfront West LRT
V.   Waterfront East LRT

Next 5 Top Performing Rapid Transit Projects

C.   Durham-Scarborough BRT
F.    Eglinton LRT West Extension
K.   Jane LRT
P.    Steeles LRT/BRT West
W.   Relief Line East Extension
(Source: City Planning)

The above map shows the rankings of proposed transit lines using City Planning’s evaluation criteria. If Staff are, in effect, recommending that SmartTrack be built ahead of other projects that were deemed to perform better, such as the Relief Line, some explanation needs to be provided.

Financing
Equally concerning is Tax Increment Financing, one of the financing mechanisms recommended to pay for SmartTrack.

$M, YOE$

Required City Contribution

1,463

 

Less Expected Federal Funding @ 40% of Contribution

(585)

 

Required City Net Funding Contribution (anticipated in 2025)

878

 

 

 

Total, $M (2025)

Estimated Debt Financing Charge (30-year debt in 2025)

53


1,590

Average Annual Debt Service Offset:

 

 

Development Charges

17.4

522

Net Tax Incremental Financing Revenues (net of IMIT grants)

17.5

525

City Building Fund/ Tax Supported Requirement

18.2

546

SmartTrack Stations Program Required Funding Summary

During the 2014 Mayoral campaign, John Tory pledged to fund the City's contribution toward SmartTrack entirely through a mechanism never before used in Ontario called Tax Increment Financing(TIF). As the chart above shows, TIF is now required to fund roughly a third of the project - $525 million in 2025 dollars including financing costs.

As this Hemson report assessing the SmartTrack funding strategy stated: "TIF is not a revenue source in itself, rather it a method of dedicating a share of taxation revenue received in a given area to a specific purpose". Depicted in the chart below, under a TIF, infrastructure is funded by capturing property tax revenue in the area surrounding the new asset that presumably wouldn’t have been created without the initial investment.

 



Professor Kevin Ward, Dept of Geography, University of Manchester

A public investment in a new stadium on a greenfield site (for example, the Canadian Tire Centre where the Senators play in Kanata outside Ottawa) is a classic example of how, if employed, a TIF might have had merit. In this example, a TIF may be a reasonable funding tool as any new restaurants, hotels, or souvenir stores in close proximity could reasonably be attributed to the stadium. The idea is that, over time, the government recoups its investment from the new property tax revenue at no cost to municipal ratepayers. As well, the municipal services required in the area could be minimal if it is largely commercial.

 



Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario

Using a TIF to fund SmartTrack, however, is deeply problematic.

To start, as shown in the map below, the City proposes the establishment of TIF zones around all 14 stations built as part of the GO RER network, not just the 6 SmartTrack stations. That means that the City proposes to capture property taxes from new development to pay for SmartTrack from areas in which growth cannot be attributed to SmartTrack.



SmartTrack Tax Increment Zones

A Report by Strategic Regional Research Associates (SRRA), forecasted that the majority of the growth attributed to SmartTrack would occur in the close to downtown, such as the Unilever site and Liberty Village. In these high growth areas, it is dubious to attribute new development to the introduction of a station. Liberty Village, for example has no problem attracting growth, is almost built out in the residential section, and much of the employment-designated area in the western portion has heritage protection which limits development opportunities. In fact, SSRA modelled growth based on 12 storey office buildings in this section of Liberty Village despite a cap on height almost half that number.

The residents of Liberty Village desperately need new transit because of the density that already exists. To suggest that significant new growth will occur as a result of that needed transit does not match up with the reality on the ground.


Liberty Village

SSRA's commercial office projections, which formed the backbone for the TIF projections, were peer reviewed by Cushman & Wakefield as well as Ernst & Young. Both firms raised serious concerns about the impacts on TIF revenue resulting from the assumptions and data that SSRA used.

As Ernst & Young points out, SSRA states that they used the Provincial Growth Plan as the basis for their macro growth projections for Toronto. The SSRA report was completed in 2015. While the Plan was updated in 2017, it obviously wouldn't have been available in 2015. The most up-to-date Plan would have been done in 2006.

The SSRA report also does not factor in the time elapsed between the report completion date (2015) and the year in which the City starts collecting TIF revenues (2019). This means that developments already underway or approved in between those years would be part of the 2019 base year and could no longer be collected under TIF. The discrepancy could result in inflated revenue projections.

Cushman & Wakefield and Ernst & Young both warned against SSRA's assumption about how much office space each worker will be afforded in new developments in making their office space projections. Despite the market trending toward denser work environments, SSRA used an average of current urban and suburban office spaces, resulting in an assumption of 209 sq. ft. per office worker as shown in the "Base Case" below.



The base case projection for development projects a yield of $1.454B, $1.567B, $1.791B under, respectively, low, medium, and high growth scenarios. Ernst and Young performed several sensitivity tests for TIF yields. In the chart below, the firm has lowered the anticipated office space to 150 sq. ft. per worker to be more in line with expected market demand. As shown below, this one adjustment results in yields that are 8-9% lower across the growth scenarios which would result in a shortfall requiring property taxes of $115.8M, $143.5M, and, $143.1M, respectively, from low to high growth scenarios.





This review by Ernst & Young was not attached to the Staff report. The City's Staff Report on the financing strategy does not provide any detail on the funding risks cited in the review. 

The only project of a similar scope to be financed using TIF, at least in part, is the $3-billion Hudson Yards project in Manhattan, which includes a subway extension and other infrastructure. According to a May 2016 report released by New York City’s Independent Budget Office, expected development has fallen far short of projections, leaving a shortfall of more than $141 million to be borne by taxpayers.

report on the use of TIFs in Chicago by the Cook County Assessor’s Office found that the financing tool was ineffective:
“Despite the extensive use of TIFs in Chicago there is little empirical evidence of the effectiveness of TIFs in promoting economic growth, while there is some indication that they benefit disproportionately from already occurring growth.”

TIFs strike me as basically a shell game played with City revenues, and it will be residents left footing the bill if Mayor Tory loses this gamble.

Service Frequency
In the main section of the City Staff report, the map below depicts service frequencies for SmartTrack/GO RER.


Service Frequency

The chart below shows Metrolinx's service levels.



The figures in the two charts appear to be the same except for Lawrence East Station in Scarborough. The City states that 7 trains will run every hour, or one train every 8.6 minutes while the Metrolinx chart states that only 4 trains will run every hour, or one train every 15 minutes. It is important to note again that SmartTrack is simply 6 additional station to Metrolinx's GO RER plan. Metrolinx will run the trains and determine service frequency.

The service frequency discrepancy puts other elements of the City's case for SmartTrack into question. The most obvious impact of fewer trains would be a significant drop in ridership. Fewer users could have several ancillary impacts, including lower fare revenue and lower than projected development potential around stations which would further jeopardize TIF revenues.

The Staff report backed up their service frequency claim by citing previous Staff City reports, which are not relevant.

I share Toronto residents’ frustration about the lack of progress on public transit over many decades. Far too often, politics has come before people when it comes to transit planning and the decisions made. I want our city to focus on relieving the existing overcrowding on our subway, bus and streetcar lines and expand our rapid transit network to truly connect Toronto's neighbourhoods.

Ultimately, many residents will continue to be reliant on their cars until we finally have a transit system that is accessible, affordable and actually gets people where they need to go.

On your behalf, I will continue to advocate that we move forward now on building transit that’s based on evidence and focused on Toronto’s real and pressing needs.





M#

NOTICE OF MOTION

Accountability and Transparency in Transit Planning: Authorizing a Judicial Inquiry into Information Provided to Councillors Regarding the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Scarborough Light Rail Line at the July 2016 Meeting of Council


Moved by:


Councillor Matlow

 


Seconded by:


Councillor Wong-Tam

 


SUMMARY:

Briefing Note

1. On July 4, 2016, a briefing note produced by the TTC appeared on CP24 regarding the possibility of moving forward with the SLRT. The contents of the briefing note were cited numerous times by Staff and Councillors during the Council meeting of July 12, 2016.

2. Against Council procedure, the TTC only shared the note with the office of the Mayor and the TTC Chair. 

3. The Briefing note did not say that the SLRT was a project of Metrolinx, nor did it say that Metrolinx would be responsible for the cost of the SLRT as per the still in force Master Agreement.

5. The Briefing note incorrectly inflated the cost of the SLRT by assuming that the start of construction would have to wait until work on the Eglinton Crosstown was completed at Kennedy. However, an April 25, 2012 Metrolinx Board Report states that Metrolinx was explicitly planning to start at the north end of the line first to speed up construction time.

6. The TTC stated that they believed that construction required for the SLRT at Kennedy Station was the "critical path" of the project, meaning that the construction would take longer at Kennedy then the rest of the other construction elements. The TTC did not check this information with Metrolinx.

7. The same 2012 Metrolinx Board Report, states that, at the time, the Eglinton Crosstown was expected to be completed in 2020 and the SLRT's completion date was 2019. These construction timelines required that work occur simultaneously at Kennedy Station to facilitate both projects.

8. Further, Par. 90 of the Auditor General's (AG) report on the briefing note states that the AG contacted Metrolinx staff during their investigative process to determine if changes could have been made to accommodate starting the build of an SLRT at Kennedy Station. Metrolinx advised that:
“There would have been many critical path items on the project (e.g. tunneling, stations), therefore it is not accurate to say that it was a major element on the project. The Kennedy Station was designed to accommodate an extension into Scarborough. If the City decided to proceed with LRT the design would need to be modified. The design was in early stages in 2016, and this likely could have been accommodated.”

9. Par. 100 of the AG's Report states that Bruce McQuaig, former Metrolinx CEO, emails the Andy Byford, former TTC CEO, on June 29 to ask him how the TTC arrived at the $3B cost estimate for the SLRT.

  • Mr. McQuaig tells Mr. Byford that the starting figure of $1.8B should be reduced by $320M. Despite the individual responsible for the SLRT telling Mr. Byford that he was incorrect, Mr. Byford did not change the cost estimate to reflect this information despite ample opportunity.
  • He didn't issue a correction when the briefing note was leaked to CP24.
  • He didn’t change the figure when a revised copy of the note to the Mayor's office almost a week later

10. There was no balancing information regarding the SLRT in the briefing note. An objective analysis of the SLRT should have included, at a minimum, information stating that:

  • capital costs would be borne by Metrolinx
  • provides more stops for a lower cost
  • serves more priority neighbourhoods
  • Could be built faster
  • More advanced stage of design than the subway
  • Would be in its own corridor and capable of travelling at the same top speed as a subway

Misleading SSE Completion Timeline

11. The chart below from the July 2016 SSE Staff Report states that the construction completion date (2025) is contingent upon Council choosing an alignment at that meeting in the third bullet underneath the chart



12. The recommendation regarding the SSE before Council at the July 2016 meeting was: “3.  City Council request the City Manager and the Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Transit Commission to remove from consideration the 3-stop McCowan Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) and continue to develop an SSE Express option, by conducting the following:
a.  retaining the services of a third-party rail transit construction and cost –estimation expert to undertake a risk assessment and detailed review of the TTC's 5 percent design cost estimates for the McCowan corridor and other possible express subway alignment options”

13. The Staff Report presented a completion date and cost that assumed a choice not even available to Council. The recommendation regarding the subway does not provide the option to choose an alignment. The March 2017 SSE Staff Report states that the line will now be completed in mid 2026.

Design Completion

14. During the Questions to Staff portion of the debate on EX 16.1 Developing Toronto's Transit Network Plan to 2031 at the July 12, 2016 Council meeting, Councillor Colle asks the Chief Project Manager for the Scarborough Subway Extension a question regarding the design completion status of the project
Councillor Colle: "And where would the subway be at design percentage of design completion? Around 5 (per cent) I think I've heard?"

Chief Project Manager: "Uh, we're currently at about 5 per cent, yes."

15. The Chief Project Manager's answer is reinforced by the same chart provided in '11' from the Staff Report which states that the cost estimate provided was "developed at approximately 5% design": 



16. These statements from City Staff contradict information provided by consultants after the July meeting.

17. In its TTC Estimate Peer Review of the SSE dated November 4, 2016, Hanscomb provided the chart below which shows the documentation that they used to base their peer review of the TTC's work. Hanscomb notes that they were careful to base their review on the same documentation that the TTC used.



18. The chart indicates that all of the documents were dated after the July 12, 2016 Council meeting except "Technical Memo + sketches 1-22" which relate only to the design of the station. Despite the name, the document only contains 3 sketches. All are hand-drawn.

19. Hanscomb's report states that the SSE was at 2-5% design with all of the documents that were received. That statement conflicts with the statements from City and TTC Staff cited above that the subway was at 5% at the July 12 Council meeting given that the single completed document at that time was related to the design of the station only.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. City Council authorize the City Clerk to establish a judicial inquiry, similar to the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry presided over by Justice Bellamy, to investigate the information provided to Council regarding the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Scarborough Light Rail Transit project in the lead-up to, and at, the July 2016 meeting of Council.

 

 

 


   

RESCHEDULED MEETING: 1951 Yonge Street

RESCHEDULED MEETING: 1951 Yonge Street

It has come to my attention that the scheduled date of Monday April 23, 2018 to discuss the Times Group proposal at 1951 Yonge conflicts with a school meeting about future plans for students at Davisville Public School. In response to a significant number of emails and phone calls from residents concerned that they will be unable to have their voice heard on this development proposal, I have worked with City Planning to change the date of the meeting to Thursday May 10, 2018. I hope this change will ensure that many more members of our community are able to attend this important meeting.

   

City Hall and Community Update for April 6, 2018

Fighting Back Against Overdevelopment and Advocating For Social Services and Infrastructure- Have Your Say On the Times Group Proposal for 1951 Yonge Street

Last year, an application was submitted for two towers (34 and 25 storeys) at the northeast corner of Yonge and Davisville. In their report, City Planning Staff agree with me and the local community that the proposal from the Times Group is completely inappropriate, as it's a significant overdevelopment of the site. As it is currently proposed, the two towers would have unacceptable shadow impacts on the Davisville school field. Of further concern, is the potential traffic impacts to the local community, especially the area surrounding the school. I will fight the most recent proposal to add more traffic onto Millwood.

I am pleased to report that I was successful in moving significant motions to support our community against this development at this week's Toronto & East York Community Council meeting. In addition to ensuring that City Legal and Planning Staff will fight for us at the Ontario Municipal Board, I was able to have additional amendments added that, for the first time, requested that even if a development is approved, that the OMB order construction be halted until the necessary infrastructure and social services are provided:

  • City Council direct the City Solicitor to request the Ontario Municipal Board to withhold the issuance of any order(s) on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment appeal for the subject lands pending confirmation of:
    - necessary transportation infrastructure from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and the General Manager, Transportation Services; and
    - public school capacity from the Director of Education, TDSB
  • City Council direct the City Solicitor to request the Ontario Municipal Board to withhold the issuance of any Order(s) on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment appeal for the subject lands pending confirmation of water, sanitary and storm water capacity from the Chief Engineer and Executive Director, Engineering and Construction Services, and pending receipt of a satisfactory Functional Servicing Report;


These motions were possible, and supported at Community Council, because of the extensive research that has been conducted as part of the Midtown in Focus initiative that has clearly demonstrated what we in Midtown already know: infrastructure and social services have not kept pace with the rapid rate of growth in our community.

The importance of these motions was recognized by the Toronto Star, which published two articles on successive days about this issue. Please see this article on the water capacity motion and this article regarding schools and transportation.

Please Save the Date on Monday, April 23rd at 6:30-8:30PM for a community meeting to discuss how we're fighting this proposal and demanding significant improvements. I'll send an update on the location when it is confirmed.


Toronto Needs a Long-Term Financial Strategy

It is standard practice for full City Council to have an opportunity to debate matters of strategic policy concerning the entire city at various stages in the process. That's why I was very surprised that only the Executive Committee was provided an opportunity to debate, and provide input on, Toronto's Long-Term Financial Strategy. The Mayor's excuse was that it was not a fully developed plan. But it is precisely at this point where full Council should weigh-in and provide direction to staff going forward that is supported by elected officials before investing further time and money.

This seemed unusual, so I looked back through some past Executive Agendas for similar matters of city-wide interest. A cursory look found several equivalent update reports that have indeed come to full Council, including Ex 29.1 - Smart Track Project Update and Next Steps and EX 29.2 - Rail Deck Park - Results of Feasibility Analysis and Next Steps for Implementation. Both items were interim reports seeking Council direction to follow a particular strategic path. Both items were considered by full Council after being presented to Executive Committee. These are just two examples of many.

As your representative at City Hall, I have a duty to represent you on issues that affect the future of our city. In this instance, my opportunity to carry out that duty was denied. If provided that opportunity, I would have stated, on your behalf, that we cannot continue to keep kicking the can down the road in regards to major decisions affecting Toronto's fiscal sustainability. As Staff clearly stated in the report, Toronto will face a $1.42B operating gap in 5 years if we continue on our current course.

We find ourselves in this position because we are making decisions that no other major world city is making. Under this Mayor, Toronto is spending over a $1 billion dollars to rebuild an elevated expressway, and well over $3 billion one subway stop. Further, the Mayor has made these decisions while actively working to not have evidence-based analysis conducted to inform those decisions.

In his report, the City Manager agreed with my previous motions to have Council conduct value for money audits and rank capital projects based on recognized urban planning principles.

We cannot wait any longer to put our city on a solid fiscal path. If the Mayor won't provide that leadership, Council should have had the opportunity to do it for him.

For more information on this issue, please see the second half of this article.

REimagine Yonge

Yonge Street between Sheppard and the Finch St corridor is at the end of its lifecycle - the roadway was last reconstructed in 1975. Last week, Council debated what this section of Yonge will look like for generations to come. Yonge Street is the central transportation corridor and pedestrian promenade within North York Centre, one of four centres that have an important role in achieving the provincial growth objectives of the Official Plan where jobs, housing, and services will be concentrated. While the North York Centre is transforming into a transit-oriented and dynamic mixed-use area, the implementation of the street vision has not been fully achieved or kept pace with this evolution. Inconsistent urban design features, including sidewalks, crossings, and medians, and the lack of dedicated cycling facilities reduce the appeal of the street and present safety risks.
Staff recommended a number of opportunities that would both improve the streetscape and align the plans with Vision Zero road safety policies, including:
  • improving streetscape by including street trees, lighting, paving, and street furniture
  • expanding sidewalks and boulevard widths
  • integrating adjacent parks and public open spaces
  • enhancing the landscaped median
  • improving safety for all users
  • including cycling facilities on Yonge Street
  • improving pedestrian crossing facilities
  • re-configuring right-of-way and traffic lanes


Despite Staff recommendations and overwhelming support from urban experts and city leaders including former Mayor David Crombie and renowned urban planner Ken Greenberg, Mayor Tory supported a more costly option to put bike lanes on neighbouring Beecroft and keep Yonge as a 6-lane thoroughfare.

Thankfully, the vote on this item was deferred until the next term of Council where I hope a more thoughtful approach will be taken.

For more information, please see this Toronto Star article.

To see my speech supporting REImagine Yonge and Vision Zero Road Safety- please start at 1:06.

We Need Relief (Subway Line) Now!

As any resident who rides the subway knows, the Yonge Line is already at capacity. During rush hour at stations like Eglinton, it is common to wait for two or three trains before boarding and once on, you’re crammed in like a sardine.

The overcrowding is most critical at Bloor-Yonge station, which is already nearing capacity, with another 45% increase in users expected over the next twenty years. Even with signal improvements and the new, larger trains, we can’t keep ahead of this growth without expansion elsewhere to alleviate the pressure. That's why the Relief Line was named as Toronto's top transit expansion priority by former Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, TTC CEO Andy Byford,  Toronto's Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and City Manager Joe Pennachetti .

City Council has unfortunately featured transit debates long on rhetoric and short on facts. The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative to our existing subway system that’s already overcrowded during rush hours, curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would be an integral part of a comprehensive network approach that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

For more information and how to take action, please visit this webpage.


Standing up for Tenants

Rental Market Reality

As many of you know, there is a rental housing crisis in Toronto. Vacancy rates have been hovering around 1% in the past year and very few of the limited apartments available are affordable. That’s why I asked City Planning Staff to bring a report on current rental housing market conditions in Toronto. Planning Staff presented Council with a snapshot of the current housing situation that was even worse than most people feared. In fact, as the chart below demonstrates, purpose-built apartment rents increased the most in 15 years and vacancy rates reached the lowest in 16 years.


Transparency called on for Above the Guideline Increases

As many of you know, I have been requesting that the Ontario government eliminate or drastically reform Above the Guideline rent Increases (AGI). While the province's The Rental Fairness Act, 2017, improved tenant protections under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) by eliminating the post-1991 exemption and expanding rent control to all private units, the legislation only removed extraordinary increases in utilities from costs that qualify for above the guideline rent increases.

The RTA still allows private market landlords to apply for a rent increase above the guideline (AGI) if:

  • The landlord did extraordinary or significant renovations, repairs, replacements or new additions to the buildings or to individual units; and
  • The landlord's costs for security services increased, or the landlord began providing security services for the first time

These items should be the basic cost of a landlord's business and should already be covered in the substantial rent tenants pay. To make matters worse, AGI applications made at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) have very limited publicly available data, hindering the City's ability to analyze the impact of AGIs on tenants. A clearer understanding of the scale and scope of AGIs in Toronto would allow the City to better develop programs and policies to meet the needs of residents. That's why I'm pleased to report that my colleagues unanimously passed my motionrequesting the province to publicly release AGI data.


It's Official – Names Approved for Our New Community Parks!

I'm excited to announce that City Council supported our community recommendation to support the naming of our two new parks that are ready to enjoy this spring! Our new park at the former Glebe Manor Bowling club site will be named “Manor Community Green”, and our new park at Manor and Forman will be called “Cudmore Creek Park & Mona Piper Playground”. You can read more about the outcome of the survey and community parks naming process here

Please stay tuned for my "Save the Date" announcement for upcoming park opening celebrations and festivities!

Congratulations Toronto for Being Age-Friendly!

As Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I am delighted to inform you that at the inaugural Age-Friendly Community (AFC) Symposium on March 26th, 2018, the City of Toronto was selected to receive the 2018 Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award. This Award has been established to celebrate the work of Ontario communities that are striving to become age-friendly and to showcase promising practices across the province. I welcome you to come and check-out the award at City Hall!


SAVE THE DATE: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day

On Thursday, May 31st from 4:00-8:00pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd). Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.

Manor Road Co-Op Nursery Turns 80

Manor Road Co-op Nursery School is celebrating its 80th anniversary! Past, present and future families of the school are invited to attend this event. There will be a bouncy castle, crafts, refreshments, tours and a silent auction. Please drop-in between 3:00 and 6:00pm on Saturday April 28th. 111 Manor Rd E (inside the Church of the Transfiguration). For further details please click here. Hope to see you there!

Forest Hill Art Club: 2018 Art Show & Sale

The Forest Hill Art Club (FHAC) invites you to attend their annual art show and sale of member's work from April 27th- 29th at 666 Eglinton Avenue West. The FHAC is closing in on seventy years of providing a space to artists, both amateur and professional who work in a variety of media. For more details, I welcome you to check-out the following webpage.

Bayview Leaside BIA: Public Consultation Meeting & Earth Day Community Clean-up

I welcome you to join the Bayview Leaside BIA team on Tuesday April, 10th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at The Smokin' Cigar (1540 Bayview Avenue), for a public consultation meeting on the Bayview and Millwood Parkette. View the plan, ask questions about the proposed changes and meet our Bayview Leaside BIA team!

Remember to mark your calendars on Saturday April 21st from 9:00am to 12:00pm to attend the Bayview Leaside BIA's Earth Day community clean-up. Rain or shine, I hope to see you at the corner of Bayview and Millwood ready to sweep our streets! Don't forget to bring your own broom! More information on this event can be found here.

Community Clean-Up Days

Spring has finally arrived (at least on the calendar) and it's time to give Toronto a good spring cleaning together! April 20, 21 and 22 are this year's Community Clean-Up Days for schools, businesses, and neighbourhood organizations. You're invited to visit Live Green Toronto to register your local clean-up or to join an existing clean-up.

Please call my office at 416-392-7906 or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I can provide you with free bags for trash and recyclables. I would also be delighted to join you and help clean-up your corner of the community- just let me know the time and location! And of course, please feel welcome to contact me if you need any assistance with organizing your own clean-up event.


SAVE THE DATE: Toronto Council on Aging's Town Hall Meeting

The Toronto Council on Aging and I invite you to attend our town hall meeting taking place on Wednesday May 9th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1985 Yonge Street) to celebrate the age-friendly approaches our local businesses are incorporating in their storefronts. Stay tuned for more details to come!


Have your Say: Consultation on the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB)

TLAB is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that was created last year to replace the Ontario Municipal Board's (OMB) jurisdiction over the adjudication of typically smaller scale land-use planning disputes that are heard through the Committee of Adjustment. The City is seeking your feedback on this newly formed local appeals body by either providing written submissions or attending a public consultation meeting.

The  meeting will take place between 2pm-5pm on Wednesday, April 18th at the Scarborough Civic Centre (150 Borough Drive) in the Council Chambers. Alternately, written submission can be sent via email, fax or by mail. Written submissions without an accompanying oral presentation will receive the same serious consideration as those accompanied by an oral presentation. To make an oral and written submission, a registration form and written submission can be sent by email, fax or by mail to:

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Fax: 416-696-4307
Mail: Toronto Local Appeal Body
40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 211
Toronto Ontario M4B 1R9

All submissions must be received by the Toronto Local Appeal Body no later than Friday, April 6, 2018. For more information on TLAB and its processes, you can access the public guide here.


Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels

Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels is a not-for-profit charity that has served the North Toronto Community for 51 years. Located in the Yonge and St. Clair community at Yorkminster Baptist Church, this volunteer-run charity delivers hot and frozen meals to seniors or adults who are chronically ill, have a disability, convalescing from surgery or illness, or undergoing medical treatment. If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving Meals on Wheels, please call their office at 416-482-0549.


PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: 265 Balliol Avenue Public Meeting

A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 29-Storey residential tower containing 264 purpose-built rental units. This is an infill application on a site with an existing 26-storey residential building. You can view a copy of the preliminary report here

Please join me at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 10 at Greenwood College  (443 Mount Pleasant Road), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE: New Public Space for Cottingham Square

A community meeting will be held about improving the closed-off road allowance between Gange Avenue and Cottingham Street (on the south side of Cottingham Park).

This space will continue to be closed, to prevent traffic from going through the neighbourhood, but we do have an opportunity to make significant improvements to its aesthetics and purpose. I want to ensure that your feedback and ideas are heard before any plans move forward.

Please join me and Cottingham Square Community Association in a conversation with your neighbours at 7pm on Wednesday, April 11th at Trust Daycare (29 Birch Avenue). Representatives from the City’s Public Realm department will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.

City of Toronto Fair Pass Discount Program

Effective April 4th, the City of Toronto is offering the Fair Pass Discount Program to residents receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) assistance who are not in receipt of any transportation supports equal to or greater than $100.

The Fair Pass Discount Program is only available on a PRESTO card (clients must meet eligibility requirements). Cardholders must load money or an adult TTC Monthly Pass on their card to take advantage of the Fair Pass Discount Program. For more information about the Fair Pass Discount Program please click here.


Public Consultation on the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan

Toronto Pearson is fast becoming one of the world’s leading airports. As we meet the demand for air travel, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and NAV CANADA  have been studying Six Ideas that are aimed at reducing noise impacts for residents around the Greater Toronto Area. The technical analysis of the Six Ideas is now complete, and the GTAA and NAV CANADA will be meeting with the community to present recommendations. Public consultations will run from March 3rd to April 20th with 15 sessions being held in communities surrounding the airport. The locations and dates for the community consultations can be found on the Toronto Pearson website.


Toronto's 4th Street Needs Assessment Seeks Volunteers

For the fourth time, hundreds of volunteers, members of community agencies and City staff will take to the streets and shelters to ask people experiencing homelessness about the services they need to get and keep permanent housing. Survey responses help the City shape improvements in current programs and plan for future service delivery. Residents whom are interested in volunteering during the evening of Thursday April 26th are welcome to visit the following webpage to learn more.

Residents Invited to Provide Input on City's Poverty Reduction Strategy

Toronto is a vibrant, prosperous city. It is also a city of growing disparity and inequity ­trends that will challenge its long-term success. That's why in October 2015, City Council unanimously adopted a 20-year plan that includes 17 recommendations focused at improving access to residents who face barriers related to affordable housing, social services, transit, food and quality jobs. The strategy and recommendations can be accessed here.

In the lead up to the strategy's three year launch, the City will be hosting a series of panel discussions to generate public input on the next phase of the City's poverty reduction strategy for the 2018 to 2022 term of City Council.  The #TacklePovertyTO panels will convene on five Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., starting March 12 and concluding April 23. The remaining panel discussions are as follows:

- April 16, City Hall rotunda – Transportation Equity: What are the next steps to achieve active and public transportation equity?
- April 23, City Hall rotunda: Housing Stability – What strategic actions can the City take to address the housing crisis?

You can also provide your input directly to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office by emailing
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hi-RIS Financing Program

Do you own an apartment building with three or more storeys in Toronto? Are you planning to increase energy efficiency, lower utility costs, and enhance tenant comfort?  If so, the City of Toronto’s Hi-RIS program is for you.

Funding is available for a range of improvements including:
- upgrades and replacement of mechanical systems
- lighting and water conservation retrofits
- building envelopment improvements and;
- renewable energy technology

Building owners can access low-cost, fixed rate financing with terms of up to 20 years. This funding is offered for a limited time so inquire soon!

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 416-392-9688 for more information.

17th Annual Community Stewardship Program

The Community Stewardship Program gives residents the opportunity to learn about Toronto's ravines and how they're managed with hands-on activities to keep these places healthy. Volunteers, led by experienced City staff, meet weekly from May – September to plant native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, remove invasive species (a leading cause of biodiversity loss), maintain sustainable trails, and monitor site conditions through citizen science. I welcome volunteers to attend the volunteer orientation on Wednesday April 25th, from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the City of Toronto Archives. Email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to RSVP and to learn more!

Let LEAF Help You Create The Backyard You've Always Dreamed About

With support from the City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro, LEAF offers subsidized planting programs that help residents plant native trees and shrubs in their yards - all at a reasonable price!

LEAF will help you:
  • Assess the conditions in your yard
  • Understand what will grow best
  • Select trees, shrubs, and garden kits that you will love
  • Ensure everything gets planted properly
  • Do it all at a reasonable price
For more information and volunteer opportunities, I welcome you to visit this webpage.









   

Improvements to Pottery Playground

Construction will begin spring (2018) through mid-summer, and ready to enjoy by late summer (weather permitting)! Renderings of splash pad coming soon.

   

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