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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 August 24, 2016

 


Action Needed to Improve Rail Safety

 

This past weekend there was a derailment on the CP line that forms the southern boundary of Ward 22. Luckily, no one was hurt and emergency crews moved quickly to contain a small diesel spill. However, this incident highlights the need for action to improve rail safety on this line that runs through the heart of some of the country’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. This should serve as a wake up call.

 

This is an issue of critical importance to myself and my colleagues on Council. In 2014, Council supported my motion calling on the federal government to take action on this issue. Earlier this year, those efforts were renewed with a letter to Transport Minister Garneau, signed by the mayor and many other Councillors.

 

I have been pleased to see that Minister Garneau and local MPs have shown genuine attention to this issue. This past spring, MPs Chrystia Freeland and Carolyn Bennett held a Town Hall with the Minister in attendance. In the wake of this most recent incident, Minister Garneau stated that he would act swiftly to address our community’s concerns.

 

Along with active community members, like those at Rail Safety First, I will continue to advocate for the reasonable and proactive steps to protect the public and immprove rail safety we've requested from the federal government.

 

For more information, please see this recent Toronto Star editorial.


Public Open House to Discuss Future of Davisville School Site and Community Hub

 

As you may know, I successfully moved recommendations at city council to move forward with a Community Hub, with public recreation space including a double gym and swimming pool, at Davisville PS.

 

Please join Trustee Laskin and myself next month for an open house to discuss the future of the Davisville PS site andf provide your feedback on the new Community Hub, which was approved last month by City Council, the school rebuild, and the child care facilities.

 

Where: Hodgson Sr Public School (Gymnasium) - 282 Davisville Ave


When: Tuesday September 20, 7pm – 9pm


Another Opportunity to Comment on the Toronto Ward Boundary Review

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR) team is seeking feedback from the public, stakeholders and Members of City Council on two items outlined in the Toronto Ward Boundary Review Additional Information Report:

· REVISED OPTION 2 which has 44 wards and incorporates the refinements suggested during the TWBR public consultation process in August - November 2015; and;

· A WARD OPTION that is aligned, where possible, with the boundaries of the 25 federal and provincial ridings.

This information was requested by the City of Toronto Executive Committee at its meeting on May 24, 2016. Based on the input received, a TWBR Supplementary Report will be prepared and submitted to the Executive Committee meeting on October 26, 2016.

Participate

There are two ways to provide comments:

• Complete a survey
• Attend one of four public meetings happening this September (visitwww.drawthelines.ca for details)

Sept 14th, 20167-9pm. Metro Hall

Sept 15th, 20167-9pm. Scarborough Civic Centre

Sept 19th, 20167-9pm. North York Civic Centre

Sept 21st, 20167-9pm. Etobicoke Civic Centre


Project Background & Timeline


From July 2014 to February 2015, the TWBR conducted a civic engagement and public consultation process to collect opinions on Toronto's current ward alignment to ensure that wards have more equal population sizes. Currently, they are very disproportionate across the city.


The results informed the development of five options for re-aligning Toronto’s wards. A second round of the TWBR’s civic engagement and public consultation process solicited feedback on these options between August and November 2015. The TWBR Final Report (May 2016) summarized the TWBR process and recommended a new ward structure.


More information can be found at www.drawthelines.ca

Full Program for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016 Announced

 

The City of Toronto today released the complete artistic program for the 11th edition of Nuit Blanche Toronto. From 6:58 p.m. on Saturday, October 1 until sunrise on Sunday, October 2, the streets of Toronto will be transformed by nearly 90 contemporary art projects created and presented by more than 300 local, national and international artists.

 

Please click here for the full program. More details on the City-produced exhibitions are available via the event backgrounder here. Preview four videos featuring each exhibition curator here.


The Important Work Progress Place is Doing in Our City


I was delighted to take a tour of Progress Place and find a very advanced model for mental health recovery that has been running successfully in downtown Toronto for more than 30 years. Open 365 days a year, serving 3 meals a day to members across the GTA, they have over 170 people working at the Church/Wellesley location every day. The focus of Progress Place is to help people living with mental illness get back to work and school. Their system is simple, effective and has a very high social return on investment.

If you are an employer, you may want to take a look at their Transitional Employment program that provides entry level workers, fully trained, selected and guaranteed 100% attendance. A wonderful program that removes the interview stress from the employee and removes the aggravation of hiring, rehiring and training for entry level positions from the employer.

If you have a friend, colleague or loved one who could use help, or if you are able to offer support of some kind, I recommend a tour of Progress Place to see this extraordinary program for yourself. For more information, please feel welcome to call Georgina Patko at416-323-0223.

Updated Ward 22 Development Page

To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.

My Proposed Developments webpage has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans.

Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.caClick here to read my previous city hall and community updates.

 

Toronto Tenants, Make Your Voices Heard! Consultation on Landlord Licensing Starts Next Week

Dear Residents,

 

As the Chair of Toronto’s Tenant Issues Committee, I encourage all of our city's renters to make their voices heard as the City begins consultation on Landlord Licensing next week.

 

I have been working with tenants from across Toronto, tenant advocates, Acorn and the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants' Associations on an initiative to hold landlords accountable for keeping their multi-residential buildings in good repair. Some already do, and recognize their responsibilities, but far too many do not.

 

Our goal, in advocating for Landlord Licensing, is to see that all Toronto tenants have safe, clean and healthy homes that have adequate heat, functioning appliances, and are free of bedbugs. In short, the basics for a good quality of life.

 

After many months of hard work, I was pleased that the vast majority of my colleagues at Council voted to move forward with consultation on a new licensing framework.

 

Municipal Licensing and Standards Staff are now seeking public input to develop a new program to support tenants. The intended goals of the program are to promote best practices in building maintenance, strengthening enforcement of property standards violations and improving tenant engagement and access to information.

 

Tenants and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute to:

  • Developing the goals of the new program
  • Identifying recommendations related to:
    • current challenges and/or gaps in regulation
    • proposed development of a multi-residential rental property licence
    • rules governing the operations of multi-residential rental properties, such as building maintenance and cleaning plans
    • enhancing the current building audit program and enforcement of property standards violations
    • Improving public access to information about rental buildings, identifying other opportunities, options and ideas to improve living conditions in rental housing

The City will hold five consultation meetings to obtain public input:

  • Wednesday, August 17: Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 308/309, 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Saturday, August 20: Broadlands Community Centre, 19 Castlegrove Blvd., 11am-1pm
  • Wednesday, August 24: Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall, Meeting Room 1/2/3, 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Tuesday, August 30: Domenico Di Luca Community Recreation Centre, 25 Stanley Rd., 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Wednesday, August 31: Scarborough Village Community Centre, 3600 Kingston Rd., 6:30pm-8:30pm

Staff are developing a survey to provide opportunity for further input. More details are available here.

 

Please contact Intiaz Ruffudeen at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 416-338-3478, if you have any questions.

 

For more information please see this news article.

 

Thank you for making your voice heard.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

City Hall and Community Update for July 15, 2016

Midtown Community Hub Approved at City Council!

 

I am delighted to announce that, at long last and many years of work, City Council overwhelmingly supported my motion to build a Midtown Community Hub as part of the Davisville PS rebuild. The Hub will provide new and much-needed recreation opportunities for our community including:

  • A 3-storey, approximately 30,000 square foot city-owned Aquatic Centre
  • All-purpose community room
  • Expanded double gym in the new Davisville PS open to community on evenings and weekends

Today’s announcement is a result of over five years of hard work in partnership with the Midtown Hub advocacy group and other local residents/parents, Trustee Laskin, City and TDSB Staff. Construction is expected to start after the new school is completed in 2020.

 

The Midtown Community Hub is a significant part of our strategy to provide more services and public space for our rapidly growing Midtown community-- and comes along with recent Ward 22 parks and playground improvements, new green space acquisitions, affordable childcare spaces and more that we've invested in.

 

I believe that we should be planning for our resident's quality of life in a great community, rather than just more condos. Today, we took an important step forward.


Council Rejects Evidence-Based 24-Stop LRT Network for Scarborough and Approves a One-Stop Subway

 

In a deeply disappointing move, Council voted for a one-stop subway and rejected my motion to redirect funding toward a;

  • 7 stop LRT using the existing, traffic-separated RT corridor to link STC and Centennial College to Kennedy Station on trains with the same top speed as a subway (80 km/h), and;
  • 17-stop extension of the Eglinton Crosstown through Kennedy, serving Kingston Rd, UofT Scarborough and several neighbourhoods in between

As I noted in last week’s newsletter, these 24 stops could have been built for the same City commitment as the one stop. Aside from the one-stop, all other transit proposals (including the Relief Subway) in the approved plan remain unfunded aside from studies.

 

There is no doubt that new, fast-moving transit of some kind needs to be built to serve the Scarborough Town Centre as the current SRT is factually nearing the end of its lifespan. While I believe that the wrong decision was made by Council, I also believe it would unreasonable at this point to do nothing. Scarborough needs our support.

 

Therefore, I intend to work constructively with my colleagues to ensure that the subway (even if its not my preference) is built as efficiently as possible. I can also assure you that I will continue to advocate strongly for evidence-based transit planning while being thoughtful with tax dollars.

 

I hope that Council can learn from this mistake and move forward with transit projects that best meet the urgent needs of all Toronto residents.

 

For more information, please see this article and this editorial.


Yonge-Eglinton Planning Review Moving Forward

 

City Planning provided a significant update to Council on the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan review this week. The current study, which I have been working closely with city staff and the Midtown community on,  looks at growth, built form, hard infrastructure and social services in our community, and is the second phase of Midtown in Focus, our new public space Master Plan for Midtown.

 

This study will inform the development of up-to-date policy that will guide growth in the area and, in combination with necessary capital upgrades identified through the review, support the vitality and quality of Midtown Toronto. I frankly wish this had been done decades ago, but I am pleased that we are taking action, and moving forward, with this critical work now to improve the quality of life in our growing community.


Working Together to Address Seniors Issues at All Levels of Government
As Toronto's Seniors Advocate, I met with Ontario's (now former) Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs, Mario Sergio, to discuss a wide array of priorities to Toronto's seniors. At this meeting, we also agreed to organize a Seniors Summit to celebrate the proclamation of Seniors Month, the achievements of the Ontario Seniors Strategy and Toronto Seniors Strategy so far, and discuss next steps to continue to improve the lives of our growing elder population.

 

I am happy to report that our Toronto Seniors Summit held at Toronto City Hall on June 18 was a great success!  Thank you to the Honourable Laura Albanese, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Dr. Samir K. Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network; representatives from the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, Lezlie Lee Kam, Chair of the Senior Pride Network and City staff for your participation.

 

City of Toronto divisions and community agencies were also present at the event to share information about services and resources available to seniors. Attendees also learned about ethno-cultural and LGBTQ-specific services and initiatives.

 

Overlapping the Seniors Summit was the appoinment of a new provincial Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla. I was very pleased to meet with Minister Damerla (she's wonderful) last week and look forward to working closely together with her to build upon our respective seniors strategies and develop new, exciting initiatives to celebrate and support our diverse elder population.

Me and Dipika Damerla, Ontario's new Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.

Council Supports Improved Road Safety Plan; More Work Needed to create a true "Vision Zero" Strategy

 

Council took a significant step toward protecting pedestrians and cyclists this week with an improved Road Safety Plan. While I still think there is a great deal more we must do to keep our friends and families safe on our roads, the increased $12.2-million in new funding announced before this Council meeting is welcome after the underwhelming original version released last month. Altogether, the Plan will provide the Transportation Services Division with $80 million over the next five years to implement measures that will help reduce the risk of serious collisions, including:

  • “watch your speed” radar signs
  • street lighting improvements
  • longer pedestrian crossing times
  • creation of “pedestrian safety corridors” in areas notable for serious collisions which would be targeted for safety measures like lower speed limits and no-right-turn-on-red provisions.
  • 50 mid-block pedestrian crossings
  • 100 new audible crossing signals to 20 intersections per year

These measures are borrowed from the “Vision Zero” strategy concept which shares responsibility for safety becomes with street designers as well as users. This approach recognizes that the built environment can be improved to mitigate and, hopefully, avoid the impacts of inevitable human error.

The City’s implementation strategy is based on three main pillars:

  • Design - Traffic calming measures cited above plus others found in the report
  • Enforcement - Toronto Police will be reporting back with enhanced enforcement including increased funding and staffing
  • Education - Aggressive driving and distracted driver campaigns

I will continue to challenge city hall to go further to support road safety, what must be a top priority, in every part of Toronto.

 

For more information, please see this article.


Game On!: Ball Hockey Ban Finally lifted

 

I am happy to report that City Council voted to end the ban on street hockey. I was happy to get the "ball rolling" with my initiative in 2011 which assisted Councillor Carmichael-Greb, whose motion finally helped us reach our "goal" this week. Sorry about the puns, I couldn't resist :)

 

The previous and unnecessary by-law sent the wrong message to our children, who we are encouraging to go outside and play, instead of staring at screens all day. I am pleased that we can now say “Game on!” to children in our neighbourhoods.

 

For more information, please see this article


No Trespassing, No More at Our Community's New Public Park. Now, Let's Design it Together!
Enjoying a celebratory removal of the private property signage at our new City-owned park space with local residents, including the remarkable Derek Tilley!
As many of you are aware, a developer purchased the Glebe Manor Lawn Bowling Club property (196 Manor Road East) from the Club’s Board, with the intent to build townhouses on the site. That's why I was delighted to report that my motion directing Parkland Acquisitions staff to negotiate with the owner to purchase the property for the City was successful. While the City was not able to acquire the entirety of the former lawn bowling club, 4/5ths of the site (1,138m2) will now become a public park with only one proposed townhouse.

 

 

Keeping this space green is very important to our community. That's why I worked closely with local residents and City Staff to acquire this property since this issue came to my attention over two years ago. This has been a very difficult challenge but we were resolved to create a park.

 

 

I look forward to continuing to work with the local neighbourhood residents to design the park shortly. I'll send out a community consultation notice when we're ready to proceed with the creative design phase!

 

 

Today’s announcement is part of our strategy to address the dearth of green space in our growing Midtown community. This includes the acquisition of a new park last year at Manor Road United Church (240 Manor Road East), which also avoided another townhouse development on local green space.


Review of City of Toronto Grants - Share Your Ideas

 

In Fall 2015, City Council approved a refocussing of the Community Investment Funding programs. The Community Investment Funding programs are time-limited, project-based funding totalling $3 million. The purpose of this review is to ensure that the grant programs advances the City's Council-approved strategic directions, find ways to better support new and emerging community groups, and respond to the changing needs of the community sector.

 

The City wants to hear feedback from grass-roots groups and organizations in order to generate practical ways to strengthen grant making. Staff want ideas on all grants processes, including making it easier for both grassroots and larger groups to apply for funding, what the City's role would be in providing resources to strengthen groups to fulfill their mission, what the range of project grant amounts should be, and how long projects should be funded.

 

Your input will reshape the current grant programs and processes to make them more accessible, transparent and accountable. A staff report of recommendations gathered from input will be presented to Council for approval in fall 2016 and the new grant programs will be launched in 2017. The grants budget of $3 million will not be reduced as a result of the review.

There are three different ways to share your ideas:

 

Community Investment Strategy Review Survey (fill out information about your group's needs by clicking here) Roundtables for Community Groups (register by clicking here) Community Town Hall (on September 27; to get your feedback on the draft staff report based on input from the Survey and Roundtables. Register by clicking here.)


 

Residents Invited to Help Shape the Future of Toronto's Ravines

 

The City of Toronto has been working with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and consulting with the public and a wide range of stakeholders since early 2015 to develop a strategy on Toronto's ravines.

 

To date, a vision and set of principles and actions have been developed to represent the core ideas and values that will guide the City in future decision-making related to ravines. Before finalizing the principles and recommendations, the City would like to hear from the public.

 

All Torontonians are invited to provide input by participating in the upcoming Ravine Strategy pop-up consultation. Some have already taken place, but please see below for upcoming dates:

 

Sunday, July 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Thompson Memorial Park (behind museum along main path), 1007 Brimley Rd. Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Environment Day in Ward 1, Albion Centre, 1530 Albion Rd. Saturday, July 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Junction Farmers Market, 2960 Dundas St. W.

 

As additional sites may be added, residents are encouraged to check http://www.toronto.ca/ravinestrategy for the most up-to-date schedule as well as more information about the strategy.


Updated Ward 22 Development Page
To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.
My Proposed Developments webpage has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices.
Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue
West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue).
These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans.
Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).



For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.caClick here to read my previous city hall and community updates.

   

Let's Move Forward Now with a 24-Stop Rapid Transit Network for Scarborough

Dear residents,


Many of you know that I have been advocating for an evidence-based transit plan in Scarborough for several years now. For those who haven’t been following recent developments, if you thought a 3-stop subway for $3.56 billion was a bad idea, Council might actually choose to build a single subway stop rather than a 24-station LRT network for Scarborough.


The Plans



The $3.2 billion 1-stop subway shown in the map above would provide fast service from Scarborough Town Centre (STC) to Kennedy Station. It would also eliminate the need to transfer at Kennedy Station. But Scarborough is a big place, comprising 35% of Toronto’s land area. What about the rest of Scarborough that would be left on the bus?



For approximately the same City funding, we can choose instead to build 2 LRT lines. One would have 7 stops using the existing RT corridor to link STC and Centennial College to Kennedy Station. This project is part of the signed Metrolinx Master Agreement, and would be mostly funded by the provincial government. Then, with money saved by moving forward now with the approved LRT, Council could fund a new 17-stop extension of the Eglinton Crosstown through Kennedy, serving Kingston Rd, UofT Scarborough and several neighbourhoods in between.



I include this picture of the Centennial College station as a reminder that the 7-stop LRT will go through its own corridor on trains that have the same top speed as a subway (80 km/h).

 

Who Are We Building Transit For?

Combined, the LRT lines would provide rapid transit to the 96,200 existing residents and employees who are within walking distance of a station. That's 6 times more than a 1-stop subway. The 24 LRT stations’ geographic coverage better matches the needs of residents who want more than just to leave Scarborough.


As this map demonstrates, 48% of trips are local compared to just 23% ending downtown. The peak hour ridership for the subway is projected at 7,300 passengers, which is higher than the current RT but less than half the capacity of the LRT which is capable of handling 16,000 passengers per hour in one direction. Further, ridership projections for a 1-stop subway predict almost 8,000 fewer daily users in 2031 than the current 5-stop SRT has now.

These numbers suggests that the subway will run empty most of the day. While people want transit to get them to work or school in the morning, they also need transit to go shopping, see a movie or visit with friends and family.

As Toronto Star report Ben Spurr notes, the LRT network also does a better job of delivering transit access to marginalized communities by serving 25,900 people living in 5 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) and 3 former Priority Neighbourhoods. The 1-stop subway would only serve 1,700 NIA residents.

 

Development Potential


This slide from a City Planning presentation illustrates the potential of the STC precinct by overlaying the area’s street pattern (red), and boundary (blue), on a map of downtown Toronto. Tasked with providing a planning rationale for a subway stop, the City's Planning staff have developed a remarkable proposal for the area that would transform STC’s parking lots and ring roads into a more urban, pedestrian-friendly street grid.


It is unfortunate that some have falsely created an exclusive causal relationship between this visionary plan and the 1-stop subway. That’s simply misleading. The LRT would have more than double the capacity to serve projected ridership and its east-west alignment would better facilitate expansion of the STC area with an additional stop at McCowan – a flaw in the subway plan that City Planning already identifies in its report shown below.


This chart cites the enhanced development potential of an extra stop in the eastern portion (McCowan Precinct) of the STC area as being an advantage of a subway route along the current RT corridor.



As the above map shows, the 7-stop LRT is already planned to travel in the corridor used for the current RT and has a stop in the McCowan precinct of the STC area. That's one of the reasons why our Chief Planner previously stated that an LRT, rather than a subway, would better stimulate economic development, while also serving more low-income residents as well as students.


(If you are unable to click and play the embedded video above, please use this link)

 

“Torontonians just want us to start building something”


The suggestion implied by users of this now familiar refrain is that the 1-stop subway will be faster to build than the LRT. The recommendation before Council suggests otherwise:


“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”


Three important points that I think are worth highlighting in that recommendation: first, moving forward with the 1-stop option will require going back on the previous 3-stop plan. Second, the one stop subway is only at the 5% design stage. Finally, Staff are recommending that alignments other than McCowan be explored. In short, no one is going to pick up a shovel and start digging a tunnel after the vote, if Council chooses the one-stop subway.



It’s also important to note that Staff are presenting a completion date and cost that assumes a choice not even available to Council. The above chart states that the 1-stop subway will be in service by 2025, assuming that Council approves an alignment next week. But, as previously mentioned, the recommendation regarding the subway does not provide that option. This is a significant discrepancy that must be cleared up before Councillors vote on this issue.


The 7-stop LRT, on the other hand, was at 100% design stage and shovel-ready in 2010. In fact, it was originally slated to be in operation for the Pan Am Games last year. However, circumstances have changed since then and two changes will have to be considered.


The first, and most significant, is a redesign of the LRT platform at Kennedy Station.



The diagram above, depicting the 7-stop LRT in red at the “concourse” level, is from the 2010 approved Environmental Assessment. After Council rejected the plan in favour of a 3-stop subway in 2013, Metrolinx allowed for the Eglinton Crosstown terminus (in blue) to take the concourse level. While a different alignment would be required (the Crosstown is east-west while the Scarborough LRT is north-south), the obvious solution is to run the 7-stop LRT from the subway level. The change would involve additional design work but it would result in a further improved transfer to the subway.


The other change required would be at Lawrence station. The LRT shares the same corridor with the Stoufville GO line for a portion of its 7.6 km. An additional commuter station at Lawrence was recently announced as part of GO RER/SmartTrack at the same proposed site of the LRT stop. There is a strong possiblity that having both stops in the same place would either not be technically feasible or justified from a ridership perspective. I would anticipate that this issue would require some investigation from City Staff and Metrolinx, but it doesn’t strike me as a particulary complex issue.


The two issues cited above will require some additional work but, even with those revisions, the LRT is inarguably far more advanced than the subway. Perhaps that’s why someone found it necessary to release a TTC briefing note earlier this week that presented some rather unrealistic scenarios that made the possiblity of a return to the 7-stop option seem more difficult than it needs to be.


The most egregious suggestion was that construction on the LRT could not begin until the Crosstown Station at Kennedy was finished in 2021, making the completion date late 2026. With all due respect to the TTC, this makes no sense. There has been no explanation, reasonable or otherwise, provided as to why construction couldn’t start on the other 7.6km of the route first. Start at Sheppard. Start in the middle. Start anywhere else. Finish at Kennedy Station. Or, given that the Crosstown platform would be constructed on top of the LRT platform, it is reasonable to think that work could be done on both at the same time.

 

Cost Considerations


The same briefing note used the later construction date to escalate the costs of the LRT to $3 billion due to inflation, creating sticker shock amongst some members of Council. This stated rise in cost is misleading. An escalated cost due to inflation does not mean an increase in the real cost. The value of the commitment remains constant.



As shown in the Master Agreement, the provincial government committed its project funding in 2010 dollars. Paying the inflated cost of that contribution in the year of expenditure does not change the impact to the Province in real terms.


Of more importance, and notably absent from the TTC briefing note, the LRT is a provincial project.



Queen’s Park is responsible for both the initial capital costs and, as shown in this section of the Master Agreement (Page 95 – Schedule G), the ongoing maintenance costs as well.


There is some disagreement as to whether the City would be responsible for operating costs. The wording in the agreement seen above states that the TTC will operate the LRT “under contract with Metrolinx”. The agreement further states that “an operating agreement between Metrolinx and the TTC will be prepared…on commercial terms”. It seems clear to me that Metrolinx will pay the TTC to operate the LRT, but others are steadfast in alternative interpretations.


Either way, all of the ongoing costs associated with the subway will be Toronto’s responsibility.



The above chart shows the 60-year Life Cycle costs (2016 dollars) for the 1-stop subway. The City will be responsible for $1.76 billion in recapitalization costs (replacing tracks, signals, trains, tunnel segments, etc) and $1.087 billion in operating and maintenance costs.


To be fair, let’s say that the operating costs for the LRT would be borne by the City. And, because the operating and maintenance costs aren’t broken out, let’s say that the maintenance costs are a very low percentage of the $1.087 billion. Together, that leads to a very conservative estimate of $2 billion in ongoing costs the City will have to pay for the subway that it would not be responsible for with the LRT.

 

Priorities


When we choose to build large infrastructure projects that benefit relatively few people, like the underused Sheppard subway, poorly planned Union-Pearson Express (UPX), and unnecessary Gardiner East rebuild, there is less funding available to serve your real needs.


A 24-station LRT network would not only provide more transit for Scarborough residents but would also leave an average of at least $33 million extra every single year for the next 60 years available for daycare spaces, youth recreation programs, parks, libraries, and affordable housing.


Despite a steady diet of populist rhetoric, the project isn’t even that popular. Poll after poll shows that Scarborough residents see through pandering statements, caring more about whether new transit will take them where they need to go rather than the type of vehicle.


Council will meet on July 12 with an opportunity to put people before politics. Let’s move forward move with 24 stops for Scarborough.

   

City Hall and Community Update for June 17, 2016

Scarborough Transit Plan Rises Another $1 Billion

 

At a press conference this morning, Mayor Tory announced that his transit plan for Scarborough will cost $1 Billion more than previously estimated. Earlier this year, he said he'd like to put the brakes on the $3.56 Billion three-stop subway in favor of a one-stop subway to Scarborough Town Centre and an 18 stop Eglinton Crosstown East extension to the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus with the same funding.

 

This will require reopening the master agreement between the City, TTC and Metrolinx that currently moves forward with the fully-funded, 7- stop, Scarborough LRT that would run in its own traffic-separated corridor.

With the one-stop subway now set to cost $2.9 Billion, it appears that there will not be enough left over to build the Crosstown East LRT. Given the number of other real capital priorities facing our city, including social housing repairs and numerous transit lines, I cannot support this project.

 

Rather, we must move forward with the shovel ready 7-stop Scarborough LRT, connecting to the Scarborough Town Centre, that would serve far more people for far fewer tax dollars as part of a network approach to transit planning. This would include the relief subway line and waterfront transit.

 

For more information, please see these articles from the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.


REMINDER: The Toronto Seniors Summit is Tomorrow!


June is Seniors' Month and I am delighted to invite you to join me, as Toronto's Seniors Advocate, at the Toronto Seniors Summit!


Date: Saturday, June 18


Time: 10am – 2pm


Location: City Hall, Council Chamber & Members Lounge


The event will be a half-day summit for provincial, municipal and community partners, including:

  • an overview of seniors strategies by the elected officials of Toronto and Ontario
  • a seniors celebration of Toronto's recent World Health Organization designation as a Global Age-friendly City
  • an open discussion of what seniors can do to advance their needs and interests in their community and combat ageism
  • an informational opportunity with City Divisions and community partner info booths
  • Some remarkable entertainment!

You may register for the event here or by calling 416-392-3999.


I encourage you to come, support and participate! Make your voice heard.


Luminato Festival Panel Talk on the Condominiumization of Toronto


Next Wednesday, please join me for a panel discussion on the proliferation of condo development throughout our city and the impact it will have on communities like Midtown Toronto in the future.


Hosted by Luminato Festival, Rise & Sprawl: The Condominiumization of Toronto will take a critical approach to the condo design and development process.


Including myself, the panelists are:

  • Hans Ibelings (Lecturer at University of Toronto)
  • Alex Josephson (PARTISANS)
  • Eve Lewis (Woodcliffe Landmark Properties)
  • Nicola Spunt (Partisans Architects, Panel Moderator)

This is also an excellent opportunity to check out the Hearn, which is a revitalized industrial generating station, turned cultural hub.


I welcome you to join me on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 5–6:30 PM, The Hearn (440 Unwin Avenue, Toronto) in "The Side Room".


More information about this event can be viewed here. For all 2016 Luminato Festival events, click here.


I hope to see you there!


Heritage Toronto Recognizes the Imperial Plaza Murals



I was delighted to participate in the official Heritage Toronto plaque unveiling for the remarkable Imperial Plaza murals yesterday!


The Imperial Oil building is an architectural landmark of Ward 22, and of the City of Toronto. It's been wonderful to see new life being brought to the building over the past few years.


Fun fact: this building’s design first appeared as part of a proposal submitted in 1955 for Toronto’s new City Hall. An international competition was later organized, and Viljo Revell's "spaceship" design was retained. And so, Toronto got not one, but two exceptional buildings!


I'm so pleased that the two murals in the lobby by York Wilson, "The Story of Oil," were retained during the conversion of the structure from an office building to a residential and commercial space. The murals are not only master-pieces in their own right but important works of public art.


Also, this momentous recognition signals just one instance of an exciting reinvention of the St. Clair West corridor (between Yonge Street and Avenue Road).


At Glenn Gould Park, I secured funds to improve the playground equipment and enliven the space, including design features that will give a nod to the brilliant, internationally-renowned pianist and local resident after whom the park is named.


Moreover, Slate Asset Management's recently acquisition of eight properties in the area, including all four corners of Yonge & St. Clair, should provide a rare opportunity to cohesively rejuvenate the St. Clair corridor.


Please click here for a National Post article about the golden past of this Midtown neighbourhood and the exciting future of artistic intervention and urban regeneration that awaits!


Eglinton Way BIA Scavenger Hunt


Please join me this Saturday (June 18) between 12pm - 4pm for the annual Eglinton Way BIA Scavenger Hunt!


There will be two registration locations: Castlewood & Eglinton Ave beside Shoppers Drug Mart; and Highbourne and Eglinton beside Crosstown Coffee.


This year's prize draw will benefit the Oriole Park PS Playground fundraiser. Tickets for the prize draw will be sold the day of the event along Eglinton Avenue West.


The Scavenger Hunt grand prizes are:

1st prize: $1000 gift certificate to Ontario Resorts
2nd prize: $500 gift certificate to Medieval times
3rd prize: TBD (value of $250)


The Eglinton Way will be animated with lots of lively entertainment during the event, including a sidewalk with everything from massages and eyebrow therapy to cold juices on sale.


Come discover all that Eglinton has to offer!


Bayview-Leaside BIA's First-Ever Sidewalk Sale


I hope to see you on Saturday, June 25 for Sidewalk Sensation, the Bayview-Leaside BIA’s first summer event!


Explore all the sensations the street has to offer – unique and lively sounds, sights, aromas and tastes.


Stroll through the tree-lined sidewalks to visit all the patios, specialty shops and retailers along Bayview Avenue from Davisville to Soudan. Entertainment will include live Latin jazz music, a strolling acoustic musician, face painters, chalk art as well as a kid’s craft event.


The event will run from 10am to 5pm. For more information, please see the event flyer here.


Celebrate Canada Day with Ward 22's Local MPs!


On Friday, July 1st you are invited to join Ward 22's two Members of Parliament, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Rob Oliphant, at their respective Canada Day events.

 

MP Bennett's annual picnic will take place once again at Wells Hill Park (470 St. Clair Avenue West at Hilton Avenue) from 12pm to 2:30pm and will include face painting, live music, dance troupes, family friendly activities and a barbeque.

 

MP Oliphant will be hosting two Canada DAy events: A Canada Day Picnic with the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, MPP from 12pm to 3pm at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute (135 Overlea Blvd) and a Canada Day Eid Bazaar from 3pm to 9pm at R.V. Burgess Park (6 Thorncliffe Park Drive).

 

Come join in the celebrations!


REMINDER: 29-31 Pleasant Blvd. Development Proposal Public Meeting


A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a seven story office building at 29-31 Pleasant Blvd.


This meeting will take place at 7pm on June 20th at Elliot Hall, Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street (entrance off of Heath Street West).


To speak to the planner directly, please contact Kevin Friedrich at 416-338-5740 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.


REMINDER: 55-65 Broadway & 89-101 Roehampton Avenue Development Proposals Joint Public Meeting


There will be two public meetings held on the same night for two separate development applications. They will both take place on June 28th at the Best Western Hotel, 808 Mount Pleasant Road, in the Eglinton Room on the 2nd floor.


A rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct two 45 storey residential buildings at 55-65 Broadway Avenue. This meeting will be from 6:30pm-8pm.


A separate rezoning application has been submitted to City Planning to construct a 36 storey rental apartment building at 89-101 Roehampton Avenue. This meeting will be held from 8pm-9:30pm.


To speak to the planner directly, please contact Giulio Cescato at 416-392-0459 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also, you may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto On, M5H 2N2.


Updated Ward 22 Development Page

To ensure you are informed and engaged about development proposals being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage.

My Proposed Developments webpage has recently been updated to reflect current development applications and, as always, contains locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Additionally, the map now shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre surrounding Yonge and Eglinton, as well as the designated Avenues (portions of Eglinton Avenue West, St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street, Mt. Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue). These are all areas where the Province is directing growth. Clicking on any of them will provide links to more information about the ward's Avenues/Urban Growth Centre, as well as links to the City's Official Plan and local secondary plans.

Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.caClick here to read my previous city hall and community updates.

   

The Toronto Seniors Summit is this Saturday!

June is Seniors' Month and I am delighted to invite you to join me, as Toronto's Seniors Advocate, at the Toronto Seniors Summit!


Date: Saturday, June 18

Time: 10am – 2pm

Location: City Hall, Council Chamber & Members Lounge


The event will be a half-day summit for provincial, municipal and community partners, including:

  • an overview of seniors strategies by the elected officials of Toronto and Ontario
  • a seniors celebration of Toronto's recent World Health Organization designation as a Global Age-friendly City
  • an open discussion of what seniors can do to advance their needs and interests in their community and combat ageism
  • an informational opportunity with City Divisions and community partner info booths
  • Some remarkable entertainment!

I encourage you to come, support and participate! Make your voice heard.

Josh

   
   

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