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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Matlow spoke on tenant issues related to the Residential Tenancies Act, December 18 2013.
Councillor Josh Matlow spoke regarding development charges, October 9, 2013.
I've enjoyed seeing so many of you recently at community events, while I've been visiting local small businesses, meeting residents in the community or simply walking in our neighbourhoods, parks or ice rinks with my family. I'm also happy to tell you that it's been a busy and productive time at city hall with a renewed spirit of cooperation and optimism. That being said, I remain focused on our local priorities and the many real challenges facing our city by taking what I hope is an accessible, honest, determined and evidence-based approach to public policy decisions.
I'm delighted to report that we have two new Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in Ward 22- The South Bayview BIA on Bayview Ave. north of Davisville and The Midtown Yonge BIA between the Beltline and Soudan. It was a pleasure working closely with local merchants to form these associations that will contribute to more vibrant and beautiful main streets and our communities' quality of life. They join our Forest Hill Village, Mount Pleasant Village and Eglinton Way BIAs. Regarding Eglinton, I strongly encourage you to visit these local businesses, especially while the Crosstown LRT is being constructed. They really need our support.
The 2015 City of Toronto Budget
This week, City Council passed Toronto's 2015 City Budget. I commend Mayor Tory for creating the climate for an inclusive and respectful budget process. While I have significant concerns about the City's financial position and priorities, I was pleased that Council made significant investments in areas that I know are important for our Ward 22 community's residents, including:
- Eliminating fares for children 12 years and under
- Restoring evening service to some bus routes cut in 2011 (I will advocate to the TTC Commission for Midtown bus routes to be part of this initiative, including the Mt. Pleasant 74)
- Ten-minute or better bus and streetcar service on busy routes during off-peak hours
- Reduced wait times and crowding at off-peak times
- Expanding the Express Bus network, adding 4 new routes to a network that serves 34 million rides annually
- Expanding the Blue Night Network, adding 12 routes to the 22-route network that serves 4 million rides annually
- Adding up to 2 additional subway trains on Lines 1 and 2 during morning and afternoon rush hours to ease overcrowding
- Allocating additional resources to focus on subway reliability around signals, track and communications systems to help address recent service problems
- Initiatives to Support Children and Youth:
- Expanding the Student Nutrition program in up to 27 new schools
- Creating 3 new Youth Spaces to support marginalized young people
- Expanding the Connect2youth employment and training program
- New shelter for LGBTQ youth
- Creating 8 new planning positions, including 4 new Heritage Preservation staff
- Improving emergency response times by adding 56 new paramedics and 25 fire prevention officers
- Purchasing 60 new subway cars which will help expand capacity on the overcrowded Yonge Line, as well as 810 new 40-foot diesel buses and 195 low-floor accessible street cars
- New shelter beds and enhanced warming centres during extreme weather
- Implementing traffic control and traffic congestion management infrastructure at major intersections
While there are many positive investments contained in this year's budget, I am concerned about Toronto's financial position moving forward. Prior to this year's budget, the Provincial government announced it would no longer transfer "pooling" funds collected from 905 municipalities to Toronto to offset the cost for social housing that was downloaded after amalgamation. The City essentially "borrowed from itself" with debt financing to cover the $86 million hole this move created. As well, it was recently announced that Metrolinx presented Toronto with an over $90 million bill for work related to the Union-Pearson Express project.
I believe that income, sales and other taxes that grow with the economy, collected by senior levels of government, are more appropriate tools to fund redistributive social programs and major capital infrastructure projects than municipal property taxes. The City's current program and infrastructure needs are too much of a burden for the City's property tax base.
Mayor Tory has signalled that he will work with the Province and the Federal government for a new deal that will see fair funding for Toronto. I will support Mr. Tory in any way I can, to help him in this pursuit. The status quo is unsustainable and doesn't achieve enough results.
I'll be serving Toronto as Chair of City-School Boards and Tenant Issues Committees
I want to thank Council's Striking Committee for recommending me as Chair of both the new City-School Boards and Tenant Issues Committees. Mayor Tory supported my motions for the creation of these two important bodies. I look forward to working with the mayor, councillors, trustees and Queen's Park in my new roles on important school board-related issues such as potential school closures, protecting green space, creating community hubs, and for tenants, challenging Above the Guideline Rent Increases, and many others.
Ultimately, I'm working to make government work better, smarter, and more comprehensively rather than in silos.
I'll be sure to provide you with information through this e-newsletter on meetings of these committees, once dates and agendas are set.
The future of Yonge and Eglinton: The Midtown Secondary Plan Public Meeting
As residents are all too aware, the Yonge-Eglinton area is facing tremendous development pressure. An application for another tall building is seemingly submitted every week in this Urban Growth Centre while the subway's getting more crowded. That's why we're initiating a review of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan, aimed at improving and expanding our community's public spaces, as well as the area's social and physical infrastructure. The review will also seek to strengthen the City's built form policies in the area.
Please join me on Monday, March 23 from 7 pm to 9 pm at Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Blvd, Room 224) for a public consultation to learn more, ask questions and provide your feedback.
March Break at Toronto's Historic Sites
Spadina Museum and several other historic sites in Toronto will be open all week during the March Break for drop-in activities. For more information on family fun offered by the City during the March Break, please visit the City of Toronto's Arts and Culture website.
2015 Wiesenthal Scholarships
This year, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies will be offering 7 education scholarships for students pursuing post-secondary educations. Each scholarship is worth $3,600 and the application deadline is April 30.
For more information, please visit www.fswc.ca/scholarships.
Free Consultation and Referral Service for Seniors
Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground Public Meeting- Let's make it even better!
On Wednesday, March 25 at 7 pm, please join me to discuss your vision for an improved and expandednSharon, Lois & Bram Playground at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff will be in attendance to present different options for an upgraded playground, including unique musical features. Other improvements to the park will be discussed as well.
The meeting location is in The Lodge at Greenwood College School (443 Mount Pleasant Road). I hope to see you there!
Toronto Community Housing Tenant Representative Elections
Tenant Representative Elections are taking place on March 26 in Toronto Community Housing buildings across the city. Tenant Representatives work to advocate for the interests of tenants in their buildings at Neighbourhood Tenant Councils, to identify issues in their buildings and keep tenants informed about the Neighbourhood Tenant Council.
Come Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the Hon. Carolyn Bennett!
On Sunday, March 15th from 4 pm to 6 pm, please join me, my family and our local MP, the Hon. Carolyn Bennett, for her annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Unicorn Pub (175 Eglinton Avenue East).
This year's event will feature live Irish music by multi-instrumentalist Loretta Reid and guitarist October Browne. Light snacks will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!
To ensure that you are informed and engaged about development proposals that are being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage with locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Working with Mayor Tory on Restoring Water Service
This February has been one of the coldest on record. As a result, Toronto Water has had an unprecedented number of calls from residents with No Water Service due to either frozen pipes or broken watermains.
I am extremely frustrated with how the response has been handled by the City. Many residents have been without water for several days, and it has been incredibly difficult to get any accurate information from staff for residents or my office. There have been families with small children and even entire buildings affected by broken or frozen pipes.
Earlier this week I brought this forward to the Mayor's Office and suggested that Toronto Water be provided the proper resources to effectively communicate with residents who have no water and, more importantly, to ensure that their water service is restored as soon as possible. I also spoke directly with Toronto Water's General Manager about our concerns.
On Wednesday the Mayor and the General Manager of Toronto Water announced that a special SWAT team has been established to help residents with no water service as a result of frozen pipes. I deeply appreciate Mayor Tory's genuine attention to this matter and see this as a good first step. However, I believe there is much more that will need to be done to effectively serve, and communicate with, residents.
For more information on the Mayor's announcement, please visit the City's Newsroom website.
Toronto Hydro Outage Communication Program
To keep you informed about hydro operation and customer service concerns in our community that might affect you or your neighbourhood, Toronto Hydro is developing an outage communication program to be used during power outages caused by severe weather.
For more information, you can register at https://outages.torontohydro.com/.
REMINDER: 2015 City of Toronto Budget Community Town Hall Meeting
On Tuesday, March 3rd at 7 pm, I will be hosting my 2015 Budget Town Hall for Ward 22 residents. The meeting will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room at the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (200 Eglinton Avenue West).
The City of Toronto's budget will affect virtually every City service and your feedback is very important to me.
If you would like more information on the proposed 2015 City of Toronto Budget in advance of my Town Hall meeting, please visit the City of Toronto website.
Upcoming Mosaic Home Care Services Events for Seniors
This spring, Mosaic Home Care Services will be hosting a number of wonderful events.
Wine, Women and Keeping our Wits: A Conversation on Brain Health with Joanne Tandoc from the Alzheimer Society of Toronto will be held on Thursday, April 23 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Caring for our Parents, Today and Tomorrow: A conversation with leading Canadian expert in Geriatric Care, Audrey Miller, will be held on Thursday, May 21 from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm. Both of these events are free and will be held at the Verity Club on Queen Street. A light meal is included.
Please also feel welcome to join Mosaic for a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum on Friday, April 24 from 9 am to 1:30 pm. The cost is $10.00 per ticket and a light lunch is included.
For more information on these and other upcoming events, please call 416-322-7002 or 905-597-7000. You can also check out Mosaic's website at www.mosaichomecare.com for further information.
Toronto Takes First Steps to Implement 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. In Toronto, 25% of children live in poverty as well as 1 in 5 adults. Poverty is both deep and pervasive and continues to be concentrated in specific groups and neighbourhoods. That's why City Council unanimously adopted recommendations to develop Toronto's first Poverty Reduction Strategy in April 2014.
I am pleased that Deputy Mayor McConnell has included additional supports to help protect tenants from unfair rent increases, and targeted assistance for marginalized youth including mental health resources and safe after school spaces. Both of these initiatives build on motions that I initiated during the previous term of Council.
For more information, please see this presentation to the Budget Committee by Deputy Mayor McConnell.
Improving the Committee of Adjustment Process
I have heard from many of you that the Committee of Adjustment process needs to be improved. Frustration has been expressed about a number of issues, including the inadequacy of public notices and the quality of the Committee members. Earlier this week, Staff brought a preliminary report to Planning & Growth Committee titled Committee of Adjustment Continuous Improvement Initiatives with the goal of improving transparency, accountability and public engagement, as follows:
a) Expand the public hearing notice area beyond 60 metres of the subject site
b) Extend the timeline for the delivery of the public hearing notice beyond ten days
c) Improve the manner, form and content of the public notice and sign
d) Explore alternative means to engage surrounding neighbours prior to the hearings;
e) Improve the training and on-going professional development of Committee of Adjustment members
f) Require a City Planner to be on hand during public hearings of the Committee to answer questions from Committee members and the public
g) Consider audio-visual recording or audio recording of Committee of Adjustment panels
h) Develop a public participation strategy, including the development of a comprehensive guide to ensure that the public is well informed about Committee of Adjustment processes, as well as how to effectively engage in Committee hearings
I will provide updates as work toward improving the Committee of Adjustment moves forward and notify you when there are public consultation opportunities.
Taking Action on Saving Toronto's Heritage
As you may have seen, Heritage Toronto recently released its State of Heritage Report. However, just a few days before its release, a motion was moved at Budget Committee that would eliminate eight positions and reduce funding to the City Planning department. These positions were originally recommended to enhance area studies, Heritage Conservation District (HCD) plans, and strategic initiatives.
The motion was approved at Budget Committee, and is now a part of the recommended Budget. However, the Budget still must be reviewed by Executive Committee on Monday, March 2nd before moving on for final approval at City Council on March 10th. The full motion is here.
We should be working to better protect Toronto's built heritage before it's completely dismantled, piece by piece. That's why I'm taking action to find ways to strengthen our heritage policy framework.
I am happy to report that City Council adopted my motion earlier this month, asking City Planning staff to report back to Planning and Growth Management Committee on several options for establishing a more proactive and comprehensive approach to how heritage preservation is practiced in our city.
I am also delighted to have been recently appointed to the Toronto Preservation Board. I look forward to working with my fellow board members to protect Toronto's remaining heritage. We've lost too much already.
Relief Subway Line Public Meeting - Your voice is needed!
A public meeting to discuss plans for a new relief subway line will be held at Christ Church Deer Park (1570 Yonge Street) on Thursday, March 12 from 7 to 9 pm. This meeting is an opportunity for you to learn more about the plans, to provide input and to discuss the study with the project team. I hope to see you there!
If you would like more information about the exact route, potential stations or expected timing of the project, please visit reliefline.ca. To learn about how you can advocate for this evidence-based subway expansion project, please click here.
Central Eglinton Community Centre Income Tax Clinic
Do you need help filing your income tax return? The Central Eglinton Community Centre is offering a free income tax clinic from March 2 to April 24. The clinic is by appointment only and will be available weekdays, weekday evenings, and Saturdays. To book an appointment, please phone 416-392-0511 ext. 0.
Free Open House Art Fun!
Come and visit the Avenue Road Arts School (460 Avenue Road) on Tuesday, March 10 from 10 am to 6 pm and see what everyone is talking about. The beautiful Victorian building is home to some of the most creative and fun art classes and art projects in Toronto.
Parents or caregivers and children 3 to 10 years of age are welcome to come see the school and try their hand at a fun art activity for free! Art Teachers will be on hand to lead kids through fun art and drama activities. Please note: this is not a drop off program. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. No pre-registration is required.
For more information, please contact the school at 416-961-1502 or visit avenueroadartsschool.com.
Toronto Public Health Measles Update
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is investigating an outbreak of measles in Toronto. As of February 10, there are six confirmed cases of measles; a source has not yet been identified. TPH recommends that all Toronto residents check their immunization records and ensure that their measles vaccination is up to date. For more information about vaccination, please visit the City of Toronto Website. If you have any questions regarding measles exposure or immunization status, please call Toronto Health Connection at 416-388-7600 (during business hours) or 3-1-1 (after hours).
City of Toronto Recreation Programming
Registration for spring and summer City of Toronto community recreation programs, including summer camps, begins at 7 am on March 11 for the Toronto and East York districts. Older Adults (60+ years) who register for adult programs receive a 50% discount. Please call 416-338-4386 or speak with staff at a City community centre for more information on how to register.
To explore recreation program options, visit the City of Toronto Website or pick up a FUN Guide at City Hall, civic centres, community centres and libraries. Many community centres offer free recreation programs, including leisure swimming and skating, and drop-in programs for children, youth and older adults. More information about free and low-cost programming options is available here.
Toronto Youth Cabinet - Welcome to City Hall Day
On Thursday, March 19, the Toronto Youth Cabinet's Community Engagement Working Group is hosting a Welcome to City Hall Day for youth groups all through the March Break. The event will take place from 11 am to 3:30 pm at City Hall, and will be a great opportunity for local youth to find out how City Hall works and to contribute in interactive civics workshops. Participant slots will be provided on a first come, first served basis. TTC tokens and student tickets can be provided for groups, if needed. Lunch will also be provided for all participants and youth staff.
Bill Bosworth Memorial Award
Mothercraft is now accepting nominations for the 2nd Biennial Bill Bosworth Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions, leadership and innovation in the provision or development of services to families with young children in the City of Toronto. The award is open to volunteers, professionals and students who work in the fields of early learning, early intervention and family support, and who exemplify Bill Bosworth's ability to think big and do bigger.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5 pm. The recipient of the Bill Bosworth Memorial Award will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and will be presented with the award at a special ceremony on June 15, 2015. For more information about the award, nomination criteria and to download the nomination package, please visit www.mothercraft.ca.
Clean Toronto Together 2015 - Registration Opens March 2
Online registration for the City of Toronto's Annual Spring Clean up opens on Monday, March 2. Visit the Clean Toronto Together campaign website on March 2 to register your Community, Corporate, or School clean-up events.
This is an opportunity to get together with friends, family, coworkers and classmates to clean a park, laneway or any other space that needs your help. Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover will take place on Friday, April 17 at 2 pm. Community Clean-up Days can be planned for Saturday, April 18 or Sunday, April 19. Please visit livegreentoronto.ca or call 311 for more information on how to get involved.
Upcoming Wildlife Open Houses
Taking precautions and developing awareness is important to prevent conflict between humans and wildlife. The City is hosting a series of wildlife open houses in March to strengthen residents’ understanding and prevention of human-wildlife conflict. The open houses will offer valuable information on how to wildlife-proof your home, how to keep garbage bins safe from wildlife, how to deter a coyote from your property, and rules and regulations concerning the treatment of wildlife.
To keep you informed about development applications in our community that might affect you or your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive map on my website. I hope you will find this to be a useful reference.
For the second page of my letter, please see below.
Keeping you updated regarding community and City Hall issues is a top priority to me. When there are emergencies such as last winter's ice storm or today's power outage, I work to ensure that you have current information on what actions are being taken.
Since learning of the power outage this morning, I have been communicating throughout the day with Toronto Hydro. I was recently advised that there are only three buildings without power, of 8,000 initially affected. I will continue closely monitoring the situation until every resident has their power restored. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel welcome to contact Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.
I hope you have a very enjoyable and, most importantly, warm Family Day weekend!
At 10:30 am today, power went out from Eglinton south to Wellesley and Spadina east to Yonge. With the extremely cold weather that's been forecasted for this weekend, I was very concerned and immediately contacted the Office of the President of Toronto Hydro for an update.
I've been advised that both Toronto Hydro and Hydro One crews are on site and are working to determine the cause of the outage. While we don't currently have an estimated time for the restoration, I can assure you that crews are focused on the restoration process. As soon as I receive further information from Toronto Hydro, I will let you know.
If you are aware of a senior or anyone else affected by the power outage that is on their own without access to the internet, TV or radio, please consider checking in on them.
February 10, 2015
Dear Mayor and Council,
Re IA 3.1- IA3.5 Administrative Inquiries on Scarborough Subway Extension
I submitted five Administrative Inquiries (IA 3.1 – IA 3.5) under Municipal Code S27-61 to obtain information not yet presented to Council on the Scarborough Subway Extension.
I appreciate the City Manager and Staff taking the time to respond to my questions.
Please see the accompanying recommendations that request some of the Administrative Inquiries to be received, as the answers were satisfactory, while I have made the request for others to be referred to Executive Committee for additional input and clarification from staff.
I very much hope that you agree that thoughtfully reviewing facts, and considering impacts on the City’s budget, should be a basic part of how Council considers public policy, including transit expansion. I respectfully request that you support an opportunity for councillors to collect relevant and important information at Executive Committee.
Please review my recommendations below:
To be received:
IA 3.1: Metrolinx Sunk Costs Associated with Scarborough LRT
Council directed the City Manager to report back on negotiations with Metrolinx on the sunk costs re: Scarborough LRT cancellation. The City Manager has informed Council that an audit on the Metrolinx sunk costs has been completed by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the City is in the final stages of negotiating the agreement with Metrolinx. I look forward to seeing the City Manager's report to the Budget Committee on these costs as part of the 2015 budget process.
IA 3.3: Scarborough Subway Extension Study Area
The City Manager has clarified that the boundaries of the study area were determined by possible routes for the subway as opposed to a full assessment of transit options in the corridor. My primary concern is that SmartTrack, given the GO line’s proximity to the potential subway extension corridors, is considered when assessing the ridership of the Scarborough Subway Extension. The City Manager has assured Council that will occur.
To be referred:
IA 3.2: Operating and Capital Maintenance Costs for the Scarborough Subway Extension
The City Manager has clarified that $30-40 million was for annual capital maintenance costs only. Operating costs have yet to be determined and he was unable to provide an estimate. Given the potential annual effect on the TTC's operating budget and the associated tax increase, I believe that it is important to receive more information on this issue. Given that the TTC operates several other subway lines it does not seem unreasonable for staff to at least provide an estimation based on per kilometre operating costs elsewhere in Toronto's network. This information will be critical as we prepare for subsequent City budgets.
IA 3.4: Discrepancy between number of trains and projected ridership
As reported in the Globe and Mail in July of 2014, there was a discrepancy in the July 2013 staff report between the number of trains budgeted for and the service level (and associated ridership) stated to be provided. The City Manager has addressed the reasoning behind offering a reduced number of trains through the Scarborough Subway Extension, but has not answered how 120 second headways would be achieved with the lower vehicle compliment.
IA 3.5 Ridership Projections for the Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension in CC 7.17- Scarborough Rapid Transit Options
Between January of 2013 and July of the same year, City staff inflated the ridership projection for the Scarborough Subway Extension from 9,500 passengers per direction in the peak hour (well below the level needed to justify a subway) to 14,000 using the same metric – which brought ridership to the cusp of justifying a subway. Staff admitted that this was a "preliminary" assessment, yet this higher figure was cited by staff at both the July and October 2013 council meetings as reason to opt for the higher capacity transit option.
I appreciate that the City Manager provided the names of the models and that he informed Council that Staff were unable to use the more robust projection model due to time constraints. However, there are still some basic and outstanding questions related to what assumptions planners made, and how they made them, about the rest of Toronto's transit network and train frequency cited in AI 3.4 that merit explanation.
- City Council request to receive IA 3.1, IA 3.3
- City Council request that IA 3.2, IA 3.4, IA 3.5 be referred to Executive Committee
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22- St. Paul's
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