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 email@example.com.
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 hope you had a great summer and my best wishes to every parent and student who is either going back to school or is perhaps going to school for the first time.
As we arrive in September, I'm organizing campaigns for the autumn that will focus on improving public transit by advocating for moving up the timeline to finally build a Downtown Relief Subway line to better connect the city for all residents and relieve congestion on our existing system, reform Above the Guideline rent increases that put an unfair burden on renters and continue to campaign to finally free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
I am also following up on the many initiatives I've already presented to Council including the creation of a City/School Boards Task Force, making sense of parking enforcement, legalizing scooter boulevard parking, prohibiting delivery trucks (and other vehicles) illegally parking and stopping during rush hours, Toronto's new Seniors Strategy, moving on the Roots of Youth Violence, and coordinating traffic signals and curbing gridlock, to name just a few.
Locally, I am working with residents to fight for the kind of development that respects our city's official plan and communities, improve parks and public spaces, closely monitor city works projects across ward 22 along with the Avenue Road repaving and Rathnelly watermain improvements, calm traffic and speeding in our neighbourhoods, protecting heritage buildings and respond to the many emails and phone calls I receive every day about a myriad of issues that are important to each person who contacts me.
Please see below my most recent report to you that includes, along with several other updates, a list of neighbourhood meetings I'll be hosting across Ward 22 to hear directly from you about your priorities.
To our community's Jewish community, I wish you a Shanah Tova.
ps- For those of you who've asked, I'll be moving a motion at the September 10th Community Council meeting to name the playground at June Rowlands (Davisvlle) Park, "Sharon, Lois & Bram" Playground. I'll have more details for you soon about when we'll have an official opening along with a community concert by the iconic group!
Upcoming Neighborhood Town Halls with your city councillor
Hosting and attending community meetings and other events in Ward 22 is very important to me to both engage and inform residents. I'm always pleased to meet with residents and hear what they have to say. Throughout the fall, I will be hosting a public meeting in every Ward 22 neighborhood. Please save the dates for the September meetings listed below. If you don't see your neighbourhood lisited below, I'll be posting upcoming dates and locations of meetings in a following e-newsletter as they are confirmed. I hope to see you there!
South Eglinton and Davisville Village: Wednesday, September 11th from 7 to 9 pm
Davisville Public School Gymnasium, 43 Millwood Road
Chaplin Estates and Oriole Park: Tuesday, September 17th from 7 to 9 pm
Oriole Park Junior Public School Gymnasium, 80 Braemar Avenue
Making a Tech-friendly Toronto by creating more free wi-fi public spaces
I'm bringing an initiative to city hall to create more free wi-fi spaces across the city. Read here for more information.
Misleading ads by some condo developers
Please click here to read more about actions I'm taking to ensure that condo developers disclose whether or not a proposed development is actually approved when advertising and selling units. Here is a copy of the motion I moved at Council.
Improving Winter Maintenance in Toronto
Following the large volume of snowfall experienced this February, I wrote a letter to Transportation Services that proposed several improvements to snow removal in Toronto.
Transportation Services staff have been developing ways to enhance communication with residents, 311 staff, other City of Toronto staff, and contractors in order to improve cooperation and awareness during severe weather.
The use of GPS technology is proposed to be expanded in order to aid with the management of contractors. The contractors who experienced issues during the last major storm were met with in order to discuss beneficial changes for future incidents. Issues experienced were primarily related to ploughing difficulties due to both the volume of snow and obstructions. Opportunities to provide cheaper off-street parking as snow hits are also to be reviewed, as this would help ease issues.
This spring, Transportation Services also planned a comprehensive external review of the City’s winter services. The review included topics such as snow operations planning, snow ploughing and de-icing techniques, equipment, communications and the use of parking prohibitions and emergency declarations, with recommendations based on national and international best practices.
I am advocating for these changes to have a positive impact on the flow of services provided when severe weather hits the city again.
Toronto East York Community Council
Please click here to read the agenda for the upcoming September 10th agenda. There are several items affecting Ward 22 that I'm working with residents on including local development issues and creating safe crossings along the Beltline Trail.
New proposed boundaries for the St. Paul's federal riding
New boundaries for our federal riding have been proposed. If they're put into effect, this means that the St. Paul's riding will change at a federal level.
The new federal St. Paul's riding boundaries would be between Dufferin Street and Avenue Road, spanning from Eglinton Avenue W. to Bloor Street W.
The new Mount Pleasant riding would be from east of Avenue Road to Bayview Avenue, and Broadway Avenue south to Wellesley Street.
To see a map and view a more detailed description, you can visit the web page here.
Wheelchair-accessible picnic tables
A constituent of Ward 22 has written to me concerning wheelchair-accessible picnic tables within the city, after coming across one in the McCaul Street Parkette. These picnic tables are part of a collaborative project put together by the University of Toronto and the City of Toronto.
I think the tables were a great gift to the surrounding community, and these sorts of tables should be available as an option throughout the city. Accessibility is crucial in ensuring that those with disabilities have access to the same services and opportunities that the city offers to as able-bodied individuals. Wheelchair accessibility within the parks in Toronto is no exception.
You can check out the existing table, with one side which folds up allowing for wheelchair access, at Orde Street and McCaul Street.
Volunteer Fair at the MNJCC, September 23rd 10 am – 2 pm
This month, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre will be holding a volunteer fair for the 55+ community. With a general focus on the environment, the fair will be a great resource in helping seniors get in touch volunteer organizations that could use their experience and time.
The MNJCC is located at 750 Spadina, right across from the Spadina subway station. For more information on programs and events, you can visit the web page here.
Toronto Renovates Program
Toronto Renovates is a program developed by the City of Toronto to assists eligible affordable rental housing and rooming house landlords to make essential health and safety repairs and accessibility modifications to their buildings. Toronto Renovates operates on a first-come, first-served basis and offers grants up to $3,500 and forgivable loans up to $10,000.
The City is currently working with the federal and provincial governments to secure new funding for the program. For more information about the program and for eligibility, you can visit the web page here.
Upcoming Workshops and Consultations for Proposed use of jets at Billy Bishop Airport
Over the past several months, I have heard from many Toronto residents expressing their views about Porter Airlines' proposed use of jets at Billy Bishop Airport (BBTCA). The City of Toronto is currently undertaking a review of the request to amend the 1983 Tripartite Agreement between the City, the Government of Canada and the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), which would permit the landing of commercial jets at BBTCA.
A number of workshops are being held this month to discuss the potential impacts related to this proposal and to provide the public opportunities to participate in the discussion. Workshops are being held on September 4th and 9th and a Town Hall meeting is being held on September 12th.
For more information on these events or to fill out an online survey, you can visit the web page here.
Upcoming Meeting to Discuss Revised Changes to the Draft Official Plan Policies on Economic Health and Employment Lands
Between January and March, City of Toronto staff received input from a citywide consultation program on employment lands. City staff are holding presentations and open houses on September 19th to discuss these proposed policies with the public.
To review the proposed policies or to find other information on the employment lands review, you can visit the web page here.
Since I was elected to City Council in 2010, I have been working closely with our communities, experts and City staff to develop the new City of Toronto Seniors Strategy, a proactive, holistic and inclusive initiative that seeks to create a truly accessibly, respectful and age-friendly Toronto.
In this spirit, I am delighted to share Toronto's first age-friendly grocery guide with you. This has been created specifically for Ward 22 residents. I've prepared this guide to help connect older adults with local businesses that provide age-friendly services in our community including deliveries, discounts and many other accommodations.
Special thanks to New York City Council Member Gale Brewer for inspiring this project.
You can download the guide as a PDF file and print it from your home computer or the library. You can also view it in your web browser as an image by clicking here. And please feel very welcome to call me at 416 392 7906 if you are unable to print the guide and I will send one to you in the mail.
I hope this finds you well and that you're enjoying the summer. Along with spending some time with Melissa and Molly this month, my staff and I are working on several community priorities and preparing a number of important policy initiatives for the city council's autumn session.
I do hope you find my latest update to you both interesting and informative.
Metrolinx puts Scarborough transit improvements work on hold
The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, announced yesterday that they will be stopping all work on the Scarborough LRT project due to the Mayor and Council's irresponsible decision to pursue an unnecessary, unfunded 3 stop subway extension in Scarborough. The provincial government has clearly stated that they are not providing any new funding in addition to the $1.4 billion already allocated for the LRT and the federal government has not indicated that any new funds will be made available. Toronto's mayor and council have also voted to raise the city's debt by over half a billion dollars, and property taxes to service that debt, during this year's budget process to (in my opinion) fund the wrong subway project. In fact, Toronto's evidence-based next subway expansion project should be the DRL, as our current system is already facing capacity challenges. And for the time being, it sadly appears that Scarborough residents will be stuck on a bus instead of receiving a fully funded, 7 stop, traffic-separated Light Rapid Transit Line that would serve more residents. I still have hope that things will get back on track.
Public Works in Toronto
While it is certainly is frustrating and can be an aggravation, most residents recognize that repairs to our city's infrastructure are necessary. In fact, our community would be upset if these needed projects weren't completed. However, we expect that it be done well and that does not excuse the poor communication and coordination City Transportation has exhibited for many years on several projects throughout the city, including on Avenue Road.
Please see my website for the latest updates on the Avenue Road permanent road repair project. I am also closely monitoring works in Rathnelly, Chaplin estates and throughout Ward 22.
Honest Advertising for Proposed Condo Developments
While Toronto's planning process provides forums for resident participation, many community members are under the impression that a development has already been approved due to misleading advertising. At the beginning of the application review process, local residents are generally confronted with on-site, billboard, print and other advertising depicting a building that will be "coming soon" with no mention of a municipal approval process, opportunity for citizen input or that the rendering can be altered. My motion, passed by Council this spring, asks the province to require that developers ensure that a quarter of their advertising clearly state the factual status of their proposal. The City is waiting for the province's decision.
Ontario Government Launches "Stepping Up"
This summer, the Province of Ontario launched Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed. It was developed in response to a recommendation in the comprehensive Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and the Honourable Roy McMurtry. Youth violence is a serious priority for Toronto residents. I strongly support implementing the recommendations in the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence and welcome this contribution from the provincial government.
As I have written to you in my recent updates, I am leading my colleagues at City Hall to take action to address youth violence in Toronto. In July, my initiative to create a Youth Equity Framework was approved by City Council. Using the Framework, City staff are developing a strategy for September so that all City departments and community stakeholders are on the same page, working together to support the most marginalized youth in Toronto who are most likely to be involved in or victimized by violence.
Help Keep Intersections Safe!
If you see a stop sign or traffic signal obstructed by trees or summer vegetation, I urge you to report your sightings by calling 311 or by visiting 311's website. Be sure to include a specific location by providing details such as the nearest cross-street(s) and any other information which may be relevant in order to clear the obstruction efficiently. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe by reporting dangerous vegetation growth!
A New Mural for the Beltline
This past year, Friends of the Beltline have devoted considerable efforts to getting a mural painted on the Eglinton Avenue underpass. This accomplishment is sure to make a bright and welcoming improvement to the underpass and will fit well with our community's green space! Be sure to check out the mural the next time you're on the Beltline Trail.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved who worked hard to make this happen, notably Ward 22 resident Donna Koegl and Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff.
Eglinton 2020 Annual General Meeting
This year, the Eglinton 2020 Annual General Meeting is being held at the Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Blvd.) on Wednesday, August 14th, from 6:30 to 8 pm.
Eglinton 2020 brings together diverse groups, businesses and individuals who wish to discuss the impact of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT on the community and commercial life along the Eglinton corridor. This year's guest speaker, Edward J. Levy, will speak about the history and implementation of rapid transit in the Toronto region.
Live Green Membership Survey
The Environment & Energy Division of the City of Toronto is conducting a survey about the Live Green Toronto Membership Card program. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback will help to identify ways to enhance the program, which offers great deals at over 450 businesses.
As a thank you for participating by August 20th, you will be entered to win great prizes such as gift certificates for local businesses. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential.
For more details and to participate, please visit the survey link. The Live Green Toronto team thanks you for your support and all that you do to create a cleaner, greener Toronto!
TTC Notice of Construction
From mid-August 2013 to May 2014, there will be construction on the west side of Yonge Street just north of Merton Street. Construction will occur weekdays between 7 am to 4 pm. The construction includes a new building that will support equipment for the subway signal system and upgrades. This will help make the subway system more reliable and efficient for its daily riders.
The TTC originally wanted to close down a lane of Yonge Street southbound traffic for construction purposes, however I did not support this. As a result of positive discussions I had with the TTC, this lane will now remain open. However, the on-street parking spots and the sidewalk on the west side of Yonge Street will be temporarily closed. I appreciate the TTC for finding alternative solutions to accommodate Yonge Street commuters.
For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.
Council Rejects Fully-Funded Scarborough LRT Plan, Supports Tax hike and Higher Debt
This week council chose to reopen the City of Toronto's agreement with Metrolinx to construct a fully-funded seven-stop, grade-separated Light Rapid Transit (LRT) line and replace it with with an unnecessary three-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth line that will cost an additional $1 billion. Further, the Mayor and the majority of councillors chose a subway contingent on provincial and federal funding that has not been committed to and now appears in doubt. I do not believe Council should be making costly and important transit infrastructure decisions wtihout a clear plan for how to pay for them and without sound planning policy to support those choices. Due to this irresponsible decision, the Mayor will be asking Council to add more than $560 million dollars to our City's debt load and raise Toronto residents' property taxes to service that debt. I did not, and will not, support this request.
The new Scarborough LRT, just like a subway, would have been a completely traffic-separated line. No lanes removed. No traffic lights. No cross streets. This was factually never a streetcar vs subway debate and should not have been characterised as such.
The new Bombardier-made LRT trains average 36 km/h — that’s faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines, which average 32 km/h. The Scarborough LRT line was to have been more than two kilometres longer than a subway extension and have four more stops serving major trip generators, including Centennial College. The LRT’s alignment placed it within walking distance to over 20,000 more people than a three-stop subway extension would.
The decision to move forward with a subway on this route was based on politics, not sound transit policy. I believe, based on the facts known to us, that our real subway expansion priority is the Downtown Relief Line Subway that would essentially go north/south along Pape and run east/west along King or Queen. Our current transit subway system has urgent capacity challenges already during rush hours and also has over $2 billion of state-of-good-repair needs. Ultimately, I hear from residents that they want Council to stop reopening plans that make sense and finally move forward with building a transit system that serves Toronto and region's growing population. I will continue fighting for an evidence-based, fiscally-responsible transit plan that includes a thoughtful combination of new subways and LRTs based on honest planning.
Please click here to view my op-ed on his subject that appeared in last Friday's Toronto Star.
Naming a Ward 22 Playground to honour the Iconic, Canadian Performance Group, Sharon, Lois & Bram
I am delighted to announce that, with your support, I plan to name the playground inside June Rowlands (Davisville) Park the Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground after the iconic Canadian children's music trio. I believe naming a well-loved children's playground is a very fitting way to honour these Canadian music and television legends and local residents. I hope that this naming will also help introduce their music to a new generation of children in our community and city.
Please read this recent story about our initiative.
Bringing Common Sense to Parking Enforcement
Some parking infractions do not warrant the same level of police enforcement as others. An illegally parked car on a quiet street with surplus spots is less of a problem than an illegally parked car or stopped delivery vehicle on an arterial road. Vehicles illegally parked or stopped on arterial curb lanes can delay thousands of drivers and transit riders. My motion to bring a common sense approach to parking enforcement was approved by City Council and referred to Committee for further consideration.
Easing Congestion Caused by Rush Hour Deliveries on Busy Streets
Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto's motorists, public transit users and cyclists. Of course, the long-term solution to this problem includes building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system in addition to encouraging car-pooling and cycling. But, in the meantime, whether one is a motorist or a surface transit user, it is infuriating to see a large delivery vehicle blocking an entire lane of traffic during rush hour. My motion requests staff to study the possibility of banning delivery trucks from stopping on main streets during rush hours.
Improved Parking for Mopeds and Scooters
The City of Toronto should be encouraging the use of mopeds and scooters because, in a city challenged by gridlock, they take up less road and parking space while using less fossil fuel. However, unlike bicycles, scooters and mopeds must be parked on the street where they are vulnerable to theft or damage and occupy valuable paid-parking spaces that fund important services like parks, libraries, and road maintenance.
My motion seeks to bring our regulations into the twenty-first century and reap the rewards of increased moped and scooter ridership without reducing road safety or pedestrian comfort.
Ping Pong Table for June Rowlands Park
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from local residents, I brought forward a motion that passed at Council this week to install a concrete outdoor ping pong table at June Rowlands (Davisville) park. Similar tables have been installed in parks throughout various neighbourhoods in the City including High Park and North Scarborough and have been well received. I have worked with Parks staff to prioritize the table's installation for use this summer. I anticipate that it will be ready for use by the end of the month. I am also working on parks improvement plans for Forest hill Road Park, Charlotte Maher Park, Glebe Manor and several others throughout Ward 22.
After last week's epic rain storm, I heard from many residents and friends who experienced basement flooding. My family and I have gone through this too. If your basement was flooded, please call 311 to report a blocked drain or sewer back-up, or for more information and assistance. 311 is a service that is available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
Toronto Water is working as fast as they can to respond to calls and visit affected homes, but response times are likely to be slower than normal due to the extremely high volume of calls they have received.
For more information about basement flooding, including the City's basement flooding subsidy program, please visit the Toronto Water website.
Special Garbage Pickup
The City of Toronto is providing special garbage collection for items damaged in the storm and subsequent flooding of July 8. The City will collect bulky items left at the curb, including couches, mattresses or other furniture, extra bagged items (Bag Tags not required), and carpeting (in rolls of maximum 1.2 metres or 4 feet length and 20 kg or 44 lbs in weight). This special collection of flood-damaged materials is not intended for hazardous household waste items, construction or renovation waste, or general clean-up of items that were not damaged by the flood.
Residents are asked to be patient as this effort is completed and regular service resumes. For more details please call 311.
Live Green Toronto Festival
The 8th annual Live Green Toronto Festival, a celebration of all things green, will take place on Saturday, July 27th from 11 am to 9 pm at Yonge-Dundas Square. The festival is free and open to everyone, and will feature over 100 vendors of green products and services, outdoor yoga, activities for children, a swap zone, and more. The musical line-up will include Shawn Desman, Kardinal Offishal, Victoria Duffield, and Anjulie, among others. Please visit the Live Green Festival website for more information.
Oriole Park Community Garden Update
For the past year and a half, I have been working with the Oriole Park Community Garden Committee, along with the Friends of Oriole Park and City staff, to create Ward 22's first community garden in Oriole Park.
Last week, we had a successful meeting where City staff presented and displayed what the proposed garden may look like and where it will be located within the park. We received positive feedback from residents, and there was dialogue with all parties to make sure the Community Garden is a success.
The next step will be an application and proposal by the Oriole Park Community Garden Committee to the City of Toronto. We continue to welcome your participation and feedback in shaping the Community Garden!
Youth Equity Update: The Roots of Youth Violence
My initiative to create a Youth Equity Framework was approved this week by City Council. This week also marks one year since the Danzig Street shooting, a solemn reminder that we must work quickly and effectively because we cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. This Framework is the first step of a three-stage process to support the most marginalized youth in Toronto who are most likely to be involved in or victimized by violence. It sets out the principles of how the City of Toronto will target the roots of youth violence and how it will organize, over the course of the summer, so that all City departments and community stakeholders are on the same page, working together.
City of Toronto and School Boards Task Force
Council approved my motion to create a task force made up of city councillors and school trustees from all four boards in the Toronto area. We serve the same communities, and share many priorities, yet are different levels of government. Now there will finally be a formal table for us to work together on common priorities such as community hubs, school pools, childcare, recreation and learning opportunities for all ages.
Toronto Youth Cabinet Film Festival
The Toronto Youth Cabinet is looking for submissions for the first Youth Film Festival, which will take place on Tuesday, August 27th at the Canadian National Exhibition. The theme of the film festival is "Reflecting the Reality", looking at the lifestyles and challenges that young people face on a daily basis.
If you are between the ages of 16 to 28 and interested in creating and submitting a short film/animation/documentary/music video that reflects the theme of the festival, please visit the Toronto Youth Cabinet website for more information and submission details.
Join the Housing Services Conversation
The City of Toronto is inviting you to share your views on the delivery of services that prevent homelessness and help some of Toronto's most vulnerable residents to find and keep permanent housing. The Province of Ontario is changing how it funds the City to provide housing services and this is an opportunity to transform how we provide these services into an integrated system. Your feedback is invaluable for developing this system effectively. Please visit the Toronto Housing Services Consultations website to participate.
Avenue Road Construction Update
For this week's Avenue Road construction update, please visit my website. I am also closely monitoring progress on the Rathnelly watermain project, am actively urging the City to complete it as soon as possible and will post an update soon.
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