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 wish you a very, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Happy New Year! And on behalf of my family, Melissa and Molly, along with my Ward 22 team, Blake, Andrew, Chloe and Liz, I wish you and yours our very best for the holiday season.
Hodgson Artificial Ice Rink Update: It's New, Improved and Ready to Open!
I'm delighted to announce that the new and improved Hodgson Artificial Ice Rink will be open ahead of schedule, this Saturday, November 29! I'd like to thank my remarkable community for your patience and understanding as the construction took place, and also for your ongoing advocacy to ensure the rink was a top priority for Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff. I'm planning a community skating party for mid-December to celebrate the rink's opening- I'll update you with details about the time and date in my next enewsletter.
The "Skinnama-Rink" Natural Ice Rink near June Rowlands Park's Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground
I'm continuing to work with Lesley Stoyan and Chris Trussell of AppleTree Markets on getting our natural "Skinnama-Rink" up and running again this winter at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. We're now looking for community volunteers to help flood the rink over the course of the season. Please let me know, by responding to this email, if this is something you would be willing to assist with and I will gladly provide you with more details on how you can support our wonderful community initiative.
Shop the Eglinton Way!
During the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, I believe it's more important than ever to support our local businesses. This Saturday, November 28, the Eglinton Way BIA is participating in the Yellow Pages "Shop the Neighbourhood" campaign. Shop the Neighbourhood is a free national initiative which supports small businesses and reminds Canadians how local shopping makes a difference in all our lives.
Customers shopping the Eglinton Way between Chaplin Crescent and Oriole Parkway may use a free valet parking service. The locations are as follows:
- The Healthy Butcher at 298 Eglinton Avenue W.
- TNT Blu at 388 Eglinton Ave. W.
- One2One Studio at 506 Eglinton Avenue W.
For more information on the festivities, please visit the Eglinton Way BIA website.
Recent Local Flooding
There have been recent watermain breaks, such as one on private property that affected residents of the Brentwood Towers, and basement flooding due to storms on streets across Ward 22 (and throughout Toronto). I have been actively working with City staff on ways to improve both the City's response, and repair or replace the existing infrastructure which is in many cases 60 years or older. If you experience basement flooding, please call 311 immediately.
Holiday Gift Fair at the Central Eglinton Community Centre
The Central Eglinton Community Centre (160 Eglinton Avenue East) will be holding a Holiday Gift Fair on Friday, December 5 from 10 am to 2 pm. Gifts and one-of-a-kind items will be for sale, as well as a bake table, used book sale, door prizes, silent auction and a Snowflake Café.
For more information, please call 416-392-0511 ext. 0 or visit www.centraleglinton.com.
Let's Draw the Lines Together
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review is currently being conducted to ensure that each resident in Toronto is being represented at Toronto City Council. The review is led by an independent team of consultants who will make recommendations to City Council about the size and shape of Toronto's Wards.
In order to give feedback, residents can attend a public meeting or complete a survey online. For Toronto and East York areas, the meeting will take place Saturday, January 10 from 9 am to 12 pm at the Trinity St. Paul's Church (427 Bloor Street West). Learn more about the Toronto Ward Boundary Review project at drawthelines.ca.
Midtown Yonge BIA Poll Results: We're moving Forward!
I'm very proud to have initiated and worked with local merchants on a new Ward 22 Business Improvement Area (BIA) to improve local businesses, our local streetscape and the quality of life in our community. After much great work by the merchants in the Midtown Yonge area, the poll for proceeding with establishing a BIA has been approved. The results are as follows:
- 63 ballots submitted
- 2 spoiled ballots
- 50 ballots in favour
- 11 opposed
The next step is for City Council to officially approved the BIA in the new year.
Local Unicorn Day Care Spaces Saved!
I've been working very closely with Eric Mackey, the director of Unicorn Day Care, to ensure that a new home was found and local day care spaces were saved pending eviction from Brown P.S. I'm so pleased that the Church of the Messiah (240 Avenue Road) will now be the new home for Unicorn Day Care. I will continue supporting Eric through the next steps of the licensing process and will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Little Libraries & Bulletin Boards in Ward 22 Parks
As part of my initiative to improve parks across Ward 22, such as the new playgrounds we've constructed in Charlotte Maher and Forest Hill Road Parks, I'm delighted to announce the addition of a community bulletin board and little library in Oriole Park and June Rowlands Park. If you would like to discuss parks improvements in your neighbourhood, please let me know.
Due to high wind speeds in Toronto this evening, several homes and neighbourhoods have been experiencing blackouts, wires are down and some signalized intersections (such as at Yonge and St. Clair right now) are without power and should be used like 4 way stops.
To keep you informed, I'm sharing with you an email I've received this evening from Toronto Hydro. I'll continue closely monitoring their progress on restoring power to affected areas of our community. Meanwhile, please let me know tomorrow if your home is still without power and if you have not been able to recieve information or assistance from Toronto Hydro. My office and I will support you however we can. Toronto Hydro's phone number is 4165428000.
From Toronto Hydro:
Toronto Hydro has seen the effects of the wind on its system affecting mainly the west and central north parts of the city. At this time, Toronto Hydro is conducting damage assessments, triage, and repairs where safe. Crews will be focusing their initial efforts on public safety calls such as wires down.
Overhead crews cannot work safely in conditions where high wind speeds are present.
As of 8 p.m. approximately 10,000 customers are affected. Weather permitting, the majority of these customers will hopefully be restored sometime this evening. As part of the restoration protocol, Toronto Hydro will restore the largest groups of customers first, and then work to restore the smaller, more localized outages. For some customers, weather conditions may prevent restoration until tomorrow.
Toronto Hydro reminds its customers to be cognizant of dangerous situations, stay clear of downed lines and report them to Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.
Election Day seems like much longer than a couple of weeks ago. I am deeply honoured to serve you here in our community and at City Hall. And we've been busy! I've been focusing on several neighbourhood and specific street priorities, along with city-wide policy initiatives, and will continue to provide you updates as they become available.
I am also very pleased with the new spirit at City Hall. I am impressed with how Mayor-elect Tory has already demonstrated an inclusive and thoughtful approach as he prepares to take office as our next mayor.
The inaugural City Council meeting will be on December 2nd. At the meeting, Mr. Tory will be sworn in, along with the city councillors, and he will name his Executive Committee. While this meeting is largely ceremonial, there is already a lot of work taking place on city-wide issues including tackling gridlock and focusing on transit.
Now that the election period is over, I am able to once again provide more regular updates through these e-newsletters. Please see below for information on some upcoming community events, public meetings and insight into local and city-wide issues.
As the number of people that served in the Great Wars continues to decline, it is increasingly important that our children learn about the heroic actions of Canadian soldiers, lest their sacrifices are forgotten. And it is perhaps just as important for the students to reflect on the freedoms and liberties that our brave men and women fought, and continue to fight, to preserve. It is also important to celebrate the meaningful role Canada plays in the international community as a peace-keeping nation.
As in previous years, I will be marking Remembrance Day at a Ward 22 school- this year at Maurice Cody PS. Sadly, the recent events in Ottawa and Quebec remind us all of the risks that face everyone who puts on a uniform.
May we never forget.
Working With Our New Mayor to Tackle Gridlock and Take Back Our Streets!
During the recent election, I heard from many of you that working together to continue tackling gridlock must be a top priority for this next term of Council. I am pleased that John Tory, our Mayor-elect, has also put improved traffic flow at the top of his agenda. He has signalled that he will move forward with several measures early in 2015 to address the problem.
The long-term solutions to gridlock include building a more accessible, affordable, extensive and efficient public transportation system including a relief subway line. But, in the meantime, there are steps we can right away take to help ensure a faster commute.
The practice of allowing developers to block lanes of traffic for construction negatively impacts motorists, surface transit users, pedestrians and cyclists. This usage of our streets causes bottlenecks, backing up traffic several blocks on major arterial roads, and can lead to inconvenient and, in some cases, unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
In August of this year I moved a motion asking City staff to look at the feasibility of increasing the upfront fee for blocking a lane, to encourage developers to look for alternate solutions that do not negatively impact residents. My motion also proposes implementing escalating monthly fees for blocking a street lane to encourage developers to use a lane for the least amount of time possible.
The long term goal is to eliminate this practice altogether. Developers in New York are able to construct buildings without taking up traffic lanes or sidewalks; we should demand the same in Toronto.
New York has also banned delivery trucks from operating during rush hour. Far too often I see these vehicles parked in the curbed lane with their flashers on backing up traffic for blocks. Last year, I requested the city to develop a system that restricts deliveries to off-peak hours only. The previous administration had little interest in acting on this recommendation.
I look forward to assisting Mayor-elect Tory in any way I can to help get Toronto moving again by stopping developers and delivery companies from taking any more time away from our loved ones.
For more information, please see this Global News item.
Forest Hill Road Park Update
I'm happy to report that the new playground equipment at Forest Hill Road Park is now installed! The play structure strikes the perfect balance of providing lots of play equipment for our community's kids to enjoy, without over-powering the natural character of the park. Completion of the pathways is expected by the end of November to early December, due to weather set-backs and this shady site having remained very wet over past weeks.
Bike Parking for Hodgson Sr. P.S.
Earlier this year, concerns were expressed to me about a lack of bike parking at Hodgson Senior Public School. I met with City staff, school staff and local parents to discuss the possibility of installing bike racks at the school. I was recently informed by staff that this location is now a top priority for the upcoming year.
Hodgson Artificial Ice Rink Update
I'm delighted to report that there has been excellent progress with construction at our community's new and improved Hodgson Rink: the concrete pads have been poured, the hockey boards are now installed and the fencing around the pleasure rink is nearly completed! Barring any unforeseen obstacles, the rinks are expected to begin operating again by mid-December.
Meanwhile, I am also working with Lesley Stoyan and Chris Trussell of AppleTree Markets on getting our natural "Skinnama-Rink" up and running again this winter at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park. We're now looking for community volunteers to help flood the rink over the course of the season. Please let me know by responding to this email, if this is something you would be willing to assist with and I will gladly provide you with more details on how you can support our wonderful community initiative.
Remembrance Day Ceremony at Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Members of the public are invited to attend the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on November 11 beginning at 10 a.m. The event will honour and remember those who have served and given their lives for Canada in times of military conflict and peace. A delegation from Royal Canadian Air Force aviators will parade and lay poppy wreaths to represent our remembrance. The ceremony will be held at the steps of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery Mausoleum.
Made-for-Toronto Local Appeal Body
The Province of Ontario granted the City of Toronto the power to establish a Local Appeal Body (LAB) to hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions on both minor variances and consent applications. The Local Appeal Body would be composed of such persons as the City considers advisable (subject to certain by-laws regarding such things as eligibility criteria and other restrictions). At its December 4th, 2013 meeting, City Council's Planning and Growth Management Committee requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning to initiate a public consultation process on the establishment and implementation of this Local Appeal Body.
In June 2014, Council considered a staff report, including the results of the public consultation and recommended principles to guide implementation of LAB. The item, as amended, was passed at Council in July. I'm deeply grateful to the City's Planning and Growth Management Committee for completing this necessary first step in mitigating insensitive and unsustainable developments in our community and across our city. We now need to continue advocating to completely free Toronto from the OMB's purview with regard to other impactful planning decisions, such as large-scale development in our communities.
Stop Unfair Rent Increases
Our community's campaign to stop unfair rent increases has kicked into high gear. My motion to request the province to eliminate Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs) for basic upkeep and repairs passed Council in February 2014. Please read this Toronto Star article for more information. To learn how you can take action against spiraling rent increases and unexpected fees, please visit my page on AGIs.
Toronto Parent Summit
Toronto Children's Services will once again be hosting a Parent Summit- an opportunity for families to learn more about City services available to them, express their issues and concerns and provide feedback on how we can improve Toronto's child care system. The summit will take place Wednesday, November 19 at the City Hall Rotunda, 100 Queen St. W. There will be an information fair from 4-6 pm, followed by the consultation session from 6:30-8:30 pm. Representatives from Toronto Children's Services, Toronto Public Libraries and Toronto Public Health will all be on hand to talk to parents about programs and services available to them and their children. Parents can register online here or by calling 311 by Tuesday, November 18.
TTC Customer Town Hall
On November 20, the Toronto Transit Commission will be holding a Customer Town Hall at City Hall. This is an opportunity to present ideas, voice your opinion and ask questions of senior leaders at the TTC. Information will also be presented about ongoing progress at the TTC.
The schedule for the evening will be:
- 6 pm to 7 pm – Marketplace – Main Floor Rotunda – Display Area and One-on-One Discussions with Attendees
- 7 pm to 9 pm – Town Hall – Council Chambers – Open Forum
Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive
Churches in Rosedale, Moore Park and Leaside are again sponsoring a Christmas Drive (the 43nd consecutive) to assist local food banks and agencies that are in urgent need of help at this time of year. Flyers are delivered to area households on Saturday, November 22 and donations are then picked up on the following Saturday (November 29). There are two locations – Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH) on St. Clair Avenue East, one block west of Mount Pleasant Road and Leaside Presbyterian Church on Eglinton Avenue, just east of Bayview Avenue.
Times on both days are from 10 am to 1 pm. Donations are sorted and packed at OLPH with same-day delivery to recipient food banks and agencies. In 2013, about 16,000 items were collected and it is hoped to better this figure this year as unfortunately the demand is still great. Upwards of 300 volunteers are required and community hours are available for high school students.
In addition, two local Sobeys stores (St. Clair Avenue just east of Yonge Street and Wicksteed Avenue near Laird Drive) are again supporting this effort by holding in-store drives throughout the Christmas season. These sources typically add another 10,000 to the overall collection numbers.
The Christmas Drive is a fun event for both families and young persons and supports a worthwhile cause to benefit the less fortunate members of our community.
As I have done for the past four years, I intend to continue to ensure you are engaged and kept informed about the issues that matter to you with my regular email updates.
But today, on behalf of my family, my staff and certainly myself, I want to simply say thank you. I really love our community.
I am deeply appreciative of the remarkable support Ward 22 residents showed me yesterday and I am deeply grateful.
With the largest plurality across the city, we truly came together as a community. I am committed to working hard every day to demonstrate that your confidence in me was well founded and my team and I will always be there for you if you need my assistance.
I also very much want to congratulate Mayor-elect John Tory on his well-earned victory. Our community strongly rejected the antics of disrepute and the dishonest politics of division. We chose a more thoughtful, honest, responsible and collaborative direction. We even lead the city with the highest number of votes in the advance polls! I believe we have begun a new era in Toronto.
I am now very excited to get to work with our next mayor and council to focus on our city’s priorities, as I continue to advocate for the many important issues that matter most to Ward 22’s residents and champion the well-being of our neighbourhoods and residents.
Truly honoured to be your city councillor,
Earlier this year, the applicants for the Art Shoppe development chose to bypass the democratic process and take their proposal directly to the OMB. At the pre-hearing, I ensured that our community's interests were well represented by City Planning and Legal staff. The OMB suggested mediation instead of a full hearing.
I worked very closely with the South Eglinton Residents' and Ratepayers' Association (SERRA) and the Quantum Owners and Residents Association (QuORA) representing the nearby condo owners. The results of the mediation was presented as a confidential item to City Council in late August. I am now legally allowed to share the results of the mediation.
The community representatives were able to reduce the proposal from two towers of 38 and 29 storeys to one 28 storey tower on the north side of the site stepping down to a 12 storey midrise on the south side. Also, the building will step down to 6 storeys on the eastern side.
While I would have preferred the entire site to be a midrise building, I believe the community members and City staff were able to achieve the best result possible, given the situation. I, along with local residents, fought hard to mitigate the impact this development could have on the adjacent neighbourhood and condos next door.
We were able to secure 1,100 square metres of new park space on the east side of the building by having the developers give the first two houses east of Yonge street on Soudan over to the City. The City will connect this new park to the existing one on Hillsdale. This park will create a buffer between the new building and the neighbourhood to the east.
Importantly, by lowering the height to 12 storeys on the south side of the development, we were able to help protect Yonge Street, south of Hillsdale, from being developed with heights greater than midrise.
You can see the full details of the mediated settlement here.
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